Inter War and WW2
Even before 1918 it had been evident to far-sighted men in industry that new methods would be needed after the war, and that post-war success would depend to no small extent on selling efficiency. In 1917 the firm was invited to join the newly-formed selling organisation, The Associated British Machine Tool Makers Limited, Later Ernest Parkinson was Chairman of the A.B.M.T.M. for the years 1925-27. Membership of such an organisation involved some sacrifices, but it also allowed each member firm to concentrate on its own special lines whilst providing a very effective selling organisation. By reducing the variety of products greater attention to detail was possible, and the growing research facilities could be used more effectively; craftsmen became expert in their own fields.
Before joining A.B.M.T.M., the firm would supply almost any type of machine tool and orders were even accepted for machines that the firm had never manufactured before. Membership of A.B.M.T.M. changed all this, and with some regret the firm ceased to manufacture many of its best selling products. Production was concentrated on Parkson Milling Machines, Sunderland Gear Planers and Parkson Gear Testers, along with the Parkinson Vises.
The sacrifices were to be proved very worthwhile; the concentrated effort on the remaining products ensured that the firm were able to produce better quality machines. Sales continued to increase.
Ernest Parkinson's two sons, Edward and Harry, served in the Army during the war and after it was over joined the firm. In 1923 they became partners with their father, the third generation of the family to devote a whole working life to the firm.
Harry Parkinson - left. Edward Parkinson - right
They started in hard times, the dreary twenties and early thirties, when long-established firms were struggling for their very existence, and with very high unemployment figures in all branches of industry. Parkinsons fought through these years, improving the quality of their machines, ready to seize any opportunity that offered,
One such opportunity arose when in the early thirties a visit to Russia by Ernest Parkinson, with several directors of A.B.M.T.M., resulted in several large orders being placed for Sunderland Gear Planers and Parkson Milling Machines —orders which ensured work for the firm for many years.
At the outbreak of war in 1939 there were still several Gear Planer orders still outstanding for Russia and at once the Ministry of Supply stepped in. All Gear Planers being manufactured were to be completed and handed over for allocation on war work whilst the orders outstanding, both for gear planers and milling machines, were to be cancelled. The firm was then instructed to cease production on all products except the Universal Milling Machines, for which a serious bottle neck was anticipated.
This proved to be the case but later on (due to the insistence of the Admiralty and the South African Government, who refused to accept anything but Sunderland machines for gear cutting) the Ministry relented and the firm was allowed to produce several Gear Planers.
Parksinson’s Fire Team WW2