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John Edwards: Reminiscence

I worked only briefly for Lyons doing Time and Motion Study at Cadby Hall. It was in fact an interim job as I resumed my degree work at London University. I was making the most of a grant to study after wartime service as a navigating officer in the Merchant Navy.

I got to know most of the departments at Cadby Hall, including T&M on the swiss roll line. I also did some studies at the Coventry Street Corner House. This was to determine the average time spent in the Brasserie; this was done by simply counting the numbers going in, and those coming out, over a period of time. I remember a somewhat hilarious moment in the ice cream factory when a stainless steel overhead pipe carrying the liquid ingredients became disconnected and poured a fair amount over the foreman.

The overall impression I had of operations at Cadby Hall was great efficiency. The main point of the T&M work was to get control, by knowing the man-hours required to produce the various items. I think that efficiency was the main driving force behind LEO, was it not? I did not have any direct connection with LEO, I was told that there were some people from Birmingham University working on it. I have always tried to impress on people the remarkable achievement of the first commercial computer being developed by a food company, and by the lead that this should have given the UK in that science. I feel that Lyons should have persisted in being in the computer business and given government support. I know from personal experience how little support was given to new technology. 

In 1971 I had a small electronics company , in that year Intel produced the first microprocessor (the 4004) we used this to produce the first desktop computer in the same year. Unfortunately in spite of getting orders from UK and abroad, and being used in commerce, lack of adequate finance killed it off.

Date : Unknown

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH56458. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

John Edwards: Reminiscence

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