1974 - Michael Williams Engineering Ltd Established
Michael Williams established his own company in 1974 in the midst of a recession after being made redundant. His background in agricultural engineering greatly influenced his ideas and designs for improving automation and reliability in agricultural industries.
Our first venture into the world of automatic bird scarers was the ScareAway, an 8 foot, robotic tripod with rotating head and arms with flailing streamers.
It stood on long legs, several feet above the crop so that its flailing arms would scare birds away. It also had optional air horns to for extra scaring.
It piqued the interest of a Japanese company that imported several of the devices. Mike was so tickled that the Japanese, the pioneers of robotics at the time, would buy a robot from a UK-company that he sent out a press release about a small UK company exporting its robots to Japan. It was jumped upon by the UK media and resulted in several radio and BBC television appearances.
Automatic gas-powered bird scarers, up until now, were pretty basic. They consisted of a mechanical clockwork timer, that needed winding up regularly, a set of bellows to inject the gas, and a flint and steel on a mechanical arm to ignite the gas. Needless to say, they were very hit-and-miss and unreliable.
Michael Williams had heard about all these new-fangled microchips coming out of Japan and wondered if they could be used to build an electronic bird scarer that controlled the timing, gas injection and ignition with microelectronics.
The ScareAway gas powered bird scarer, one of the very first fully electronic controlled bird scarers, was born.
The next reincarnation of the ScareAway gas powered bird scarers saw improvements to the electronic control box.
It had 2 simple knobs to set the number of bangs and the time between firings. It retained the wind-training fin and swivel system to ensure it always fired out of the wind to increase its reliability.
Renamed the Bangalore Bomber Bird Scarer, it became an instant hit.
Michael Williams realised that scaring birds was much more effective when combined with a visual threat. The Bangalore Bomber mimicked the sound of gunshots, but Mike wanted a visual threat associated with it.
Using the help of a work-experience student, Mike designed a silent scarecrow made from hi-viz truck sheeting complete with counter-balanced “gun”. Scaring birds was much more effective with a bank of Ben Guns swiveling in the wind next to the Bangalore Bomber.
Another instant hit, they sold hundreds of units throughout the year.
In a bit of a departure from gas bangers, Mike Williams looked at alternative technology for scaring birds from fields.
The Blitzo consisted of a pair of high-power loudspeakers mounted in a deflective shroud that directed sounds into the field.
In the control box on the floor was a compact cassette player with an endless 5-minute tape inside (don’t laugh – this was really cutting-edge in 1987!).
The tape had sounds recorded on it specifically chosen to scare birds from the field, such as the sounds of flocks of pigeons taking off from fields, dogs barking, people shouting and even some orchestra hits (it was the 80s, after all).
With the rapid evolution of electronics over the years, the Bangalore 2000 used a new contorl box that offered many more features than before.
The Bangalore’s famous half-hour slots were introduced, giving you complete control over a 24-hour period to generate your own, custom scaring patterns. This feature was instantly copied by our competitors.
We’ve never been one to rest on our laurels and when the time came to redesign the Bangalore Bird Scarer, we looked at what the latest technology had to offer.
Battery technology had developed significantly, so much so that smaller, higher powered batteries were an option to power the Bangalore. Carting an old, heavy tractor battery up into the field to power your Bangalore seemed archaic.
Further, solar panel technology had developed sufficiently to make small, trickle charging panels cost-effective.
The Bangalore Broadside Mk 1 was therefore one of the world’s first solar charging gas-powered bird scarers.