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Old 4th Mar 2018, 12:00 pm   #61
davidh1041
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I managed some long weekends away towards the end of the shop days, travelling to France on my old Harley Davidson. Often a sense of self satisfaction is worth more than monetary gain, and that can be very small at times!
Was this trip to France to to tell Thompson where they should shove their ICC5 E/W circuit John?

Regard David
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 12:08 pm   #62
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I struggled on in my shop in Norwich until 1998, I really had had enough by then, we were being plagued with people who had bought digi boxes from elsewhere and could not get them to work, people who had bought equipment from outlet stores/catalogues and could not understand why we would want to charge them more than a fiver to call out to their house and set the thing up, often involving putting together the flat pack cabinet the horrible thing sat on. I have no regrets of getting out when I did after 23 years of a mostly enjoyable service life.

David
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 12:11 pm   #63
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mark2collection wrote:
"I thought I was doing well to last in the trade until September, 2005."

That's the same for my business, up to that year I was doing quite well but after 2006 things were starting to go bad, the exodus from TV rental had started big time and I didn't get the follow up sale of a new TV set from the ex-rental customer. I was still selling TV sets, just one or two week if I was lucky, buying sets from wholesalers is not a competitive way of selling because the profit has already been taken by the middleman.
Bad marketing move by me and perhaps others was to stay loyal to CRT TV sets and large number of Samsung "Slimfit" TVs were bought for sale and rental. This was a "blind alley" product, clever engineering for sure, a 32" CRT TV set that was only 399mm (16") deep. Weight 55KG! = 121 pounds.
The Slimfits weren't all that reliable and the public weren't all that impressed with the sets, they compared the new CRT set with the latest LCD models and be honest there was no competition between the sets, what's more the pictures displayed on the Slimfit wasn't all that good either. LCD TVs are truly slim!
Received a visit from the VAT inspector in 2006. She queried why had the turnover had diminished since the last visit. Had to explain that's how it is in this type of trade. Anyway by the end of the noughties not only was the TV trade in a bad way so it was for me because I was also in a clapped out state of health. I'm OK now but the servicing industry isn't.

DFWB.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 12:41 pm   #64
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Was this trip to France to to tell Thompson where they should shove their ICC5 E/W circuit John?
I did try David. One look at my passport and I was banned from crossing their threshold. I must have been on their 'list'. John.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 1:30 pm   #65
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We go by way of the village Blacksmith and many others that have faded over the last 50 years.

Engineering is a dirty word in Britain today.
There are still blacksmiths around. They've diversified into general engineering repair workshops for agricultural people. Big lathes, big guillotines, big folders, MIG TIG and bobtail. Special tooling for making hydraulic hoses, stockists of pipe fittings fencing material and they still forge metal when needed. If you're up visiting Fernseh sometime John and take a foray a mile or two over the border, one of the best modern blacksmiths is John Falla at Bonchester Bridge.

People confuse blacksmiths with farriers. Licensed farriers are the only people legally allowed to nail a shoe on a horse. They are thriving. They're in short supply and their fees have kept rising. On the other hand it's hard labour, dirty and with a big risk of injury.

Farriers and Blacksmiths have long not been friends (like Lancashire v Yorkshire) Farriers point out that mere blacksmiths aren't allowed to do what they do. Blacksmiths call farriers 'horsecobblers' and the language goes down from there.

Both factions are surviving a lot better than the TV repair trade, it has to be said.

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Old 4th Mar 2018, 2:35 pm   #66
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There are still blacksmiths around. They've diversified into general engineering repair workshops for agricultural people.
Some blacksmiths are also diversifying out into manufacturing items for the fetish community, with which they kit out dungeons and so on. Apparently lots of money to be made. I saw an article last year saying that becoming a young "new" blacksmith is among the best paid careers.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 5:06 pm   #67
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I'd expected the TV repair trade to diversify out into fixing black boxes for cars. The same skills are needed and the things cost the price of one-to-several colour tellies. Garages just swap them and oh dear, it wasn't that one, so they swap another one. The customer doesn't get a refund for the previous ones, the customer just has to keep on paying.

I suppose it's liability issues which have scared everyone off.

As for that branch of blacksmithing, I'd die laughing! Do I now have to worry that anyone who sees the anvil in my garage might jump to embarrassing conclusions? Fortunately I can't imagine a parallel path for ex-TV repairers.

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Old 4th Mar 2018, 6:20 pm   #68
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I'd expected the TV repair trade to diversify out into fixing black boxes for cars. The same skills are needed and the things cost the price of one-to-several colour tellies. Garages just swap them and oh dear, it wasn't that one, so they swap another one. The customer doesn't get a refund for the previous ones, the customer just has to keep on paying.

I suppose it's liability issues which have scared everyone off.

As for that branch of blacksmithing, I'd die laughing! Do I now have to worry that anyone who sees the anvil in my garage might jump to embarrassing conclusions? Fortunately I can't imagine a parallel path for ex-TV repairers.

David

There are niches though.
Someone I know did quite well out of fixing boxes that controlled the central locking and other peripheral areas, of a certain vintage of BMW's. The fault was invariably the same - soggy relays. Problem is the market is very transparent and others soon got in the act using everyone's favourite auction site.

Such activities also have a "window of opportunity" (too new and the cars don't fail, too old and they get scrapped out of the market), so you need to keep finding risk free and easy bits of cars to fix - not easy !
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 6:23 pm   #69
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Radio Wranler said

"As for that branch of blacksmithing, I'd die laughing! Do I now have to worry that anyone who sees the anvil in my garage might jump to embarrassing conclusions? Fortunately I can't imagine a parallel path for ex-TV repairers."

You might think that. One of the phone repair shops sent a lady customer up with what I'll call a "pleasuring device" for repair about six weeks ago, John graciously declined!

Apparently some of them are quite expensive. I'm not making this up.

John Joe.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 6:43 pm   #70
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Engineering is a dirty word in Britain today.
Untrue!

The problem is that in the UK the term "Engineer has been devalued. The person who comes to fix your boiler is not an Engineer; your road-sweeper or septic-tank-outpumper are not "sanitation engineers".

There are no "maintenance engineers" doing day-to-day repairs to domestic appliances: they're fitters or - if they've spent a few years at technical-college - "Technicians".

TI view an"Engineer" as someone with at least a Diploma/Batchelors-Degree-level qualification. B.Eng as the basis,

M.Eng and C.Eng if you want credibility. Calling yourself an "Engineer" is considered as prestigious as "Doctor" or "Professor" or QC in the professional world. "Dipl.Ing" or similar in EU countries. Sadly the UK devalued proper professional qualifications a while back in the drive for 'equality'.

Proprly-qualified Chartered Engineers in the UK can still command a really good salary and respect! Please don't devalue their professionalism by calling plumbers and electricians 'engineers'.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 10:49 am   #71
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I agree Hobbs End, I used the word 'Engineer' incorrectly when I was describing the death of hands on jobs in the UK.

It appears to me that any job that involves getting your hands dirty is very much out of favour by the majority of the young today. It is very difficult to get guys interested in anything mechanical unless they have been brought up in that environment in their fathers business such as motor engineering, farming [very much so in this area. Farming lads are incredibly capable] or road transport.

They were told that if they attended University they would automatically have entry to 100k a year jobs. That sadly is not true as many of them have found themselves in jobs that would be considered to be very basic at best.

Far better if they had signed up for an apprenticeship and learned something really useful for themselves and the Country. Hands on experience is very much valued by employers and worth more than a thousand bits of paper.

The time is running out for these guys. Your 'White Heat' period are your 20's and 30's, something you start to discover when you are in you mid 40's.

I ran my Television and electrical business from the age of 18 in 1966 possible only because I was lucky enough to get a job at a very young age in a television shop in Wimbledon. It took a lot of courage to enter that premises and ask 'Do you have any Saturday jobs'. I did have a few lads ask that question in the early days of my business but it was a very rare request in later years.

Unbelievably I used to get parents from the Asian community ask me if I would let their son work for me for nothing, just to learn the trade!

Times have changed. As Chris has mentioned, there are niches but now, having interests in the heavy truck business, know what a nighmare this can be. Often the multi plugs on the ECU are rotted or the complete unit has been damaged by water ingress to such an extent that repair would be difficult and very time consuming.
It's not exactly fun anymore.

I have repaired a number of electronic modules connected with the motor trade but there can be unforeseen problems with this from a safety angle and haulage companies prefer to have new manufacturers units fitted.
Could you actually make a living from this?
Times are very different now. I was just lucky to have been born in 1948, mid 20th Century. Austerity yes, oh yes but everyone was full of hope and jobs were plentiful due mainly of course to the rebuilding of Britain after WW2.
There will be a whole new generation of electric vehicles available in the not too distant future. Maybe this is where we should be looking for careers in the electronic industry.
Mobile battery charging services. Now there's a thought..
Regards, John.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 11:15 am   #72
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I can relate to some of this, when I was 15 I volunteered at the national transport museum. My friends said I was mad working for free on Saturdays. This was a stepping stone and I went on to serve my time as an HGV mechanic.

It's the same here, most of the lads I served my time with were sons of farmers or people who had an interest in vintage vehicles. In the college phases the normal students looked down their nose at us.

I am still the youngest member of the museum, and I'm there 15 year's now.

John Joe.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 1:28 pm   #73
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Re engineers.....it's true. My late father saw the rot set in....he gained a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1961, transferring eventually to the furniture industry as a structures expert when the British aircraft industry self-destructed.

By the 80s he noticed that he wasn't respected here in the same way as he was when he visited Germany for business...."Guten abend Herr Doktor Engineer".

Part of the problem here is that we call street cleaners such as "sanitation engineers". I have respect for street cleaners and bin men. Where would we be without them? But the job is not highly skilled and is not a branch of engineering. I agree, the guy who came to fix my washing machine (under warranty, otherwise I DIY) was not an engineer. He's definitely a technician or repair man...has had a fair amount of training but isn't an engineer....but he's described as a "Hotpoint Engineer"....I suspect Hotpoint employ engineers in the manufacture of their devices though.

Engineer as a whole career is looked down upon now. And as already said, so many kids would rather study art history or media studies.

As for blacksmiths and the fetish community, the requirements for metal fittings are often lucrative and the quality requested high. Sometimes the items are not just required to look like something one might see in a dungeon but must also be strong enough to hold the weight of a human being or two. It's been a second lease of life for some blacksmiths.

As for "devices of pleasure"....yes some run to hundreds or even a couple of thousand pounds and contain quite heavy duty motors and mechanisms. I'm in no way embarrassed that I know these things.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 2:00 pm   #74
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Quickly getting back to the subject.....
I suspect the American use of 'engineer' dates from the man who worked on the steam engines - in fact guards, as we (used to) call them are called engineers in America. No-one's fault, just different meanings of the same word. But as we share a common language, the term gets devalued.
I have had some customers who do know these things start to treat me with more respect when they realise I am really an engineer, albeit one who decided, for several reasons, to fix tellies for a living.
Another cry this morning of "how much? Oh no, I'll collect the TV then", so no money in the till yet.... And we weren't talking about a king's ransom either.
Still a few sets have arrived for repair later, so while the flow continues I'll stay here.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 3:54 pm   #75
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As for blacksmiths and the fetish community, the requirements for metal fittings are often lucrative and the quality requested high. Sometimes the items are not just required to look like something one might see in a dungeon but must also be strong enough to hold the weight of a human being or two. It's been a second lease of life for some blacksmiths.

As for "devices of pleasure"....yes some run to hundreds or even a couple of thousand pounds and contain quite heavy duty motors and mechanisms. I'm in no way embarrassed that I know these things.
If only I'd known at 18 what I know now. Oh well too old to be bothered now. John.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 4:02 pm   #76
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I suspect the American use of 'engineer' dates from the man who worked on the steam engines - in fact guards, as we (used to) call them are called engineers in America.
I always thought that in USA railroad parlance, "the engineer" was actually the driver.

In the UK, "the guard" wasn't the driver, but was in overall charge of the train and travelled in the passenger area or the "guard's van".

Guards are known as "conductors" in the USA.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 4:02 pm   #77
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In many ways we live in times where most things are disposable. If you look at the price of a TV even 20 years ago, and adjust for inflation....you can see why people repaired them then. Going back further, costs were proportionately higher.

Today TVs cost proportionately less in general, and there are often tangible differences/improvements every year or two. A TV bought in 1975 was perfectly capable of doing everything needed of it in 1985 or even 1995, assuming one didn't want NICAM. Who runs a flat screen 10 years old? Well....I do...but it's really in need of replacement.

Sadly devices become obsolete quickly and are expensive to repair compared to buying new. The younger generation (I cannot believe I typed that!) don't understand why a cassette deck won't work after 10 years in the attic and a year on the shelf of a charity shop....nor why it will cost 100 to bring it back to life even if they can find someone to service it.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 4:43 pm   #78
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I had lunch with John today in Swords in a cafe across the road from the shop. We watched a couple of people trying to get in. The look of bemusement on their faces. I kept saying "there's another sale lost" Haha.

He's busy sorting through stuff at home. I must show him this thread, I'm sure He'll be quite amused by the interest.

John Joe.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 4:47 pm   #79
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Stuff should me made so that it doesn't need preventative maintenance or repair. Obviously this has to be coupled with a finite life time. As far as I can see this is now about two years for electronic equipment!

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In many ways we live in times where most things are disposable. If you look at the price of a TV even 20 years ago, and adjust for inflation....you can see why people repaired them then. Going back further, costs were proportionately higher.

Today TVs cost proportionately less in general, and there are often tangible differences/improvements every year or two. A TV bought in 1975 was perfectly capable of doing everything needed of it in 1985 or even 1995, assuming one didn't want NICAM. Who runs a flat screen 10 years old? Well....I do...but it's really in need of replacement.

Sadly devices become obsolete quickly and are expensive to repair compared to buying new. The younger generation (I cannot believe I typed that!) don't understand why a cassette deck won't work after 10 years in the attic and a year on the shelf of a charity shop....nor why it will cost 100 to bring it back to life even if they can find someone to service it.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 4:48 pm   #80
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Terms such as engineer, conductor, cross-tie, and even railroad, were used by George Stevenson in his writings (and patents) and were taken to the USA with the early railway technology. For whatever reason, usage changed in the UK to Driver, Guard, sleeper and railway while the Americans have continued to use Stevenson's original terminology.

There have been various initiatives addressing the problem of the status and what was perceived to be a shortage of engineers over the years: there was the "Finneston" enquiry in the late 1970's, and there has been at least one more whose name I can't remember. Usual thing with governments of any persuasion: set up an enquiry and by the time it reports, people have lost interest. As others have commented, the UK seems to be unique in its engineers having a relatively low status in society.

I hate to think what it would have cost to have paid someone repair my cassette deck last month, what with the time it took to dismantle it with its numerous springs and clips, clean and relubricate and re-assemble using a replacement gear that had to be modified from a different type, the original part being long unobtanium. Definitely a labour of love.
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