On the 9th March 2008 one of the leading figures in the design and manufacture of butterfly valves sadly passed away, at the age of 81.
Vic Thurston was born on the 6th December in Eastleigh Hampshire in 1926. Vic completed his apprenticeship at British Powerboat and then was variously involved in design, drawing and planning at both Folland Aircraft and Vickers Armstrong.
Vic, the founder of Solent & Pratt Ltd back in 1961, was one of the pioneering designers who pushed forward the boundaries of butterfly valve design. In particular his work, with the then Boving Valves in the early 60s through to the early 90s, was instrumental in designing some of the first 300lb soft seated single and double offset butterfly valves and his work on large diameter butterfly valves, up to 160", is still used to this day by many companies all around the world.
One of Vicís early design milestones was in the early 70ís when he patented the first triple offset segmented butterfly valve to have a fully replaceable metal to metal seat & seal, capable of working at pressures up to 255 bar and temperatures up to 800 degrees centigrade in sizes 2" to 72" and in ratings up to 1500lb.
This design is still manufactured today by Solent & Pratt. The company is now part of a group of select and well known valve manufacturing companies that, together, form the Curtiss Wright Group.
In 1994 Vic sold the butterfly valve manufacturing part of the Solent & Pratt Group to concentrate his efforts on running S&P Design in Southampton, a very successful design company, specialising in design work for many well recognised companies in both the valve, defence and engineering industries.
To this day Vicís legacy lives on in his four sons who have continued the family tradition and work within the valve industry.
Dave Thurston is the Chief Design Draftsman at Solent & Pratt and is responsible for the continuing advancements within the field of butterfly valve design and continues the work started by his father all those years ago.
Chris Thurston is the Purchasing Manager at Solent & Pratt which, as anyone will tell you, is not an enviable job in todayís volatile materials market where shrewd buying is an essential part of the modern business model.
Nick Thurston is the Owner and Manager of LG Ball Valves Ltd - a successful bespoke manufacturer of high temperature and high alloy ball valves in sizes Ĺ" to 18", 150 to 4500lb, for the oil, gas and chemical industries.
Patrick Thurston is a Director of S&P Design in Southampton.
Although I only had the privilege to meet Vic on only a couple of brief occasions at exhibitions in the late 80ís, I feel his accomplishments deserve one last mention in recognition of all he has achieved in the valve industry.
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 8
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