In 1946 tractors were still not fitted with cabs or any form of protection against the elements. On October 28th, 1946 we incorporated a new company, Tractor Supplies Limited at 35 New Road, Peterborough to promote agricultural spare parts sales for Tractor Spares Limited’s products on the east coast.

This new company was managed by Mr. Frank Wootton. The company just about paid its way. Frank Wootton had an idea: he found a local blacksmith to weld together sheet metal to form a crude type of cab for the local farmers. In March 1947 Tractor Supplies Limited registered a trade mark "SUN-TRAC" for tractor cabs.
In 1950 Mr. Wootton left the Company to become a preacher, so the building was leased to Trackparts of Hatfield. Mr. Jack Gordon, their managing director, was still accepting orders from farmers for cabs but passed them on to Wolverhampton.

On 3rd December, 1953 we made an agreement with a small company, A.Ward and Company (Wolverhampton) Limited, to design and produce a good cab for Tractor Spares Limited.

In 1955 Trackparts decided the Peterborough Depot was not a viable proposition and removed all their stocks. I sold the premises in 1956.

By 1956 Tractor Supplies Limited, operating from Chillington Fields, had established themselves in the tractor cab market in a substantial way. But our producers, A. Ward and Company(Wolverhampton) Limited, fell out with our Mr. Sydney Dando and on September 1st, 1956 terminated the supply contract and refused to supply any further cabs, going into the business on their own account.

Suddenly we had no products to sell, and, to embarrass us further, had to pass all our repeat orders and accounts over to Wards to handle direct.

I felt personally let down and extremely annoyed. I decided to take a more active part in the survival of Tractor Supplies Limited. So, with a few men, I started our own production at Strawberry Lane, in 9 new bays which Tractor Spares Limited still had under construction. With Mr. Walter Draht in the drawing office, I had to start designing and drawing all new cabs. Expansion was rapid. I made a personal visit to see all the Managing Directors of our lost customers with great success. Within three to four years we became a threat to A. Ward and Company (Wolverhampton) Limited’s business.

In the early stages A. Ward and Company (Wolverhampton) Limited had no competition and expanded rapidly. It changed its name to Tractorvision Limited, and moved its operation to Sidney Street off Penn Road (A. Ward and Company (Fabrications) Limited, remained in Walsall Street).

They expanded their range, making cabs for Caterpillar and International Harvester, John Deere, Fordson, Track Marshall, Euclid, Massey Ferguson, Blaw Knox, Ransome, Boss, Hymac etc..

In 1962 Bowmaker Plant, Cannock bought Tractorvision Ltd., and production was moved to the old Marston factory on Penn Road, the building now occupied by the main Mercedes dealer.

1965 Tractorvision's Works Manager, Mr. David Thomas, together with a financial backer, set up Cabcraft Limited, at Penkridge near Stafford. (Cabcraft's story can be found on this website in the museum engineering hall).

This meant that in or near Wolverhampton there were three manufacturers of tractor cabs - which created competition!
By 1968 Tractorvision had again outgrown its capacity in Wolverhampton and moved to larger premises at Four Ashes on the Stafford Road. They were instrumental in introducing combine harvester cabs complete with an air filtration system. To meet new safety legislation, rigorous safety precautions were built into the cabs. Drivers’ cabs had moved from being a basic metal shell to a safe, comfortable, protective home for the operator. But with the continuing need not only to widen the range but also to introduce new features, design and development costs soared. The company began losing money, the larger premises adding to Bowmaker’s increasing losses. They decided to look for a buyer.

Tractor Supplies cab design had also become more sophisticated. We had also become more efficient in production, each year making an improved profit. We made cabs to fit almost very tractor available in this country.

A SUN-TRAC cab for the Caterpillar DW21.

A SUN-TRAC cab fitted to Tarmac's International tractor.

So in 1969 I made Bowmakers an offer for Tractorvision, which they accepted. Bowmakers insisted on the sale including "Clearview" who produced shop windows using German aluminium rolled sections.

The premises at Four Ashes were far too large for Tractorvision and Clearview, so I moved Clearview to Strawberry Lane and Tractor Supplies Limited’s cab production to Four Ashes.

I also persuaded Mr. David Thomas of Cabcraft to manage the cab production at Four Ashes. We changed the name from Tractor Supplies Limited to Operator Control Cabs Limited.

Operator Control Cabs had inherited the increased overheads and it was a struggle to keep the creditors happy. Nevertheless I am sure, given time, this would be achieved. But we did not get time because, in 1970, through an oversight by our staff, a creditor’s postal petition to wind up was overlooked.

On the subsequent publication of the notice, other creditors and the tax authorities joined-in and the bank froze the account on July 22nd.

A creditors meeting followed, which received a glowing report on SUN-TRAC cabs over the last 24 years, each year showing a £15,000 to £20,000 profit.

A SUN-TRAC cab fitted to an Aveling Barford GF Roller.

A SUN-TRAC cab fitted to a Ferguson tractor.

A Birmingham firm of building contractors Messrs. David Charles Limited, had just finished building Tractor Spares Limited’s new office block by Neachells Lane bridge. They heard of the O.C.C. disaster and offered the liquidators £30,805 for the Company.

I felt obliged to personally pay out all wages due, and all National Insurance stamps due. I also had to meet a personal guarantee to Bowmakers, and to meet that had to sell the Watery Lane site to David Charles.

David Charles continued production of cabs until 1972.

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