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Hatston
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Hatston

Old businesses in Dakota Road, Hatston.
Picture added on 04 August 2007
Comments:
These were the premises of Tom Balfour who invented amongst other things, a 'towed underwater vehicle' onto which underwater cameras were attached. One of these vehicles was used for many years by the German Fishery Research vessel 'Solea', which operated in 'Orkney Waters' for a spell each summer. The vehicle was controlled from the 'towing' vessel through an umbilical cable and rotors utilising The 'Magnus Rotor Principle'. The rotors kept the vehicle stable and were the means of altering it's position as it was towed along. The performance of the nets and behaviour of the fish could be seen on monitors and filmed for future reference. These vehicles were also of particular interest to the North Sea oil industry at that time. Tom left Orkney for his native Shetland in the mid 1980s where he continued with his work.
Added by Rob Thomson on 05 August 2007
This black building was the garage and workshop during the war complete with a ramp capable of lifting lorries. The Dept. of Agriculture took it over after the war and from 1956 until 1976 it was part of Pomona Egg & Poultry Packing Station. Tom Balfour then moved in and also took over the building next door which George Argo Sen. used to have and store all his collection of old machinery etc. in. This colletion of items were then was displayed at the Kirbuster Farm Museum in Birsay when it opened. Andy Sutherland the painter now uses the larger building as a grit blasting and painting shed. The smaller one was last used as a base by CD Taxis.
Added by Edwin Rendall on 06 August 2007
The name on the right-hand shed door "Norland Ltd", was the name of the company that built the underwater vehicles. Other inventions of Tom's were a 'high tensile fencing system' and a hydraulically operated hoist for recovering persons from the sea alongside vessels such as pilot launches. A number of pilot launches including those based at Scapa were fitted with this apparatus.
Added by Rob Thomson on 07 August 2007
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