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Pylon-related organisations



A few vague details about a few organisations related to British electricity pylons. Extensive detail is not to be expected.


British Insulated

British Insulated Cables joined with Callender’s Cable Co. Ltd. in 1945 to become BICC.

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Callender’s Cable Co. Ltd. joined with British Insulated Cables in 1945 to become BICC.

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Balfour Beatty

The present-day Balfour Beatty is former parent company BICC.

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British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC) is now Balfour Beatty. BICC acquired Power Securities who themselves owned Balfour Beatty. Formed in 1945 from British Insulated Cables and Callender’s Cable.

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American-based firm Blaw-Knox appear to be the most prolific organisation when it comes to tower design. Blaw-Knox designed two of the most common tower types in Britain: the 132 kV PL16 type and the first major Supergrid type of L2. (It seems the earlier Supergrid type of L66 was also their design.) When the Supergrid was extended to quad-conductor lines, Blaw-Knox provided one of the four L6 types. National Grid document TGN(E) 161 “Technical Guidance Notes - Modifications to L66, L2, L3, L3(c), L8 and L8(c) Towers” bears the summary line “A generic design defect exists in the layout of body extensions incorporated into Blaw Knox L66, L2, L3, L3(c), L8 and L8(c) towers.” The suggestion is that these are all Blaw-Knox designs, and there seems to be no reason for this not to be the case.

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J L Eve

J. L. Eve Construction was a London-based civil engineering company founded in 1930 by its late namesake John Leonard Eve. J L Eve characteristically avoided giving any of their tower designs names. Their implementation of the CEB L132 specification is variously known as “L16” (in England), “L55” (in Scotland) and L132 in general, and there is no evidence to prove that these three are all the same specification; in the Tower Bible the series name is given merely as “J.L. EVE.” Eve drawings for the Thorpe Marsh–Stalybridge line depict Eve L6 towers but again do not name the series.

Eve were jointly responsible with BICC for L7, L6(c) and L7(c), with each series being a mixture of Eve and BICC tower designs.

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Milliken Brothers

Milliken Brothers were an American firm who were the winners of a CEB competition to select a design for the pylons that would make up the original National Grid. (The present-day National Grid is what was introduced as the Supergrid, the 275 and 400 kV overlay onto the original 132 kV network.)

Milliken Brothers was acquired by Blaw-Knox in August 1927, as reported in the New York Times.

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Pirelli is an Italian tyre manufacturer who were also (allegedly!) the designer of PL1a, a fairly common tower type in the UK. However, Pirelli may have just been a cabling subcontractor. GEC are also suggested to have designed the towers.

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