Industry in 1919: Brown & Green Ltd
Mr Hearn, manager of Messrs Brown & Green Ltd, Windsor Street, gave an outline of the varied materials the firm have turned out during the war. They commenced in 1915, and from gas valves turned to shell adapters. At that time they had about 50 employees.
Rifle and hand grenades were next turned out in large quantities, and then added to the list was submersible mine work for catching submarines. Aircraft parts were made subsequently, as well as pistols for aeroplane bombs in very large quantities.
About this time the Strombos warning valve was one of the items output, and it is curious to note that, starting on poison gas valves for our use, the firm concluded with instruments to warn our own men against the German gas.
Mills' grenade components were supplied to about 30 other contractors, and at the signing of the armistice the firm employed about 300 people of both sexes.
With great initiative and by an almost superhuman effort following the big fire at the works, work was resumed in the new shop in less than a fortnight, and since then recovery has been complete, the whole of the destroyed area being built over with new gear and plant.
As the transition from war to peace conditions, Mr Hearn is most optimistic, but suggests that everything depends on the attitude and settling down of labour.
“We have four different schemes before us at the moment,” said Mr Hearn, “and I think the one we shall decide upon will give employment to a fair number of females, and we go as far as to hope that the whole of the war staff can be kept on.
“The article we have in mind was of German manufacture previously and is an engineer's supply article. It should prove a very promising new branch.
“We shall, of course, revert to our pre-war trade as suppliers of builder's materials. Yes, I am quite optimistic about the future.”
[The Luton News: Thursday, January 23, 1919]