The years 1942 to 1945 saw the company becoming established as a supplier of a wide range of building chemical products. However, it faced many difficulties, particularly the war time restrictions of raw materials and the maintaining of an adequate labour force due to losses of workmen to military service.
Production of all established products continued to increase as the Company started 1942. However, wartime restrictions and quotas of raw materials were beginning to make it extremely difficult to supply products for “non essential” use. Those customers who could not endorse their orders with a Ministry of Works priority authorisation found that it was not possible for Evode to give a firm delivery date. Dr. Simon and Mr. Forman were now spending a great deal of their time visiting and corresponding with various Government Departments and Ministers to try to gain increased allocations of raw materials. Their efforts met with some success, which now meant that Dr. Simon could also concentrate on acquiring new business.
Further manufacturing equipment was purchased, the most important being a 5 cwt Gardener powder mixer for the manufacture on ‘Mellitol’ and ‘Portite’ concrete admixtures.
The premises at 22 Stone Road were far from ideal due to the close proximity of houses and shops. The local authorities would not allow the manufacture of products containing highly flammable solvents. This restriction was of great concern to Dr. Simon and efforts were made to find a suitable location for building a factory that would have no restrictions, but in the end the search for a suitable site had to be abandoned.
Many letters of commendation of the company products were now being received which undoubtedly made Dr. Simon very proud that after all the early tribulations his formulations were aiding the national war effort.
It was reported by Dr. Simon that the Directors had made enquiries in July 1942 regarding the purchase of a plot of land in Silkmore Lane, Stafford. It was planned to erect buildings and carry out the manufacture of products which were not permitted by the authorities to be manufactured in the Stone Road factory. Application was made to the Town Planning Committee who agreed to the proposition and took the necessary steps to advertise it in the local paper. Objections were raised by local residents to the Company being allowed to purchase the land for such manufacturing purposes, and the town council turned down the application. Evode appealed on 4th November at Stafford Guildhall, employing Wallace-Copeland, solicitor, but the appeal was dismissed and in view of this the Directors decided to abandon the search for new land.
It was therefore decided to purchase the premises at 22 Stone Road for the sum of £2,000. A mortgage of £1,000 on the property was arranged with the Stafford & County Building Society, the rate of interest on the mortgage being at 4.5% per annum, and the repayments of such mortgage and the interest being £10. 11s. 0d. payable on 1st November 1942, and on the 1st day of each calendar month until the mortgage was paid off.
Due to petrol rationing Dr. Simon could only use his car for short journeys and he therefore travelled much of the time by train. On many occasions he reported that the train arrived many hours late or did not stop at the station he wanted, due to air raids. Matters were not made any easier for him as stations were blacked out and more than once he found himself getting out at the wrong one.
Undoubtedly the most frustrating problem that Dr. Simon was having to deal with was, to get Evode products written into specifications. Even when contractors were happy to use Evode products, not all architects or Ministry departments would give their approval. One such case concerned the Building Contractors George Wimpey who were carrying out construction work at Watford Airfield and wanted to use Evode Frost Protective. However, the military needs of war were not always treated with the urgency they should have been and Dr.Simon was asked by the contractor to try and sort out the problem. He was always unwilling to tolerate delays of any kind, so quickly, Dr. Simon obtained an appointment with the Ministry of Works in London. He was now able to produce a mass of test results on Evode products. Following Dr. Simon's visit to London, George Wimpey received approval from the Architects to use Evode and some very large orders for Frost Protective were received from the site.
Depending upon the availability of raw materials, the hours worked were regularly increased by overtime, and often exceeded 70 hours per week.
At the end of the financial year for 1942 the directors report showed that turnover had been very satisfactory. For the future however the rate of increase was unpredictable due to quota and other restrictions.
A copy of the tenth annual report and balance sheet
for the year until September 1942 is given above.
Given below is a copy of a leaflet which shows that Evode Mellitol was enjoying increasing sales and in order to meet the demand a second gardener powder mixer was purchased. Both powder mixers were in continuous production subject to the availability of raw materials.
