“William Gray” was not, as often supposed, a C17th clockmaker, real or imagined, but one Bill Gray; who together with Jim Carrick, founded Industrial Plant Developments (IPD) in Newcombe Road, Luton in 1967/8. IPD became a pioneering microwave antennae manufacturer using CNC equipment in the 1970s.
Early employees of IPD were: John Chernowski, who started with IPD in 1969 as a turner / setter and was heavily involved in the development of NC machining at IPD; becoming Works Manager, and later a Director; John’s son, Paul, who remains a director of the company; and Arthur Hull who worked for IPD as a Machinist
Bill’s wife, Gwen, was PA to the curator of Luton Museum. Jim Carrick suggested that they borrow a lantern clock, which the museum had recently acquired, copy it and manufacture replicas. Records show that Luton (now Wardown Park) Museum accessioned their only lantern clock (a verge lantern clock by John Ball of Newport Pagnall) in June 1970. However, their copy of letter to a Mrs I Currell thanking her for donating the clock is dated 25 March 1970. This gives the likely time window during which Jim Carrick borrowed the clock in order to copy it.
Three years later, William Gray Replicas Ltd. was formed to manufacture such a clock, but only loosely based on the Luton Museum example.