A Local Industry
Recent discussions regarding Incorporation have reminded our readers of the many industries in Mitcham whose products are known throughout the world, and probably a desire has arisen for further information.
Interesting to report that Messrs. Typke & King Ltd., Commonside East, were established in 1883 by the late Mr. P.G.W. Typke, F.I.C., F.C.S., and the late Mr. W.R. King, for the manufacture of chemicals for the rubber and allied trades.
At that time there were just a few wooden cottages on Commonside East, about 12 houses in Manor Road, and our Sherwood Park estate of today was then Sherwood Farm. Wheat was grown at the end of Manor Road, and there was a large forest adjacent, while between the Works and Streatham Park Cemetery were meadows and beds of osier, used for basket making.
The land now covered by Messrs. Typke & King’s Works, which occupy about 9 acres, was formally an orchard, but today a very different sight meets the eye.
Many of their products are made in large wooden vats provided with powerful mechanical agitators to ensure thorough mixing. Material is then dried in specially constructed rooms at a temperature and it does not exceed a certain maximum, and finally milled and passed through a fine silk or metal sleeve to remove all traces of grit.
Power is provided by three large Lancashire Boilers, supplemented by one of a smaller vertical type and by several gas engines driven by gas produced on the spot. One of these gas engines operates on an Air compressor which pumps water from the firms Artesian Wells rate of 5000/6000 gallons per hour. The large water storage tank is a familiar sight to habitues of Mitcham Common.
The firm takes great precautions to prevent the escape into the atmosphere of any objectionable fumes or odours. There is a large absorption plant in the middle of the works to which gases are conducted on the suction from a fan. As a final precaution the residual air is passed through a bed of absorbent material. The opinion has been expressed that gasses created during the manufacture of certain products are injurious to the operatives, but this is not so, as several of the Firm’s Pensioners can testify.
Is not generally appreciated that pure rubber is hardly ever used in practice as it has very little elasticity or strength, it gets very hard in cold weather and very sticky in hot weather. In order to correct this it has to be vulcanised, i.e., it is mixed with sulphur and heated under definite conditions. There are other methods of vulcanising but this is by far the most common and this simple mixture produces rubber such as is used for winding golf balls. Even then the rubber is not suitable for many purposes and it is thus necessary to modify it still further. This is done by the incorporation of various powders, the actual powder used depending on the purpose for which the rubber is intended.
It is in the production and sale of these powders that Messrs. Typke & King Ltd. specialise. Thus they make the red compound which is extensively used in inner tubes, football bladders, etc., and which, besides giving a pleasing colour, prevents the rubber from perishing rapidly.
Another product for which they are famous is a material known as Factice or rubber Substitute. This is vulcanised vegetable oil, and its principal use is in the waterproofing trade. The rubber in Macintoshes for example may contain 75% of Rubber Substitute, which is added in order to give a smooth silky feel to the rubber, to prevent rapid perishing, and to allow the material to be applied to the cloth with greater ease. In other forms, rubber Substitute will act as a kind of lubricant for vulcanised rubber and thus allow it to be worked more easily.
Nowadays, rubber articles can be obtained in all kinds of pleasing colours, but this has only been accomplished by patient research work. Very few colours can be used in rubber, as some will be destroyed during vulcanising, some will cause the rubber to perish very rapidly, and some will bleach or darken when the rubber is exposed to sunlight. Messrs. Typke & King Ltd. have always specialised in suitable colours, and actually make several at their Mitcham Works.
They also have selling agencies for many powders which it is impossible for them to make. One of the most important of these is Carbon Black which is used to an enormous extent the manufacture of tyres, and rubber shoe soles. The latter may contain 50% of Carbon Black, the object of which is to produce a rubber which has great strength, small stretch, and great resistance to cutting and abrasion. This Carbon Black is made in America where vast quantities of natural gas issue from the ground in certain localities. The gas is burnt in special burners so as to give a smoky flame and the soot so produced is collected and refined. Many thousands of tons of this soot are used annually in the rubber trade in England alone.
It will be realised that in order that they may meet the exacting requirements of the present day, it is necessary for Messrs. Typke & King Ltd. to have special research facilities. Their Laboratory contains a complete miniature rubber plant, which not only allows them to test out their products exact way in which they will be used, but enables them to carry out research work which not only benefits the rubber manufacturer, but eventually is to the advantage of the small purchaser, either because he gets better value for his money or similar quality at a lower price.
It will thus be seen that Messrs. Typke & King Ltd. are well to the fore in an industry which has today reached such tremendous dimensions, and their work has made the name of Mitcham known throughout the world.
LAND AND MONEY TO BOY SCOUTS TROOP
Paul George William Typke, (45), of Lawn House, Sycamour Grove, New Malden, Surrey, founder of Typke & King (Ltd.), Mitcham Common, manufacturers of fine chemicals, &c.
Net personalty, £19,671; gross £39,431.
He gives a piece of land in New Malden and £100 towards the erection of a pavilion thereon to the First Malden Troop of Boy Scouts, 200 Ordinary shares in Typke & King (Ltd.) to James Bray, 100 shares each to Thomas Dawson and Albert Mayland, £ 200 each to Constance Stevenson and Margaret Oakey, £100 to Harold Bond and £50 each to Terry Constable and Harry Wilkinson “in recognition of their services to me.”