The company was fortunate to have been able to engage male nurses from St George's hospital, Stafford, who were on shift work. Having completed eight or so hours of normal ward duty, they would then come to the Stone Road factory for a further four or more hours.
The few regular employees were continually changing due to call up for military service and the company had great difficulty in replacing workmen. Stafford was the centre of a number of factories manufacturing a variety of war equipment and much of the available labour was directed into these industries.
The attraction of working a regular eight hour day at Evode, plus overtime meant that a number of the male nurses switched jobs since they were already experienced in the manufacture of the company products. Dr. Simon was very thankful to employ them.
As Cyril Lawton had volunteered to join the Royal Air Force for flying duties in February 1943, Dr. Simon asked him to train one of the ex male nurses in as many of his duties as possible in the few months left before his departure. Cyril Lawton recalls that this was no easy task as many of the products he had manufactured had quite complex formulations and they were not easy to produce satisfactorily. It was a relief for him to know that Dr. Simon was always close at hand to sort out the difficulties he knew would occur.
An interesting notice produced by Mr. J J E Forman in October 1942 giving the conditions of employment is reproduced below:
Notice dated October 1942
Working hours for employees of this Company, and breaks for meals are undertaken and must be strictly adhered to: Mondays to Fridays:8.00am. till 5.30pm. Breaks: 15 minutes each morning and afternoon 1 hour for lunch Saturdays: 8.00am. to 12 noon Break: 15 minutes Any deviation from the above schedule of hours is only permissible with the consent of the management. If for any reason if illness an employee cannot attend work, the management should be informed of this at once. Tools: Misplacement and loss of tools wastes time and is expensive. In future all available tools will be kept in the General Office. An employee requiring a tool must obtain it from the Office, sign for the loan, and return it to the office after use. Timber: No packing case wood, barrel-wood or timber of any description may in future be taken from these premises. Surplus of timber - if any -, suitable for firewood will be allocated to employees as and when the opportunity arises. Cleanliness: To guard against illness, danger from fire and for purpose of general orderliness all employees are requested to do their share in keeping the premises, yard and other property belonging to this Company clean and tidy, so far as this may reasonably be expected. General: In view of the generally difficult conditions today it is essential that each employee shows his/her initiative to further to the utmost the interests of this Company, that in turn will help the National Effort.
|Just a few DON'TS to remember: DON'T leave paper, rags and other waste lying about. If you have finished a job throw the waste on the dump. DON'T ignore litter lying about. Pick it up and throw it on the dump. DON'T leave tools machinery or any other articles which are liable to corrosion lying about in the open air. When you have finished with them take them back where they belong. DON'T leave your cycles in the archway or yard. The cycle-rack has been purchased for the purpose of giving protection to your machines. DON'T smoke in the kitchen or in the basement. If you must smoke do it elsewhere: fumes which accumulate from heated turpentine etc., are inflammable and negligence may account for enormous damages which would not be covered by insurance. DON'T use electric power, gas and water unnecessarily. If you can see without artificial light, turn off the switch: if the stove has fulfilled it's purpose, do likewise. Turn all water taps off securely. RUBBER GLOVES AND RUBBER APRONS: Greatest care must be taken in the use of rubber goods supplied to employees by the Company. There will be no further gloves or aprons available once the present supply is absorbed. The available stock of rubber aprons suffices only for one issue to employees engaged on the manufacture of F.P. (Frost Protective) Rubber gloves should be made to last 2 to 3 months: a record of issue will be kept.|
The Company had by now settled into an existence that was totally governed by war time controls. The growth of the company was retarded to a considerable extent by raw material quotas, shortage of labour, transport restrictions to name but a few of the problems it faced. Nevertheless, Dr. Simon was keen to promote the company products and even though little or no advertising took place, he or Mr. Forman contacted many customers by letter.
