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Homepage. This page: A look at various copies of this motor trade magazine, the earliest being from 1934.

The Accessory.

The Accessory magazine was produced by Brown Bros. Limited of Great Eastern Street in London, suppliers of motor-related tools, accessories and consumables from the earliest days of motoring in the UK. Paints and other surface finishes would also feature in their stocklist, even into recent times. The first copy of the magazine featured on this page dates to February 1934.
The Accessory magazine printed in 1934
The magazine was directed at anyone involved in the motor-trade, and to them it was offered freely, whereas anyone not involved in either the cycle- or motor-trade would have to fork out five shillings per year for their copies. Numerous advertisements are featured within the magazine's pages, the first appearing on the cover itself, making a case for the L.S.D. "Niagara" Car Washing Plant.

The British Industries Fair of 1934.

The editorial in this issue is given over to the upcoming British Industries Fair to be held at Olympia, and also in Castle Bromwich in Birmingham. The exhibition first took place in 1915, and had become an annual event thereafter. Whereas the first Fair incorporated around 5 miles of stands within the Royal Agricultural Hall, by 1934 it was expected to feature some 32 miles of stand frontage for the attendees to take in, across both locations. Companies involved in the motor trade would make up a large contingent of the companies displaying at the Fair, with attracting overseas buyers seen as a key ambition to help with the Country's finances.
Mr Leslie Walton, of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd, had this to say:
"I am convinced that, so far at least as the motor industry is concerned, we are definitely leading the Nation back to prosperity. Exhibitions are landmarks which indicate progress, and the recent and current Shows at Olympia are definite in that respect. By the time the British Industries Fair opens its gates to the public, the remaining industries of Great Britain will also have benefited by the turn of the tide, and it is to be anticipated that the ever-growing display of British products will coincide with rapidly increasing demands from overseas. Everywhere abroad, the spirit of increased trade with Great Britain is evident, and our manufacturers can, in most instances, clinch the business by seizing the opportunity to supply the goods in the form in which the purchaser desires to have them. In that direction lies success."
Peter the Engine Heater

Garage-workers' equipment.

Most of the garage products advertised or referred to in this publication were sourced from within the British Isles. A mechanic needing a spark plug cleaner could do worse than find out more about the B.E.N. Sparking Plug Cleaner for instance, available from all the Brown Bros branches. Lucas would happily supply you with electrical items to suit the modern motor-car, and Ripaults the cables you'd need to connect them all together. Garages regularly asked to weld vehicle bodywork or chassis may well have sent away for a leaflet on the "ALDA" High Pressure Welding Outfit, whereas those more used to working on a car's engine may instead have more use for the Black & Decker De Luxe Engine Kit. This latter item came in a large fold-out box, in which a mouthwatering variety of tools were presented, along with a sturdy portable electric drill. Engine re-bores could be handled by the Van-Norman "PER-FECT-O" cylinder re-boring bar, and speedy chassis lubrication by the high-pressure "Tecalemit" Electrogun, a sturdy-looking compressor with a variety of fittings to suit all sizes of vehicle grease nipple.

Maintenance advice.

In addition to trying to sell you things, the magazine also ran regular advice columns designed to help the maintenance and repair of 1920's and 1930's vehicles. This issue looked at the inner workings of Zenith and SU (Type HV) carburetters, with a few trouble-shooting suggestions for regular problems that arose with their use.
Brown Bros could supply all manner of handtools to suit everyone's toolbox requirements. An advertisement for BSA spanners is a reminder that the firm produced spanners for sale direct to the trade and public. Therefore not all BSA spanners that turn up today in car boot sales or in auction, were ever necessarily supplied with a BSA bicycle or motorcycle.

To 1940, the wartime years.

A few more copies of The Accessory magazine have turned up since this page was first published, back in 2010. Below is the copy for April-June 1940, published early in the Second World War, shortly before the Battle of Britain. Although by this time it was being issued every two months instead of one, The Accessory retained two-colour print to its outer cover, the front of which is adorned by a marvellous Kismet Gyroflator garage air pump. Despite everything going on at the time, they managed to include a play on the word "ration" within the Kismet's advertisement.
WW2 copy of The Accessory magazine 1940
Unsurprisingly, much of the content relates - to a greater or lesser extent - to the build-up of global conflict. The editorial touches on how paper restrictions were impacting the frequency of magazine production, and also a desire to not concentrate wholeheartedly on matters WW2, as ".. already too much paper and ink are being wasted on the subject and, anyhow, we really know no more about it than does the other fellow and that amounts to practically nothing."
The column then goes on to discuss how businesses might prepare for peacetime business dealings, discussing matters ranging from the suitability (or otherwise) of existing premises once war is over, to window displays, lighting arrangements, and whether to take the business in new directions, for example into the sale of tyres, driving tuition, or servicing. Perhaps if they'd known that another four years would pass before the war in Europe would come to an end, and several more grind their way onwards before rationing would cease, then would the tone have been less optimistic?
There then follows an article describing the servicing of a diesel engine. Given that private motoring was facing restrictions at this time, writers had to become creative when coming up with new articles to pen. "Primitive Transport & Travel" looks at ancient routes and constructions across Britain, including Stonehenge within its considerations.
Of direct relevance to the war, is a short piece titled "The V. Hartley Headlamp Device". In it, the merits of this particular wartime headlamp mask, as required by blackout regulations of the day, are explained. Following Home Office tests, it was proven that the Hartley Device performed significantly better than a standard headlamp mask, apparently, the only of its type to permit passage of the maximum permissible beam of light onto the road ahead, using a 36w bulb. Prices ranged from 10/6 to 12/6 each, and were available from Brown Brothers outlets. Another article extols the virtues of the new Schrader spark plug pump, a nifty way to inflate a tyre using the compression of air within a car's engine. A page describing this device in more detail may be found here, also on OCC.
Of the advertisements dotted throughout this copy, one stands out. It shows the ARP (Air Raid Precaution) emergency tools cabinet available from the company. Constructed from wood, painted red, and with glazed doors, it contained everything that a plucky ARP Warden might need, during his or her hazardous duties. Saws of varying sizes, plus a shovel, hammer and axe are all present.
ARP tool cabinet WW2

Copies of The Accessory from 1941 and 1943.

