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Old 9th Nov 2017, 11:48 pm   #1
Skywave
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Question Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

I think I have their name correct: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd., manufacturers of electronic instrumentation, test gear and a host of other related stuff.
I'm interested in learning a little of their history. A search on the 'Net revealed very little, except a possible reference at the Radio Museum, which when 'clicked' wouldn't open.

Can anyone here provide any interesting data or places / references to search?
Thank you.

Al.
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 7:02 am   #2
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Hmm

I wonder if this means they are still there or this is just an old Google Street View

Anyway Post code is PL5 3LZ

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 7:25 am   #3
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

I think they were bought by W&G (Wandel and Goltermann) quite some time ago.

David
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 8:02 am   #4
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

It seems they dissapeared in 1992.

Interesting thread here:

http://www.forum.radios-tv.co.uk/vie...hp?f=15&t=6227

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 11:25 am   #5
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

On the back of the psophometer manual their address was Burrington Way, Plymouth, PL5 3LZ DEVON GB. That fits with Mike T's Google View info.

An associated company was Hatfield Instruments (NZ) Ltd. PO BOX 561 Napier, New Zealand. There were about 30 overseas agents.

A picture on the front cover of their factory, probably 1950's to 60's,

Rich
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 11:30 am   #6
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

If it's the same outfit, I remember them as Hatfield Balun.

Lawrence.
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 12:03 pm   #7
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Here is my research into the companies mentioned above:

Balun Ltd, Crawley Road, Horsham, Sussex. Tel. Horsham 3232/3 (in 1957). Maker of wideband transformers. By 1961, associated with Hatfield Instruments Ltd, Burrington Way, Plymouth, Devon.

Hatfield Instruments Ltd, 175 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, London, W7 (in 1953). In 1964 & 70, Burrington Way, Plymouth, Devon. Originally a seller of refurbished test equipment. In 1953, they made a VHF Tx output meter and in 1970 baluns, hybrid transformers, multicouplers and radio transceivers. In 1967, they also made high frequency ac power supplies. In 1964, they distributed a field strength meter made by Prestel SRL of Milan, Italy. Taken over by Wandel & Golterman – by 1982 and renamed W&G Instruments Ltd, Plymouth.


Wandel & Golterman (UK) Ltd, 40-48 Acton High Street, London, W3 (in 1970-4). German maker of mainly telecoms type test equipment, established in 1923 by Wolfram Wandel and Ulrich Goltermann, when they made radio receivers. Wandel und Golterman GmbH, Eningen u Achalm, Germany. W&G took over Hatfield Instruments, of Plymouth. W&G merged with Wavetek in the 1998. Following a further merger in 2000, with TTC, the company was renamed as Acterna. In 2005, Acterna was acquired by US company JDSU (JDS Uniphase Coproration). In 2015, JDSU split into two separate companies: Viavi Solutions and Lumentum Holdings Inc.

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Old 10th Nov 2017, 12:58 pm   #8
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Thank you everyone - especially dazzlevision - a very comprehensive report.

Being the 'old-timer' that I am, whose interest in radio & electronics began in the early 1960s, it still saddens me to be reminded of the demise of the once highly creative U.K. electronics manufacturing industry.

Al.
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 5:37 pm   #9
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Some of the decadent old stodgy businesses were once highly creative, but they went off the boil, they stopped creating and expected government contracts handed to them on a plate. At one time any good british business that was getting going could expect to be bought up by GEC and that would be the end of them.

here is perhaps a natural life-cycle of electronics businesses. Creative growth leading to eventual failure or getting eaten alive. A few businesses in the world kept themselves going by a process of reinvention. In a few of them the process was smooth, evolutionary, and not at all traumatic. These latter are far in the minority in the world but are most laudable. Think about David Bowie's musical style always changing and never getting left behind. A hard act to pull off.

I don't mourn the loss of some businesses because long before they died, the spirit had gone out of them. I mourn the loss of what they once were at their best.

Britons can develop some of the best technologies in the world and produce stuff to the very best quality level..... when we really want to. What you don't want is classical british management or a stock market at the helm.

