Electrical

A less proclaimed though significant part of Coventry’s industrial success has been its electrical industry. Two firms British Thompson Houston and General Electric Company have dominated this industry. Their early success was not linked to their later interests in electronic communication. None of the motor vehicles or aircraft made during the First World War could have functioned without a magneto to help them function. Most of the magnetos used in British industry were sourced from abroad (mainly Germany!), which made the industry very vulnerable at the outbreak of war. Fortunately BTH had been working on a suitable design and was ready to step into the breech. GEC in the guise of their subsidiary Connor Magneto Ignition built a factory on the site of the Copeswood Grange estate in 1916 and proceeded to add to the supply of magnetos. The BTH factory remained of great strategic importance in the Second World War as witness by the priority given to the factory by the Luftwaffe in their bombing raids. The inter-war years saw the development of the Copeswood site into the Peel-Connor Telephone Works whose extended factory opened in 1921. The development of telecommunications equipment continues at this factory today. BTH diversified into many different areas such as the development of loudspeakers, gramophones and film projectors. Today through various mergers both GEC and BTH are part of the same organisation.