A list of 100 users of Evode products which was circulated with all sales letters sent out from October 1942. This illustrates that the company was supplying its products to many large contractors carrying out Air Ministry and War Office work
They are grouped as departments of: Air Ministry, War Office, HM Office of Works
In February 1943 Cyril Lawton left the company to join the Royal Air Force and was able to visit the company on a number of occasions before his squadron flew to North Africa to commence bomber operations. He recalls the generosity of the company as every month whilst overseas he would receive a parcel of 200 cigarettes which was as valuable as gold, particularly in North Africa.
Details of the eleventh annual report and balance sheet are given below and taking all circumstances into consideration the forecast growth was fulfilled.
The Secretary advised the Directors that Dr. Simon was entitled to a fixed salary of £750 p.a. and Mr. Forman of £520, and also £50 for every £1,000 profit. Mr. Forman was also paid £400 having regard to long hours of hard work carried out by him.
Making in all for orders received, and during that week they were able to pay against purchase invoices the princely sum of £335 with a balance in the bank of £1,297.
making in a total of £396 in orders received for that week.
The events of 1944 followed the pattern of 1943.
The successful results obtained by the use of Evode Products were now being acknowledged, Dr. Simon must have felt very proud to receive such commendations and in particular the letter from the Ministry of Works concerning Evode products which had been used at South Marston Airfield.
The following letters indicate just how valuable Evode products werein aiding the national war effort. In particular the use of Evode protective solution , Evoset 101, referred to in the Ministry of Works letter concerning South Marston Airfield. The last paragraphof which indicates that the construction of the airfield runways was competed with the least possible interference with flying.
Air Ministry Directorate of Works , 6th April 1944
No 5 Works Area., The Old Rectory, Babworth, Nr Retford, Notts.
Ref.; W5/6902/MNB/3 Subject: Evode Prover II Crystals I am in receipt of your letter HS/DS of the 1st instant and am pleased to say that I have just received the report from the Clerk of Works at Manby on the performance of your sample of Evode Prover II Crystals. The 6 lbs. trail amount of Prover was applied to a new concrete floor which it was essential should be dust free and hard and it was particularly noted that the time of final setting was much reduced and that the floor on completion was very hard. Should it be desired to harden any further concrete in this Area, favourable consideration will be given to the use of your material.
Yours faithfully, D Benton, for Superintending Engineer
Borough Engineer & Surveyors Office Letter received 24th August 1944
Town Hall, Ipswich
WATERPROOFING OF FIRE GUARD TANKS
Thank you for your letter of the 22nd inst., returning the drawing of the 500 gallons capacity fire guard tanks. I am pleased to inform you that the water proofing treatment has been entirely successful and it is intended that a further number of tanks will be treated. A further order will be sent to you in due course.
Edward McLauchlan. Borough Surveyor and Water Engineer
The twelfth annual report and balance sheet for 1944 would indicate that, as in 1943 the profit for the year was satisfactory.
The Company made a profit of £737 but taken off debit balance of £2,287 leaving a loss of £1,550 There is now no mention of an overdraft at the bank, but the cash at bank and in hand is given at over £500.
The year 1945 was significant for two important reasons:
On the 1st of April a son, Andrew Simon, was born in Wolverhampton, and he was later in life to join the Company and become Chairman and Chief Executive of the Evode Group at the age of 35.
In June 1945 the European hostilities ceased and although there were some easing of the many restrictions, the progress of the Company was similar to that of 1944.
In the Directors report for the year ending 1945 it was shown that the profit for the year had shown a very acceptable increase, although a loss of £548 was recorded.
At a Directors meeting held on the 21st December the resignation of Mr. Clipstone, who had served as a Director and Chairman of the Company since 1937, was accepted.
Mr. Bainbridge, who had been appointed a Director in 1941 resigned and both gentlemen were thanked by Dr. Simon for the service they had rendered to the Company, particularly during his absence in 1940/41.
It was also agreed to pay Mr. Fishburn £350 to the 30th September 1945.
It was agreed to increase Mr. Formans salary to £14 per week.