Ring in the new, or make better use of the old?

newReaders of the The Times (or, if you insist, The Times of London) may be interested to see its offer to provide, free of charge, a copy of the front cover of the paper on the day they were born.

In the case of IP Draughts’ birthday, the front cover consists mainly of very old advertisements and announcements; he is so old that he predates the decision to put news on the front cover of The Times.

One of the adverts from his birth date caught his eye, and is retyped below.

In 10 years, the National Research Development Corporation has advanced £3.6 million to help inventors get their brainchildren to marketing point. Splendid reading as this makes, the sponsored developments have been even more so. We wish all concerned well.
But in the same 10 years the occasional lone voice has been heard asserting that what we need is not so much new devices as a fuller exploitation of existing equipment.
We believe this to be largely true. Our records over a much longer period show clearly what can be done in the process steam field alone, if only sufficient informed thought be given to it.
Valuable and laudable as new inventions may be, higher production at lower cost must still mainly come from making two blades grow where only one grew before.
This at any rate is the thesis concisely set out in our bulletin “Steam for Process”. It doesn’t speak of spectacular developments, but offers practical guidance on how to get each bit of a steam installation to do its full whack.
Correspondence on steam problems to :
SPIRAX-SARCO Ltd., Cheltenham

patheTo an English ear, the tone of this marketing announcement is fascinating, a mixture of formal and informal with a very British voice from a bygone era. Like the cinema newsreels of Pathe News, only in print.

The organisations mentioned in the piece still exist, after a fashion. The National Research and Development Corporation became, in the 1980s, British Technology Group, now BTG plc. It no longer has a monopoly to commercialise inventions coming from UK universities, but did at the time this advert was written.

Spirax-Sarco still exists, as an international group of companies, and its UK headquarters is still in Cheltenham.

IP Draughts has no settled opinion on whether it is better to improve the efficiency of existing industrial installations or to introduce new inventions (or, indeed, do both), but he suspects that some of his clients may have a view on this subject!



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