History and Background of the Guild

The idea of forming a Guild in Britain originated from a conversation between Mr William B Wallis, Founder Member of the Electric Metal Maker's Guild Inc of America and Mr George P Tinker, Managing Director of Birlec Limited (later Chairman of Birlec-Efco (Melting) Limited), during Mr Tinker's visit to the USA in 1955.  Both thought that the formation of a Guild similar to the one operating in North America would be of distinct advantage to the Electric Steelmaking Industry in Britain.  Shortley afterwards, Frank T Bagnall of Samual Fox & Co Limited, also visited the USA, and when he met Mr Wallis he was informed of the conversation regarding the formation of a Guild in Britain.  Frank Bagnall also agreed that such a Guild would serve a useful purpose.

Mr Wallis had emphasised that the first steps towards establishing a Guild would have to be taken by someone outside the Electric Steelmaking Industry, and Mr Tinker undertook the task.

He gave a full account of the history and activities of the American organisation and emphasised that the purpose of the Guild was that members should meet informally and discuss freely with each other their melting and related problems.  For that reason, membership was confined solely to men who were actively concerned with making steel in Electric Furnaces; persons employed in a Research or Sales capacity were barred from membership.

It was unanimously agreed that the general idea of forming a Guild was good, but the representatives felt that it was essential that they should have freedom to discuss technical matters openly without restriction.

All the companies concerned agreed to participate, on the basis that there should be free and open discussions with all members making their contribution.  No records of technical proceedings should be kept, and members would not necessarily be required to make reports to their respective companies after meetings.

At the first meeting held at the Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield on 20th September 1956, Richard Lamb was elected Chairman and Arnold Mettam, Secretary Treasurer. The first Executive Committee formulated the original bye-laws of the Guild.  They were helped in their deliberations by knowledge of the bye-laws of the American Guild.

The main principles on which the Guild was based were :

Membership would be confined to persons actively concerned in making steel in Electric Furnaces.

Complete informality of proceedings, with freedom of expression on the part of the members.

An obligation on the part of each member to make his own contribution to technical discussions and to take his share of introducing subjects for discussion.  No record of Technical discussions would be kept.

Limitations of numbers representing any company or group of companies to prevent "power groups" within the Guild.

Limitation of membership to fifty.

Insistance upon attendance at Annual General Meetings, otherwise membership would be rendered void.

 

As a token of members' appreciation of the help and guidance given in establishing the Guild, Honorary Membership was conferred on :

Mr W D Pugh, Mr G P Tinker, Mr W B Wallis.

 

 

Subsequent History

Life Membership was created in June 1960, to be awarded for outstanding service to the guild.  Frank Bagnall became the first Life Member.  From January 1965, Life Membership was automatically conferred on Past Presidents when they retired from active employment and may be conferred on a member who has given outstanding service to the Guild.

Associate Membership was created in 1965 to meet an increasing need for a form of membership which would enable Ordinary Members to maintain their association with the Guild when they retired from active employment or, due to promotion or change of vocation, were no longer eligible to hold Ordinary Membership.

In 1976 it became necessary to depart from one of the main principles on which the Guild was founded, namely that Ordinary Members must be directly concerned with making steel in Electric Furnaces.  As a result of the nationalisation and rationalisation of the Electric Steelmaking Industry, which had taken place over a number of years, a number of Ordinary Members had been promoted and in accordance with the bye-laws were no longer eligible for Ordinary Membership.  It was considered that the Guild could ill afford to lose a number of its long standing and experienced members.  Consequently, after a long debate it was decided that, where appropriate, past experience of electric steelmaking and managerial involvement would be taken into account when deciding whether or not promoted members should retain their Ordinary Membership.

Additionally, it was decided that because of the changing international situation, for example Britain's membership of the European Community, and also in order to strengthen the Guild, Ordinary Membership should be extended to electric steelmakers from other countries.

In 1976, in order to honour and perpetuate the name of W B Wallis, the Electric Metal Makers' Guild instituted, for annual presentation, the Billy Wallis Founders Award the purpose of which was to recognise distinguished achievement or contribution to the Electric Metal Making Industry.  The first recipient in 1977 was Paul W Dillon of Northwestern Steel and Founder Members, recieved the second Award in 1978.  The inscribed scroll was presented to George by Billy Wallis himself at the AGM in Sheffield in May 1978.  He was heard to remark at the meeting that it was his 123rd trip to Europe; unfortunately this was his last visit to the Guild.

Subsequently the Award was presented to Emrys Davis in 1981 and Eric Pinder in 1987.

Most recently, the Guild proposed Herr Gerhard Fuchs for the 2002 Award and this was accepted, Herr Fuchs was presented with the scroll at the EMMG AGM.