The first company in the group was W H Doherty & Co Ltd which was founded by Bert Doherty (William Herbert) and his partner Victor Gabriel in 1934. The business was exclusively a factoring organisation, buying brass cut thread screws from Switzerland and brass and steel pressed nuts from the USA. It was a merry band of 3 rather dubious characters and one disciplinarian. Gabriel and Bert were soon successful enough to hire a secretary, Margo Perks, who kept everyone in order and Sonny Lucas (Ginger) who was the master salesman.
By the time the Germans had upset normal conditions in Europe the company had so much of the Midlands screw and nut business that at the outbreak of war the then Ministry of Supply ordered that the company must start manufacturing and that raw material would be made available. There was no longer any possibility of importing such products.
A manufacturing unit was found in Mosley Street at the back of the Carpenters Arms (affectionately known as the "Bag o' Nails") and the company left their original offices in Ruskin Chambers, Steelhouse Lane. So the first catharsis was a complete change from factoring to manufacturing.
There was little choice of machines during those difficult times and of course no labour, so Bert ran the machines, Ginger sold the products and Gabriel had a heart attack. Mrs Perks kept them working and out of the "Bag o' Nails".
The many air raids on Birmingham made going to work in the morning an adventure, what route can we use today? Inevitably the factory received a direct hit with the German bomb entering through the roof, penetrating two floors and burying itself in the workshop floor. This is known because it did not explode! Consequently nobody knew of its presence until Ginger Lucas arrived the following morning. Realising that work could not proceed with a German bomb in the factory floor, he picked it up and carried it out of the factory and deposited it in Mosley Road. He then phoned the ARP.