A development of the "WJA", a late 1880s design by Wolf Jahn, the "B.C.A." precision miller and jig driller inherited all the German Company's precision standards for, besides the "WJA" they were also famous for their high-quality watchmakers' lathes and associated tooling. The concept of the machine - a swan-necked column carrying a slide-mounted head above a compound table topped with a rotary table - was then taken up by Leinen, another German maker of precision watch-making equipment, who, by the late 1920s, had developed it as their Model "80" or, with a plain compound table, as the "80a". Although these were smaller machines than later versions - the table was only 6-inches (150 mm) in diameter, the hole through the spindle 0.314-inch (8 mm) and the distance from column's inner face to spindle centre just 5 inches (130 mm) - it was now in a form clearly recognisable as the immediate forbear of the later English-made Ultra, Excel and B.C.A. versions. During the 1930s further improvements were made by Leinen, including the use of heavier castings and a head that could be inclined and driven by a feed-screw; this version also being advertised as the Leinen, Boley & Leinen and "BFL". Sales catalogues for the brands were identical (but for the name on their cover pages) though the Boley part of the name should not be confused with G.Boley, an entirely separate company. However G.Boley did make their own version of the machine, though this is a model far less frequently encountered than the Leinen BFL. Appearing to have a slightly heavier overall built than the Leinen, the G. Boley had much larger micrometer dials on the compound and rotary tables - while the latter had its "wheel" guarded by a neat sheet-steel cover, a feature lacking on the equivalent Leinen.
Because this was a unique machine, capable of being adapted to a wide variety of tasks and able to work with great accuracy, it is likely that just before (or in the opening months of) WW2, the British Government's Machine Tool Control Rationalisation Board ordered that copies be made for use in instrument factories and other precision and repair facilities. These versions were sold badged first as "Ultra" and "Excel" and then, later, as "B.C.A." (the latter to become familiar as the "B.C.A. Mk. 2"). All the early UK-made machines appear to have been (apart from the motor mount and a covered circumferential gear on the rotary table) indistinguishable from the Leinen and the Boley versions of the late 1930s.
Exactly what arrangements were made for the production and marketing of the early British models is unknown, but advertising literature of the time clearly states that the "Ultra" and "Excel" versions were made by one or more of the companies within the then large B. Elliott Group. The maker could well have been the Victoria Machine Tool Company (well-known for their milling machines) or the Progress Drilling Machine Works, both of whom would have had the necessary expertise to manufacture a small jig borer. However, even this is not certain, for it was also stated in contemporary Elliott catalogues that their machines were made: "… at the works of our subsidiary and associated companies whose whole output of machine tools and equipment is solely controlled by us." The clue lies in the word associated, for Elliot had enough buying power to commission, and then re-brand, machines from a number of independent home and European makers. The miller was also listed in the sales catalogues of the well-known machine-tool marketing company E. H. Jones, where it appeared first with "Sigma-Jones", then Excel and finally B.C.A. badges. The first of those three names is interesting, for part of the giant Herbert machinery group was a specialised engineering company acquired in 1947, Sigma Instrument Co. Ltd. (based on a 2.5-acre site in Letchworth), who manufactured a wide range of high-precision test and inspection equipment including, from a 1947 Olympia Exhibition catalogue: Mechanical, Electrical, Optical and Pneumatic Comparators; Automatic Inspection Equipment. Gas Testing Equipment including Recording and Indicating Calorimeters, Specific Gravity and Pressure Recorders, etc. Hence, with their considerable expertise, producing a small jig boroer would have been a relatively straightforward undertaking for this company. Used by Elliott from the 1930s until the 1960s, the Excel brand was a marketing name used to promote specialised tool and jig millers, small jig borers, precision filing & sawing machines, tool & cutter and surface grinders and other items - the Excel name indicating that the various products would be of better-than-average quality and usually directed towards a specialised segment of the market.
By now well established, the design of the jig borer passed to B.C.A. (Bloctube Controls) of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a firm whose main activity centred around mechanical control systems for aircraft flight-surfaces and other items requiring small, precisely-manufactured and ultra-reliable parts. Bloctube are still going strong as Bloctube Marine Services Ltd. who concentrate on ships' equipment and other specialised items including an interesting and very clever remote-controlled twin-beam searchlight - a unit able to turn non-stop with simultaneous 360-degree movements in both vertical and horizontal planes. By the mid 1950s R. E. Godfrey Ltd. of King's Mill, Kings Mill Lane, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey had taken over rights and built the machine in collaboration with the Kine Engineering Works, also in Redhill (this company were also involved with Multico in the manufacture of woodworking machinery and other sub-contract work). The BCA was always an expensive proposition and, ain 1958 was priced at £256 (when a Myford Super 7 was around £90), the advertising literature using the description: The Junior B.C.A Jig Boring Machine - possibly to distinguish it from the soon-to-be-announced Mk. 3, a much heavier and more robust model introduced under Godfrey's ownership. By 1962 the price had risen by over 40% to £360 - the Super 7 now being only some 13% more at £102. Rights to the BCA then passed to the present makers, Tenga Engineering, of Redhill, Surrey
During 1960s and 1970s R.E. Godfrey were also responsible for the B.C.A. Optical Jig Borer, a much larger (but still relatively small), floor-standing machine that must have been made, judging by the few encountered today, in very limited numbers).