From today's Daily Telegraph:
"William de Vigier, who died on December 20 aged 91, was the
Swiss-born inventor of the Acrow prop.
Arriving in London in 1935 with £50 in his pocket, Bill de Vigier set
up a small workshop under Bow arches in the East End making steel
props which were adjustable for length by means of a robust screw
thread. His ingenious design was at first too revolutionary for a
trade which had relied wastefully since time immemorial on wooden
pole scaffolding, sawn to fit each use; for three months no builder
would listen to him, but eventually a small number - among them the
firm of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons - began to buy his product.
The solicitor who helped set up de Vigier's company was a Mr A Crowe:
de Vigier adapted his name on the grounds that it would be easy to
pronounce and near the beginning of any alphabetical listing. Hence
the "Acrow prop" entered the language of the building site, finding a
multitude of temporary structural uses. Orders multiplied and by 1939
more than 40,000 Acrow props were in daily use in Britain ....."
Tony Bryer SDA UK 'Software to build on' http://www.sda.co.uk
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