The Emergence of the Engineering Company

As early as the First World War the firm appear to have made a conscious decision to try and maximise its engineering potential by entering the machine tool business[1].

At the time this policy was probably thought to have twin benefits; firstly, taking up any slack in the foundry and engineering departments; secondly, providing an additional income stream, which could provide a lifeline in the event of demand for their horticultural products weakening. It is probably open to debate as to whether this ultimately lead to the downfall of the firm or indeed kept it afloat beyond its natural life expectancy.

In entering the engineering marketplace, it initially pitted itself again a host of local firms. However, as the relative importance of the engineering element of the business took effect, it opened-up more regional and to a lesser extent national competition.

The firm never appears to have specialised in any one engineering discipline. During the 1920s and 1930s it had a twin pronged strategy:

Firstly, developing a range of its own products mainly targeted at local authorities and builders. This cashing in on the rapid expansion in house building and the associated infrastructure that was required.

Secondly, producing bespoke or custom-made parts or goods for local firms. In the 1940s. and 50s. the former disappeared almost completely, whilst the latter took on a formal long-term approach.

 


Reference:

  1. Leicester Graphic, March 1959.