In 1941, the cover retained a very similar appearance to that found on the previous year's copies, also featuring Kismet air products as illustrated by the issue shown here, for July-September 1941. Within its pages, the series on diesel engine maintenance continues its course. This is then followed by a tribute article directed towards the company's Chairman, Mr J Albert Thomson and his wife Mrs Thomson, on the loss of their second son Lieut. Ian Scott Thomson, of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He'd been missing in action for over a year, and his death in Belgium had recently been confirmed.
As had become customary by this time, 1941, the remainder of the magazine was a mixture of advertisements, two featuring different makes of hand-operated stirrup pumps, and the remainder comprised (mainly) of general-interest historical articles. Similar can be said for my 1943 copy, although the front cover for April-June 1943 no longer features Kismet products, but instead a Brown Brothers fire-fighting squad and their pump.
1941 and 1943 copies of the magazine
1945 copy of the magazine

The war in Europe is almost over, 1945.

By the end of WW2, the magazine was being issued every three months, as this copy for April-June 1945 is evidence of. The cover by this time - shown here on the right - was altogether more plain. A photograph titled "Roads in the Making" takes centre stage, although no precise details of the location for this civil engineering feat are given. Inside, the mood is generally more optimistic, although sadly there is an obituary for Major Arthur John Thomson, who was the youngest son of the Chairman and his wife, who had lost his life recently.
Matters motoring were discussed in the Editorial as was customary, in this issue the possible delights that might be found in new post-war cars by travel-starved private motorists, were discussed ....
"We have been somewhat interested and not a little amused of late by the extravagant descriptions of the post-war car that have appeared in various sections of the press with some regularity. It all started with an announcement that a certain car, for reasons of economy, was to be produced minus running boards."
"As a matter of fact many of the modern, low-built cars could easily dispense with this feature, for it only means a little extra stretch of the leg to reach the ground since it is seldom used as a step. Of course it is a useful dump for the oil-can and tool-kit when one is 'seeing to things' before setting out."
"Then there was the account of the car that, like the old church clock, could not go wrong because of the absence of 'the works'. Others were to be without gears, without engines and almost one that would do sixty on a 10cc injection of penicillin, so fantastic were the claims."
"Our guess is, there will be nothing revolutionary about the post-war car. What the motoring public will seek and what the manufacturer will be out to supply is a good, reliable car, built on sound orthodox lines, that will withstand a fair amount of wear and tear and not constantly need to be 'docked' for days on end. Something, in short, that will get one there at an economical figure."

Fast-forward to 1949.

A postwar copy of the same magazine title
The issue of The Accessory for October-December 1949 - the 35th year of publication for this (no longer monthly) magazine - incorporates very few advertisements, reflecting the hard times that the Country found itself in during the early post-war years. Despite various new cars being introduced since the end of the war, many were destined to head straight for the docks and export overseas, to help bring much-needed finance back to these shores. The editorial reflects on just this situation:

The Earls Court Motor Show of 1949.

"NIL DESPERANDUM. In the face of all adversities this is the characteristic attitude of the average Britisher and to which the pages of history bear ample witness.
In none is this spirit more discernible than the present-day motorist. An observant visitor to the recent Motor Show at Earls Court could not fail to sense this "never say die" atmosphere. It was so apparent. The very fact that, day after day, hundreds of would-be car buyers travelled many miles just to gaze on a tantalising array of post-war models for which no fixed date for delivery could be given, was proof enough that "hope springs eternal" however unpromising the prospects.
It was a case of "I know what I want when I can get it and," with a perceptible shrug of the shoulders, "until then I must made do - and mend."
The cover shows a garage mechanic checking the wheel alignment on a new E493A Ford Prefect, using the Brown Bros' "Chass-O-Meter". The garage is Norman Reeves (Motors) Limited - Ford distributors and engineers, a fact borne out by the signwriting on the Fordson 7V breakdown lorry parked in the background.
Articles within this post-war issue look at the overhaul of tractor clutches, maintenance of commercial diesel engines, a look at an Esso Lubricating Service installation at Clifton's Service Station (London), and a number of tips on the correct use of a micrometer.
1956 copy of the magazine

The Accessory magazine for 1956.

The final copy of The Accessory stashed away here at OCC HQ is for June 1956, by now back to being a monthly publication. The cover has seen another re-design, and the dimensions of the magazine are slightly more generous. Many more advertisements for motor accessories are spread throughout its pages when compared to the earlier copies, to the extent that there is now an index of advertisers on the final page. Raydyot lamps, Desmo badge bars, Eversure roof racks, Simoniz wax and many more goodies are put before the reader, all designed to extract coinage from their dusty wallets.

Dunlop's mobile maintenance vehicle for the racing motorist.

Facing a full-page ad for Simoniz car wax is an interesting article that describes Dunlop's new mobile tyre workshop, built by Wilsdons & Co. Ltd. A completely self-contained tyre service and replacement facility, it was based on a Commer chassis and was destined to be used at motor racing circuits. Fully equipped with compressors, benches, tyre-fitting equipment and every other tool you could imagine needing, it was to be a one-top shop for the racing motorist.
Dunlop mobile racing tyre fitting vehicle
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