Ever since the start of the bicycle industry in the 1860s there grew up a secondary industry of component suppliers supporting the major manufacturers. It was always more convenient to buy in certain parts rather than make the whole machine. But all the factories required specialist machines on which to make these parts. As the engineering technology became more complex the construction of machine tools became more specialised. Ironically the depressions of the inter-war years were a boost for Coventry’s machine tool manufacturers. Engineering firms were looking for ways to cut costs during this difficult period and investment in machinery meant that labour could be cut. Firms such as Alfred Herbert, Coventry Gauge & Tool, Webster & Bennett and Wickman flourished during this period. A huge stimulus came towards the end of the 1930s from the government plans for rearmament against the threat from Germany. With the technological developments this demanded an adequate supply of machine tools was to be essential.