Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth and Co of Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Openshaw, Manchester, was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Armstrong, Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.
- Commercial Vehicles
- Machine Tools
- Steam Vehicles
1896 Armstrong, Whitworth was registered as a company on 31 January.
1902 The company expanded into the manufacture of cars and trucks, initially vehicles designed and developed by other companies.
Andrew Noble was dynastic in his approach to his succession, promoting two of his four sons as directors of the company.
1906 Began making their own design of car
1911 Photographs of their Elswick works in The Engineer 1911/.
1913 Created an "aerial department"
1914 Manufacturers of Aeroplanes, Airships, Waterplanes, Engines for Airships and Accessories, Guns, Mountings, Ammunition and all war materials, Forgings, Castings, Nickel, Chrome, Vanadium and Tungston Steel, Stampings etc., Hydraulic and Electric Cranes, Hoists, Swingbridges, Dock Gates, Sluices, Capstans, Warships, Submarine Boats, Passenger and Cargo Ships, Ice Breakers, Train Ferry Steamers, Oil-ships, Docks etc., Shell, Fuses, Primers and Explosives, A.W. Touring Cars etc., Cars de Luxe, Motor Vehicles for transport, Motor Tractors etc., Armour plates of all sizes, Steel Forgings for Propellor Shafting, Turbine Rotors, High Speed Steel, Drills of all descriptions, Lathes, Machine Tools. Employees 30,000.
1919 Armstrong Whitworth purchased a controlling interest in Crompton and Co in order to secure the supply of electric motors for its machine tools produced in Manchester; this was expected to provide the basis for development of large electrification schemes. Also purchased a controlling interest in A. and J. Main and Co of Glasgow, constuction engineers and formed Armstrongs and Main; the engine works were transferred from Elswick to Glasgow to enable the new company to offer the complete supply for construction projects, such as pumps and docks.
1920 The Aerial department became the Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft subsidiary.
1920 Issued pamphlet promoting their capacity to produce forgings and castings.
1922 In July the Company had set up a separate subsidiary company called Newfoundland Power and Paper Utilities Corporation Ltd. to finance a scheme to build 400 tons/day newsprint mill in Newfoundland.
1923 The hydro-electric department was moved from 8, Great George-street, to 51, Victoria-street, where additional accommodation was taken adjacent to that occupied by the same firm's civil engineering department. 
Armstrong Whitworth and Co invested £5M in the Newfoundland Power and Paper Co's mill at Cornerbrook, NFLD, Canada, which went substantially over budget; the company covered the loss with an overdraft. The paper mill never produced anywhere near its maximum output and was eventually sold with a loss of £2.8M. This in turn limited the cash flow of the Company and the whole group collapsed.
1926 Gordon H. Fraser died on 3rd February following an operation in London.
1926 Armstrong Whitworth and Co Ltd losses amounted to £625,767 for the first 11 months of 1926. Full details of the state of the company were presented to the general meeting.
1926 'Important additions to the board of directors have been appointed: Mr John Davenport Siddeley the managing director of Armstrong Siddeley Motors; Mr J. Hawson of Edinburgh, the late vice-president and director of the Algoma Steel Corporation; and Mr J. P. Davison the general sales manager of Armstrong Whitworth. At the same time certain changes in the management of the company have been made. Mr J. Frater Taylor has been appointed vice-chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee; while Mr John Davenport Siddeley becomes the senior managing director and chairman of the committee of management, giving his special attention to the manufacturing side of the company's business. With the changes indicated, the board for the most part will now consist of active directors. The shipbuilding branch of the business is in future to be self-contained, for this purpose a management corporation has been formed, of which Sir Eustace Henry William Tennyson d'Eyncourt, late director of Naval Construction, is chairman, and Mr James Stewart the managing director.'
In 1927, the defence and engineering businesses were merged with those of Vickers to create a subsidiary company known as Vickers-Armstrongs. Vickers would be the major partner in the new company with two thirds of the shares (worth £8.5M); Armstrong Whitworth received one third of the shares (worth £4.5M). The company sold the Development Co, including the aircraft and motors businesses, to J. D. Siddeley who renamed it Armstrong Siddeley Development Co. Armstrong Whitworth retained a substantial shareholding.
