In 1884 Rubery & Co was founded by John Rubery and his two brothers, As an Iron Works, they manufactured gates and fences.
Later in 1893 The other two brothers were replaced by a trained engineer Alfred Owen.
And 10 years later in 1903 the company name of Rubery Owen was established.
1910 – They exhibited at Aero Exhibition at Olympia, displaying tubes, wires, etc for aircraft construction.
1912 – After Rubery had left, the company had expanded into Aviation Engineering, Motor Frames and Roofing, in addition to fencing manufacture.
1911 – Water filtering and softening plant.
1919 – March. They were advertisng car frames with 22 years experience claimed.
“Made a very large steam excavator (face shovel), designed by A R Grossmith, for J B Forder & Son’s Pillange Brickworks”.
1919 – Sold the engineering department to Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering Corporation.
1920 – Private company. New company registered: Rubery, Owen and Co, constructional engineers. The company expanded still further during the 1920s and 1930s, to include the production of metal airframes, metal storage equipment, steel pulleys and armour plate.
They also acquired a Warrington hydraulic company which became Rubery Owen Conveyancer.
1929 – Alfred Ernest Owen, proprietor of Rubery, Owen and Co, died.
1937 – Pressed Steel, Split Pulleys; Steel Storage Equipment; Structural Steelwork. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport)
1937 – Aircraft parts and accessories… and formed Rubery Owen Messier.
1938 – Alfred George Beech Owen was chairman
1938 – Opened Rubery Owen (Cooker Dept.) in Coventry
1939 – WWII During World War II they concentrated on supporting the war effort, producing parts for war planes. Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito. .. Post-WWII. After the war, they expanded their engineering products to include ploughs for Ferguson Tractors, metal pressings, fasteners, motor vehicle components and structural steel components for the building industry.
1946 – Messier Aircraft Equipment Ltd, a member of the Rubery-Owen group of companies, designed and manufactured hydraulic and electro-hydraulic equipment for aircraft and industrial applications, including the Conveyancer forklift truck. This has been claimed to be the UK’s first forklift truck. Later became Electro-Hydraulics.
1952 – Acquired British Racing Motors Ltd (B. R. M. Ltd) after a meeting of the British Racing Motor Research Trust; this would enable the BRM cars to be raced for the rest of the season
1953 – New engines under test by BRM but no intention to produce formula racing cars
1953 – Acquired Charles Clark and Son Ltd of Wolverhampton
1954 – A new organisation was set up by Alfred Owen to take over the activities of BRM and develop a Formula One BRM car
1956 – The company was restructured into seven divisions:
• Bolt and Nut
• Metal Assemblies
• Metal Equipment
1961 – Manufacturing and constructional engineers. 5,000 employees.
1963 – Amongst its various products, the group offered Drott mobile tractor cranes and self-propelled straddle lifting systems.
There were more than 50 companies in the Group including:
• Brooke Tool Manufacturing Co Ltd
• Charles Clark and Son Ltd of Wolverhampton and its subsidiaries
• Electro-Hydraulics Ltd
• Joseph Gillott and Sons (Sheffield) including Gillott’s Forge and Rolling Mills Ltd
• C. and L. Hill Ltd of Willenhall and its subsidiaries
• Leabank Office Equipment of London
• Motor Panels (Coventry) Ltd
• Salopian Engineers
• Shorrock Superchargers
• A. G. Sutherland Ltd
• A. Warden and Co
1963 – Motor Show exhibitor. Car accessories and motor car assemblies.
1964 – 6,500 employees
1964 – Displayed the Rowen dishwasher at the Hanover Fair
1964 – Expanded by taking over the Old Park Works at Wednesbury previously used by Metropolitan-Camella Carriage and Wagon Co
1965 – BRM was prepared to supply 3 litre engines to any British team to accommodate the change in Formula 1 Grand
1965 – BRM entered a collaboration with Lotus to produce 1600cc racing engine
1966 -Would construct hydraulic excavators for Warner and Swasey of Cleveland, USA, in the Wednesbury factory
1967 – Cash problem faced the company due to the death of Ernest Owen who owned one-third of the shares ….. The Times, Dec 18, 1967
1969 – The structural fabrications department at Darlaston was closed as part of a group-wide reorganization which included central financial control Sir Alfred Owen had a stroke; his 2 sons took over the running of the business
David handled Group business; John ran Darlaston which accounted for 40 percent of the company.
1970 – Rubery Owen-Rockwell would build a new factory at Wrexham to double output of axles
1971 – 14,200 employees. After substantial reorganisation, the group’s profits had improved but were still low
1972 – Sale of subsidiary companies as part of a plan to concentrate on manufacturing and engineering activities those sold included Charles Clark and Son, the British Leyland distributor, and the merchanting business Rogers and Jackson
By 1973 – 20 companies had been sold to raise cash whilst concentrating on motor components and materials handling. Darlaston was split into 2 companies: Rubery Owen Motor and Rubery Owen Contracts Acquired the 40 percent of Conveyancer not owned by Rubery Owen
1974 – January: Rubery Owen established a new company Rubery Owen Conveyancer. The name Electro-Hydraulics seems to have been discontinued about this time.
1974 – The Commission on Industrial Relations made proposals for improving industrial relations in the company
1975 – Acquired Shelvoke forklift truck business
1976 – The Rosafe wheel for preventing skidding after a burst tyre was specially commended by the Don Trophy scheme
1976 – Darlaston factory threatened with closure unless industrial relations improved
1977 – Coventry Climax acquired the Warrington and Kirkby parts of the forklift truck business of Rubery Owen Conveyancer
1981 – The main Darlaston works closed.
1981 – The BRM business was auctioned
1982 – Kontak Manufacturing Co acquired Rubery Owen Hydraulics
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