Dagenite Accumulators

Object number

LDVAL 2013.32.1

Date

after 1920 – before 1960

Description

Enameled tin plate sign advertsing Dagenite Accumulators.A leading firm in the British accumulator battery industry during the first half of the 20th century, Pritchett & Gold and E.P.S. Company, Limited had origins in the pioneer days of electrical engineering. Beginning as Pritchett Brothers, with works at Soho Square, London, and then Pritchetts & Gold, which from 1887 operated from a factory in Feltham, Middlesex, the firm grew rapidly following relocation in 1914 to a
expansive new works at Dagenham Dock, one of the first to be sited at Chequers Lane, a private road owned by Samuel Williams & Sons Ltd.

The factory quickly became one of the largest, best equipped and most modern factories for the manufacture of accumulators in Britain, and was one of the few in the borough that was truly integrated, with all components, tools, moulds, plates and containers made on site. Like Ford's which arrived a little later it generated its own power for electric lighting, driving machinery and for the 'forming' of plates and charging batteries; exhaust steam from the power station was used to centrally heat the factory. It had its own lead refinery, to ensure that the lead accumulator plates were of the highest quality.

By the 1920s the factory was producing 160 types of storage batteries, ranging in size from those used in pocket-torches to enormous ones used in central power stations. The firm pioneered the development of the motor-car battery, and the eponymous 'Dagenite' battery was the first to operate an electric starter fitted to an English car. Dagenite automobile batteries saw unbridled application and success, supplying power to cars, trucks,
tractors, buss, scooters and motor cycles throughout the world. They were standard equipment on Rolls Royce cars.

The outbreak of hostilities saw Pritchett & Gold and E.P.S. Company occupy a key role in the war effort, tasked by the Ministry of Supply to manufacture signals batteries under Essential Works and Reserved Occupations orders. The firm also worked on many direct contracts for the Ministry of Aircraft, and during the war produced over 5 million 2-volt units for tanks, armoured vehicles, fighter and bomber aircraft, submarines, airborne equipment and various secret weapons.

By 1950 the factory employed nearly 1,000, covered some 17 acres and was claimed to be 'probably the most self-contained in Europe'. It could also boast an active Sports Club, health service and a Staff Training Scheme for promising young people. In the 1960s, the Chloride Electrical Storage Co., a giant holding company which had acquired a controlling interest in Pritchett & Gold and E.P.S. Company, Limited as early as 1922, took full control of the works. Automotive batteries under the brand names 'Dagenite' and 'Shednought' were still being manufactured in this decade. In the late 20th century the factory was renamed Chloride Automative Batteries Limited and then Exide Batteries Ltd.

Physical description

Rectangular metal sign with enameled decoration. Black background with red and yellow writing.

Condition

Fair

Type

Advertisement

Size

Whole height: 380mm
width: 507mm

Collection type

Social history, Industry

Inscription

Text Enameled On both sides: ACCULMULATORS / CHARGED HERE / USE A / DAGENITE

Looking for records

Objects that are not on display in the museum can be viewed by appointment at the discretion of the Museum Curator. To find out more about accessing the collection please email: valencehousemuseum@lbbd.gov.uk or telephone: 020 8227 2034

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Gallery

Metadata
Start dateafter 1920
End datebefore 1960
InstitutionValence House Museum
TypeAdvertisement
Collection type
Social history
Industry