David
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Old 10th Nov 2017, 7:54 pm   #10
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
Some of the decadent old stodgy businesses were once highly creative, but they went off the boil, they stopped creating and expected government contracts handed to them on a plate. At one time any good british business that was getting going could expect to be bought up by GEC and that would be the end of them.

here is perhaps a natural life-cycle of electronics businesses. Creative growth leading to eventual failure or getting eaten alive. A few businesses in the world kept themselves going by a process of reinvention. In a few of them the process was smooth, evolutionary, and not at all traumatic. These latter are far in the minority in the world but are most laudable. Think about David Bowie's musical style always changing and never getting left behind. A hard act to pull off.

I don't mourn the loss of some businesses because long before they died, the spirit had gone out of them. I mourn the loss of what they once were at their best.

Britons can develop some of the best technologies in the world and produce stuff to the very best quality level..... when we really want to. What you don't want is classical british management or a stock market at the helm.

David
Indeed.

It's telling that our business management ethos doesn't seem able to grow global companies like MS , Google or Apple, Siemens, BMW (etc)

Aside from what you mention above, my observation is that those running successful companies are often happy to "call it a day" and slide into comfy retirement on the proceeds. In contrast, others see managing a company as a custodial exercise with a view to handing on a bigger and better organisation than they took on. In an increasingly global world the UK's inability to grow and sustain tech business with a global reach is a massive drawback IMHO.
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Old 14th Nov 2017, 5:38 pm   #11
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd.: history?

Hatfield Instruments were pretty active in the 1970s: about 1975 they introduced the Measuring Set No. 1017A, the manual seems to be dated 10/75
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 9:40 am   #12
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Wow! My friend and I were reminiscing about my father tonight, when we started googling the old factories and I happened upon this forum.
Rodney H. Hatfield was my father and he would have been tickled pink to know people were still talking about his work.

Forgive my intrusion to your forum, but seeing some of you were wondering about the history and what happened to my father's work, I will tell you.

When I was a child, Dad was invited by the New Zealand government to start a business in N.Z. Going to N.Z was a dream of his ever since chatting with a soldier from world war 1. As a family we were not keen to go, but in those days, the families followed the head of the household. In Dec 1970 we landed on NZ shores and went to live in Napier, where Dad already had his business set up and running. Hatfield Industries Ltd, (Instruments was in the UK).He used to divide his time between NZ and the UK, trying to manage both businesses, but it was not feasible long term, so he decided to sell the UK based factory, Hatfield Instruments Ltd.

In 1985 Dad suffered a near fatal heart attack. At the age of 75, he decided he should sell his Napier based factory because it would be a difficult task for the rest of the family should he actually die.

One of my brother's had obtained his Electronic Degree by that time and together they continued the much smaller business - Hatfield Agencies. If memory serves, they did very little creative projects as competing with the larger companies would not have been feasible, They concentrated on mini stabilisers.

Over the years, Dad slowed down but was still active. In the last couple of years prior to his death, he started working on a device that would prevent inebriated drivers from starting their vehicles. It was never completed.

His love of all things radio did not diminish and he tinkered with projects at home.

Unfortunately a brain tumour took his life in 1993 at the age of 82.

Dad was a unique gentleman who's creative mind and passion for life never waned.
He helped develop Radar during WW2 and his curiosity for the field was further fuelled.

As far as I know, Electronic Engineers, as such, no longer exist and have been absorbed into other industries.

He would have been intrigued and honoured that his work continues to arouse the interest of the younger generation.

I do hope I have not broken any forum rules and that some of this is of interest to the vintage radio world.
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 10:35 am   #13
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Mistica,

Fascinating history! Do you have any further details of his WW2 Radar work by any chance? Where was he based and what systems he worked on?

Many thanks,

Andy
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 10:46 am   #14
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Hello Mistica,

Here is one of your Dad's finest that, by happy coincidence, was at hand to photograph as I was using it just yesterday.
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 11:01 am   #15
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Hello,

I thought I would contact my Napier brother and ask him for some details of Dad's work seeing he worked with him. I think that will be more useful. I did not go into the field of electronics and feel completely inadequate at supplying additional information.
I know he has some of Dad's old gear too, but they will be personal mementos for historical value.
I'll return soon.
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 11:52 am   #16
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Arrow Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

As the member who initiated this thread, a big "thank you" to Mistica for his invaluable contribution. I would never have guessed the N.Z. association. Your entire post made for fascinating reading: I couldn't have asked for more!

