In 1954, at 15 years old, Jack Clemson, started as a lab assistant at Joseph Sankey – Manor Works. Jack worked in the Chemical lab carrying out routine chemical analysis, water treatment, gas analysis and coal analysis.

Jack then joined their apprentice scheme in 1956, where for 6 months he trained in general engineering and visited the Albert Street works of Joseph Sankey to perform Chemical analysis, Mechanical Testing, Non destructive Testing and Radiography. Jack then move to their GKN Group Research for 6 months and then returned to the Manor works site as a lab assistant carrying out work at a senior level.

In 1960, Jack joined Ford Motor Company in Birmingham as an ‘experimental Metallurgist’ which entailed Metallurgy carrying out Failure Investigations on prototype parts and the evaluation of different materials. Jack ran a small radiography section and heat treatment. Ford moved, so Jack finished off his studies in Advanced Diploma in Metallurgy at Wednesbury Technical College and where Jack could be a member of the Institute of Metallurgists.

In August 1968 Jack joined Reynolds Tube Company in Tysley, Birmingham (Part of the TI Group) as Chief Metallographer, testing tubes extrusions, flash butt welded wings for Aerospace sector. After 5 years Jack then started at Brockhouse Transmissions as Chief Metallurgist running the metallurgy department, Heat Treatment testing and drawing up specifications for H-eat Treatment of gears.

Jack was soon promoted to assistant Quality Manager introducing quality systems and methods of testing. While at Brockhouse Transmissions, Jack visited the USA to sort out methods and materials for the transmissions changing them from American to British standards/Methods.

In 1979 Brockhouse put in their own Heat Treatment facility with Jack purchasing & installing the equipment at Brockhouse Chatwins (Tool Makers). Within that time Brockhouse brought EPCO where Jack then saw the quality systems introduced and blend with Chatwins. During this time Jack was also the Group Metallurgist overseeing 5 companies.

Unfortunately, after the company lost a major order, Jack was made redundant in 1983 and so went on to set up CS Laboratory Services in 1984. Teaming up with business partner and lifelong friend, Alan Stanway they bought equipment and refurbed the premises to create a laboratory. Both investing £10,000 each and using their houses at collateral.

In 1986 – CS Laboratory Services won the Chamber of Commerce awards for Best Small Business of the Year. In 1990 CS Labs moved to a larger premise in Bilston and then in 2002 due to Jacks business Partner wanting to retire. Jack then worked part time until 2009 supporting the new business owners.

In 2010 Jack was contacted to run the Corrosion department at Rotech Laboratories. Jack began work as a metallurgist in the Metallurgy Department carrying out a range of Metallurgical tests including Micro examination, Macro examination, corrosion testing as well as building the Heat Treatment furnaces. Jack currently works 3 days a week and is a well-loved member of the Rotech team. His experience and unequivocal knowledge is a great asset to Rotech. Jack, Dip. Met., C. Eng. M.I.M., A.I.I.M, celebrates his 81st Birthday today and is not looking to retire anytime soon!

Jack has seen many testing technique developments over his 65 years of working in metallurgy as well as the implementation of information technology. Jack describes the differences within the testing industry being:

o Chemical analysis was carried out by ‘wet’ analysis (called wet chemistry since most analysing is done in the liquid phase) but is now performed by spark optical emission spectroscopy.

o Tensile Testing was originally carried out by hand but now is done by machine and creates a load extension curve which works out the proof stress.

o Water Treatments and Coal Testing seems to have disappeared.

o Nitrogen is now used as a gas carrier for Heat Treatment.

o Surface coating was only research but is now found throughout laboratories.

o Microscopes were manual but are now digital.

o Hardness Machines are now digital.

o Photography has gone from film to digital.

o Case Depth – Manual Hardness check and measure between impressions, a graph was then drawn by hand but is now done digitally.

o Mounting micro examination previously worked by using a hydraulic jack and a heating coil around the specimen holder and now the mounting press is all in one and controlled by computer.


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