In 1962 John finished his apprenticeship and took a position at the Kenwood factory. John's role in precision wood working to create metal castings, and then later resins and injection mould plastics to be used in industrial production, provided an excellent background for working with Kenwood who were pioneering the use of plastics in the production and manufacture of domestic appliances.
These were the days of the 'white heat of technology', when precision engineering and innovation were combining to change the face of industry in the UK. John's skills were in great demand as many of the tools and products of these emerging technologies had to be firstly, hand crafted in wood to extremely tight specifications.
In 1963, entrepreneur and mini model maker, Bill Langley brought together John Adey and his friend Trevor Gray, in order to help meet the demand for miniature models of cars, for the toy and model industry. John was able to use his skills to create hand carved miniature vehicles to engineering specifications. These were scale models of the real thing and were used to create the moulds so that the plastic versions of the vehicles could be produced in a factory. These in turn appeared throughout the toy market in various guises including most famously, in a number of the 'Scalextric' models, where they became highly collectable.
With demand increasing, in 1966 John and Trevor set up their own company called Proto Patterns and building on the contacts John had made at Kenwood, they obtained work from other companies such as Lec refrigeration and Marconi Defence Systems. After some time John and Trevor parted company and John renamed the successor company Acraplas - derived from the words 'accurate' and 'plastics’ but which was later renamed Conquest – reflecting heritage and craftsmanship. The company continued to produce models and moulds for Marconi Defence Systems - including the production of a model of the Skynet 2 Satellite – which was featured in the local newspaper.
Conquest craftsman for over 40 years Eric Pollard explains, ' ‘Our work was hugely varied – on one occasion we made a full size torpedo mould in wood.’
On another occasion it was a ‘magnetorquer’ for controlling the movement of a satellite in space.’