Volte-face: I have recently renovated a Hatfield R-box. It exactly the same model as the one you have shown in your photo.

Al.
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 12:33 pm   #17
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

I probably should have said, I am the daughter, so I am a she, not a he
For all my father's wonderful attributes, and forward thinking outlook, there was one in which he was lacking. He believed the sciences were a man's world, so I was not privy to more than superficial details of his work when I was growing up. I was, and still remain proud of his accomplishments, however.

In reply to the query about where he was stationed in WW2. The only information I can share with you, is he was in London somewhere and outside of his radar contributions, he was an air raid warden.
I will try and find out more.

In his youth, he worked in a jewellery store, whose boss, on occasion, was required to attend the royal residences concerning the maintenance of clocks.
My father used to accompany him at times. I never did understand his involvement in this line of work, because as far as I am aware, the royals have their own clock winder.
Anyway, I digress really. Clocks and watches were another passion of Dad's. We still have his original tool kit.

Another employer saw his potential and sent him to technical school and the passion for radio and electronics started from there.

He was born in 1909 into a very poor family, and was forced to leave school at 12 years of age.
He accomplished so much in his life and saw many major events and changes throughout the decades.
He was also rather eccentric, and till this day I am still amused by the occasion he was all dressed in his suit to go to work, briefcase in hand, standing in the road, ready to get in his car..... and I had to wave madly from the front door to let him know he had forgotten to put his trousers on. Ha ha.

When we moved to NZ, most of his work, I believe, was with telecom, (telecommunications).

In earlier years, he tinkered with ham radio for a while.

It brings back memories seeing those photos of the old instruments.
Anyway, let's see if I can get my brother to drop by.
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Old 21st Feb 2018, 1:55 pm   #18
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Default Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Thanks for the fascinating info, Mistica. I've only just scrapped a Hatfield ten-way rotary antenna selector switch, which I bought second-hand at a rally about 30 years ago. Built like the proverbial concrete wash-house, it had eleven BNC sockets around its periphery and a shaft in the middle for rotating the switch. Good & sturdy, it was painted in the familiar hammer-finish blue.
What impressed me was the way all unselected ports were automatically terminated with a small, sprung carbon slug to stop any undue coupling or reflections on the other lines. I scrapped it when, after a couple of years of rather intermittent operation (and several clean-ups of the contacts), it finally gave up the ghost. It got a lot of use over those 30 years, as it was at the heart of my radio listening post with its many antennas.
I'm sure no-one makes anything quite like it these days.
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Old Yesterday, 2:32 pm   #19
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Arrow Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywave View Post
As the member who initiated this thread, a big "thank you" to Mistica for his invaluable contribution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistica View Post
I probably should have said I am the daughter, so I am a she, not a he
Whoops! Sorry about that, Mistica. I have never encountered your name, prior to this thread, so I simply made an assumption - clearly a wrong one! (Obviously it would have been clumsy, in my above post, to have written "his/her")
A simple mistake by me: no offence intended; I'm sure none was taken.

Al.
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Old Yesterday, 2:44 pm   #20
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Arrow Re: Hatfield Instruments, Ltd. History?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistica View Post
For all my father's wonderful attributes, and forward thinking outlook, there was one in which he was lacking. He believed the sciences were a man's world, so I was not privy to more than superficial details of his work when I was growing up.

He was also rather eccentric, and till this day I am still amused by the occasion he was all dressed in his suit to go to work, briefcase in hand, standing in the road, ready to get in his car..... and I had to wave madly from the front door to let him know he had forgotten to put his trousers on. Ha ha.
Your father's attitudes to "women and engineering": for the period in question, such attitudes were par for the course.

Your father's eccentricity: history has many similar anecdotes of very intelligent and highly creative people who often displayed bizarre behaviour. It seems that their brain is so heavily laden with so many strands of thoughts and ideas all running in parallel (so to speak) that some 'obvious' things simply don't get a 'look-in'.
I'm sure that there are many here who would have liked to have met him.

Al.
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