Posted 28-1-16 The next story was sent to us from Ivan Mortimer. Ivan started at Autowrappers in 1962 as a lathe operator, skillfully machining wrapping machine parts to a precision tolerance, he left Auto Wrappers in 2002 to pursue other interests, he spent 40 years as a machinist making parts for hundreds of wrapping machines over the years, he saw all the changes within the company, working in the machine shops of both Auto Wrapper's Edward St and Whiffler Rd factories. His story below is very different to most, as Ivan had severe impaired vision, to such a degree that during his schooling he was taught in Braille, Even today people still talk about the "Braille Micrometer" that Ivan used, we have even heard apprentices say that "its a wind up" when told about the blind Lathe operator that used to work at Autowrappers, well it wasnt a "wind up" and here is the story from Ivan himself. I hope Ivan’s story will inspire those with eyesight disabilities, and also show us all, what can be achieved with determination and dedication. My Life at Auto Wrappers (by Ivan Mortimer) I have had bad sight all my life, going to a school for pupils either partially sighted or blind where I was taught in Braille. Bad sight ran in my family. When I left school in 1962 I went to a government training center in Letchworth for eight weeks to learn a bit about engineering, we did the capstan lathes, a bit of drilling and a bit of milling and a little assembly, when I left there I was unemployed for about six weeks and then I got a chance to work at Auto Wrappers. Looking back, I bet they wondered what the hell they had taken on, I remember the very first job I made, and they were thumb nuts, 200 of them. I was put on a very small machine called a Britton. A few weeks later one Monday morning I turned up for work to find they had sold the machine and a heap of junk was in its place. At this stage, all I had was a few tools and I depended very much on someone setting the machine up for me, I didn’t even have a micrometer at this time. At the start I was tucked away in a corner of what was then the tool room at Edwards Street, after a couple of months I was moved into the machine shop and got a lot of help from a guy on the machine in front for which I will be forever grateful, It was about this point I decided that if I was going to survive I had to start doing a bit for myself, little by little I became less dependent on other people. In the July I received the birthday pay rise and, in August I opened my pay packet to find Autowrappers had given me far more money than I should have had, (Now for a laugh…) My pay went from £3. 12/ 6d, three pounds twelve shillings and six pence or £3.62 today, to Eight pounds ten shillings, or £8.50 today, so I must have been doing something right, later I was told I was now a trainee not an apprentice anymore. In late 1965 Charley Barnes, the guy on the machine in front of mine left the company for a better paid job, It was at this point AW decided to stop the night shift and Lenny Beard came on to days on the capstan in front of mine. We got on well. I was becoming more independent as time went on, the only thing I was never able to do was to grind my own tooling. I owe a lot to several people over the years that have helped me with this. In 1966 the company moved to Whiffler Road. At this point they had three capstans, Lenny was on the Herbert 4, and Harry West and I were on Taylors, these were operated with foot pedals and had only two speeds. In 1970 the company bought a new Herbert 4 and a big reshuffle took place, Lenny wanted to go on to the Centre lathe, and I was put on the new machine much to Harry’s annoyance. By this time, apart from tool grinding I was completely independent. In the latter part of the 1970s when we started making machines under licence for SIG ( now Bosch ) The Machines required Metric parts to be made, unlike our existing machines that used imperial measurements ( inches) I decided that I needed to acquire some new metric Braille micrometers. This became even more important as we had received an order from a German company for four S2000 Roll Wrappers, and they also had to be built with metric threads. I got a new 0 to 25mm Micrometer, and the guy who brought it to me was given three days to train me on how to use it. I sent him packing after half an hour, (so no problem there) I am however pleased to be able to say that as time went on, and people came and left, I was able to pass on some of the things I had learned over the years. At least one person, who I know will be reading this, still bears the scars! One of the things I was best known for was for making many of the brass distance pieces for the S2000 feeders. If I felt there was a mistake, I would get it checked out, sometimes I was right, (not always) but we had a few chuckles over it. I’ve probably still got a kilo of brass splinters running around my body. I managed to survive several rounds of redundancies in the 1980s and 90s. in 1987 I received my 25-year service award along with four others, Peter Marlee, Les Fox, (Ozzy) Osbourne, and George Howell. In 2000 I left for personal reasons to come to the midlands. I returned in briefly in 2001 and left again in 2002. I went for several interviews in the midlands and got some strange looks when they realized about my eyesight. I went for one interview where they said I didn’t have any experience of the fastener trade to which I said, what is the difference between making nuts and bolts and making nuts and bolts, I went home a bit flat. Next day I got a phone call from them asking me if I wanted a temporary contract for three months. It was a small engineering company near Walsall, the money was very poor, and about £3 an hour less than I was getting at Autowrappers, but I worked there for five and a half years. I learned quite a lot there as the type of work was very different. I heard on the grape vine that Autowrappers were going to sell my old capstan Lathe so I told my governor at my new company, who put in a cheeky bid for it which was eventually accepted. So, the machine I had worked on for thirty years followed me to the midlands. It was in better shape than most of the rubbish he had. I decided to retire at the end of 2007 at the ripe old age of 61. The company tried everything to get me to stay, even offering more money but I thought I still had all my fingers intact and the money wasn’t an issue. (That’s my story so there you have it, warts and all) Ivan Mortimer
AW0185 Ivan's Braille Micrometer
AW0044 The Whiffler Rd Machine shop where Ivan worked
AW0184 Ivan Mortimer
Ivans Update
At Last I have at last found someone who can make use of some of my micrometers. He works for a local engineering company. He has very little sight. He asked the respective team at his local job centre for a braille or talking  micrometer and there answer was whaaatttttt!
I had been trying to find a use for them for some time. Asking people with contacts such as museums or colleges but with no joy.
I went to visit a computer instructor at the local centre for the blind up here for some advice on the new Windows 10 and if it would work with the specialist Screen Reader software I have on my computer. I just happened to mention them and he put me in touch with one of his students and the rest is history.
Editors Note ....  Great to know that they will assist someone else and make someones life a lot easier, 
good news Ivan and thanks for the update.