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From the Eastern Daily Press, Wednesday, March 1, 2000:

Change fires trade boom

With picture captioned:

MARVELLOUS METRIC: John Capps, left, with the imperial weight and his son, Ian, with the metric version at Thurton Foundries.

By KATHRYN CROSS

METRICATION : Foundry works flat out to meet industry's weighty demands

When pounds and ounces were replaced with kilos and grams, [sic = grammes], businesses had to change the way they traded, sometimes at considerable cost. But for a south Norfolk foundry which makes cast-iron metric weights in the traditional way, the change has tipped the scales in its favour and workers are going hammer and tongs to keep up with demand. Thurton Foundries has been working flat out since the ruling came in on January 1, with industry crying out for kilo weights.

John Capps, who founded the business in 1963 with his wife Maureen, and is now company chairman, said new orders had come from far afield. "We are now doing a lot of work for the Ministry of Defence and have just completed a six-tonne weight for them to use for safety testing of articulated lorries, " he said. "We were also very lucky in that the Greek and Irish governments contacted us when they went metric to make all their new weights. "Most of our orders have come from industry, such as plant hire or even nuclear fuel, to be used for calibration."

The foundry can produce weights of virtually any size, from tiny 25 grams (formerly 1 oz) to several tonnes, with the most popular being 25 kg, the nearest equivalent to 56 lb. "The changes did come as a bit of a crunch and many people have found it difficult to convert," said Mr Capps. "But there is no doubt about the increase in demand and we are grateful for it. "We have kept our patterns for imperial and can make the weights to order, but it is sad that most of them will never see the light of day again."

While weights and measures take up much of the foundry's time, the 15 employees find time to take on more unusual projects, such as designing railings to protect the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Square [sic = Circus], London. And their work has a royal seal of approval, with all the drainpipes at the Queen's Norfolk Estate at Sandringham being made at Thurton, proudly inscribed with the company logo, TFL. And they are set to restore some fireplaces inside Sandringham House which were originally made at the foundry 26 years ago.

With the couple's sons, Adrian and Ian, now active in the business as foundry manager and managing director respectively, the fires at Thurton look set to be burning well into the future. Mr Capps said: "We like to think we can do anything and everything."

© Eastern Counties Newspapers Transcribed by E.C.Apling, March 2000.

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Footnotes:

The foundry address is: Thurton Foundries Ltd., Loddon Road, Thurton, Norwich NR14 6AN. Tel: 01508 480301.

On Thursday, 2 March 2000, Thurton Foundries was featured on the evening Regional News broadcast by BBC East, with shots work in the foundry, the weights, and some previously completed projects of the foundry to be seen around Norwich.

As a final footnote, we own a garden seat made from Thurton Foundries some few years since.

© E.C.Apling, March 2000.

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