1927 Sir William Armstrong, Whitworth and Co retained its interests in Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co and Partington Steel and Iron Co after the merger of other parts of the company with Vickers.
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.
1927 Also see Aberconway for information on the company and its history.
1929 Heavy losses, partly offset by substantial profit on sale of shares in Armstrong Siddeley Development Co; capital reduction. Two private companies were formed: Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth and Company (Engineers) Ltd, and Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Company (Shipbuilders) Ltd; the former took over the general engineering businesses at Scotswood and Gateshead; the latter took over the the Devon, Walker and Tyne Iron shipyards. The holding company was renamed Armstrong Whitworth Securities Company Ltd.
1930 Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. (Ironfounders) Ltd. was incorporated as a private company.
1930 'The historical armament works of Armatrong-Whitworths at Openshaw, which now form part of the English Steel Corporation's property, are in process of being adapted to commercial products and a considerable number of men are already finding employment in the various departments. A few days ago I had an opportunity of visiting these works, and was agreeably surprised at the amount and variety of the work in hand. One of the most important orders was a 2300 horse-power electrically operated geared winding plant for a mine in Rhodesia, which was approaching completion. This, I was informed, is to be followed by two larger plants of 3500 horse-power. On the firm's books is also an order for a 25,000 horse-power water turbine for New Zealand - the fourth for the same owners. Another department of the works is fairly well employed on pumps, one of which is a 500 horse-power steam hydraulic set for a steel works. In this connection it may be mentioned that the English Steel Corporation owns the manufacturing rights for the Boving pump, and also makes the Gill pump. The small tools department, which was once a very important section of the Openshaw Works, has recently been reorganised and additions have been made to the plant to bring it up to date. Other orders which were to be seen in progress were large six-throw crank shafts for marine oil engines, swaging machinery, the heavier portions of glass-making machinery, and pressings for motor car brake drums.'
1933 Constructors of all-steel aircraft. Head Office and Works: Whitley, near Coventry. Works: London Office: 10 Old Bond Street, London W.1.
1933 Reserve Flying School, operated a school of flying for officers of the R.A.F. Reserve.
1934 The activities of the Armstrong Whitworth group were General Engineers, Shipbuilders and Iron-founders, with particular interests in the development of transport by rail, sea and road. The parent or holding company was Armstrong Whitworth Securities Company Ltd. The principal operating companies were:
- Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. (Engineers) Ltd.
- Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. (Shipbuilders) Ltd.
- Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. (Ironfounders) Ltd.
1937 Sir John Jarvis acquired the whole of the share capital of the Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. (Ironfounders) Ltd, and that of Jarrow Metal Industries, in order to relieve unemployment on Tyneside.
1943 Since the sale of the Scotswood plant in 1937, the board had been planning on an orderly wind-down of Armstrong Whitworth Securities Company Ltd; they had realised the holding in Partington Steel and Iron Co; the final assets to be sold were Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co (Engineers) Ltd and the rights to the Kadenacy process, so the holding company was then liquidated .
- Another successor company was Armstrong Whitworth and Co (Pneumatic Tools) Ltd
Sources of Information
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- The Engineer 1915/04/09, p 368.
- The Times, 26 April 1919
- The Times, 5 July 1919
- The Times, 28 January 1920
- The Engineer 1923/03/09
- The Engineer 1923/06/15
- The Engineer 1925/01/30
- The Times, 9 June 1926
- The Engineer 1926/07/16
- The Times, 29 November 1927
- The Times, 29 November 1927
- The Times, 8 February 1929
- The Times, 10 July 1929
- The Times June 4, 1930
-  The Engineer, 7 Feb 1930, p.171
- 1933 Who's Who in British Aviation
- 1933 Who's Who in British Aviation
- The Times, Wednesday, Jul 17, 1935
- The Times, 31 July 1937
- The Times, 26 June 1942
- The Times, 17 September 1943
- Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri. Pub 2005
-  Wikipedia
- British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
- Buses and Trolleybuses before 1919 by David Kaye. Published 1972
- The Engineer of 9th February 1900. p163
- The Engineer of 27th Feb 1920 p208
- 1924 Naval Annual Advert page iv
- The Engineer of 4th August 1911 p128 Supplement
- The Engineer of 27th October 1911 p432
- The Engineer of 10th November 1911 p498
- Mechanical World Year Book 1919. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p3
- AA.  Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry