1961 – Shake Rattle & Roll

This poster is from a set of 39 developed for an exhibition  by MRATHS (Malvern Radar And Technology History Society) and sponsored by MHDC’s Route to the Hills initiative in Summer 2016.

Shake rattle roll 1961_resizeClick to enlarge

“The Dumpire”
So called because of the Superintendent from 1944 until 1966 of the Physical & Tropical Testing Laboratories and the Component Group later Applied Physics, GWA Dummer.

Mr. G.W.A. Dummer MBE

Environmental Testing

Motto “Anything the climate can do we can do it better”

Dummer’s experience of failure rates in radar due to a number of causes including overheating, soldier joints breaking, components coming loose and breaking during transport, water ingress, mould growth, etc; led to an interest in rigorous testing.

From WW2 up to the end of the 1960’s Britain still had a worldwide Defence roll. Equipment had to operate reliably in all climates. It ran TTE (Tropical Testing Establishments) outposts in Khartoum to test dry heat and dust conditions and the West African Tropical Testing Establishment in Nigeria for humidity and fungus growth. As Empire retreated all of these facilities together with physical conditions such as shock, vibration and altitude were replicated in A & J buildings by a wide range of systems in order to test a wide variety of systems.

There was a solar radiation lab; facilities to drop, bump and vibrate equipment:
George German, Martin Hutchinson and an apprentice in the lab

A dust test chamber

Large climatic chambers

A Centrifuge

And a stratospheric test chamber (cold,  high altitude, explosive decompression),  [For more on the Stratospheric Chamber see the special poster on it)

In complete contrast requests for testing were made for simple industrial products:




Dummer had a worldwide reputation for this work which led to a better understanding of system and component failure. This together with his work on integrated circuits, has contributed to the highly reliable electronic systems today which we take for granted in both the home and Armed Services.

© MRATHS 2016 produced by M Hutchinson

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