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Vickers Limited

company, city, guns, capital and mississippi

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VICKERS LIMITED, one of the greatest British iron and steel manufacturers, shipbuilders, engineers and armament manu facturers. This joint-stock company, which in 1928 had a share capital of roundly £12,500,000, was founded a century ago. In 1828 George Naylor and his son-in-law, Edward Vickers, began business in a small way in the production of steel for cutting tools, files, and so forth, and until 1865 their works were at Wadsley and Sheffield. The firm was transformed in 1867 into a limited company as Vickers Sons and Company.

As early as 1869 the company made steel forgings for guns, and this business developed strongly after 1880. In 1888 the firm decided to build complete guns, put down the necessary machinery and obtained some orders from the British Government. Not long after they set up their own designing staff, without which trade with foreign governments was impossible. The Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company and the Naval Armaments Com pany with a shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness were bought up in 1897, and from that time the company made artillery ranging from the rifle calibre machine gun to the heaviest naval ordnance. The company were now in a position to build warships at Barrow completely equipped with armour and guns made at the Sheffield works, for armour plate manufacture had also been taken up.

After the World War the capital of the company amounted to £13,500,000, to which it had risen by successive issues from £155,000, the original figure at the formation of the limited com pany in 1867. By the acquisition of control of the British Westing house Company and the Metropolitan Carriage Company this was raised to £20,663,188.

Several ventures into heavy engineering were tried, but the boom in trade after the war due to replacements of losses and de ferred repairs soon came to an end, and it became evident that the earning power of the company's works was not commensurate with the capital invested in them. The capital was drastically written down in 1926, unremunerative businesses were closed, and the sys tem of management changed and decentralized. The reduced earn ing power of the works had not brought financial stress ; the firm had always large cash resources. By 1928 it was shown that the

reforms had been very successful.

During 1927 negotiations with Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Company Ltd. led to an agreement under which the armament and naval shipbuilding sides of both firms were merged in a joint company under the style of Vickers Armstrongs Limited. (L. C. M.) VICKSBURG, a city of western Mississippi, U.S.A., on the Mississippi river, at the mouth of the Yazoo, about midway be tween Memphis and New Orleans; the county seat of Warren county. It is on Federal highways 61 and 8o and is served by the Illinois Central system and river steamers and barges. Construc tion of a bridge across the Mississippi (for vehicular, railway and pedestrian traffic) was begun in 1928. Pop. 18,072 in 1920, negroes, and was 22,943 in 1930 by the Federal census. The city is built on a high bluff, rising to 35o ft. above sea-level.

On the landward side the city is completely surrounded by the Vicksburg National Military park (1,323 ac.), and beyond the northern end of the park, fronting on the river, is one of the largest and most beautiful of the national cemeteries, containing 16,727 graves of Union soldiers, of which 12,723 are marked "unknown." The park includes the battle lines of the opposed armies during the investment of Vicksburg, May 18 to July 4, 1863 (see below), and all the fighting ground between them. About 90o bronze markers tell the story, and three observation towers afford comprehensive panoramas of the field. There are 15 State memorials, scores of statues and busts of Union and Confederate commanders, and on Oct. 13, 1927, a bronze statue of Jefferson Davis (by Henry H. Kitson) was unveiled, and presented by the State of Mississippi to the United States. There are many beautiful ante-bellum residences in the city and its environs. Vicksburg is an important cotton and hardwood lumber market. It has railroad and machine shops, lumber mills, cotton seed-oil mills, and factories making furniture, boxes, baskets, veneer, hoops, staves and oars. The factory output in 1927 was valued at $4,406,099. The city has a commission form of gov ernment.

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