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British Industrial History

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Armstrong Equipment

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Makers of shock absorbers and pressed steelwork, of York

of North Humberside

1961 Armstrong Shock Absorbers changed its name to Armstrong Equipment[1] with subsidiary Armstrong's Patents Co

1969 Toledo Woodhead Springs accepted offer from Jonas Woodhead and Sons in preference to lower offer from Armstrong Equipment[2]

1970 New factory at Hull[3]

1972 Acquired Butterworth Autocom from Bracegirdle, and Walter Clare, makers of exhaust systems[4]. Acquired Apex Services (Nottingham) and Marler and Partridge[5] and Grant, Hector and Co of Northern Ireland[6]

1973 Armstrong Autoparts, a wholly-owned subsidiary, acquired Cleveland Brake Linings Ltd[7] and United Battery Services[8]

1975 Supply of parts to OEM represented only 25 percent of profits; had established a specialised fasteners business[9]. Acquired Huntfield Engineering[10]

1976 by now was of "North Humberside". 10th successive year of profits growth. In the past 3 years had brought together 160 automotive wholesalers in one group[11]

1976 Acquired Supra Masterparts[12]. Autoparts had increased its number of outlets by 100 and accounted for a quarter of sales[13]. continued development of vertical integration. Acquired Crane's Screw (Holdings) and 3 further purchases[14]

1977 New factory at Hull which would make exhaust systems and some products transferred from Beverley

1977 Acquired Crane's Screw (Holdings)[15]

1977 Acquired Ormond Engineering[16]

1978 Acquired the friction materials business of Gandy, part of BTR[17], Hillcrest Engineering[18], and Cornercroft of Coventry, light engineers in automotive and aeronautical engineering[19]

1979 Acquired Willenhall Radiator from Howard Tenens[20] and the Darlaston bolt manufacturing business of GKN Bolts and Nuts[21]

1979 December: Had made 5 acquisitions in past 18 months[22]

1980 The government rejected Armstrong's offer to take over the Meriden Cooperative on cost grounds[23]. Acquired Blackheath Stamping[24]

1981 Had made 3 acquisitions which would put the company in a position to make motorcycles; aerospace components was a developing line of business but profits for the whole group had collapsed[25]. Bought 75 percent of the equity of Britannia Computers of Dudley[26]. Response to downturn by making cut backs in number of factories, employees and stocks[27]

1982 "Armstrong, which makes exhaust systems for Austin cars, was sued by BL for infringement of copyright in the designs, and lost on every point".[28]

1984 Agreement with Benjamin Priest and Sons that their bolt making activity would be closed[29].

1984 Duport's subsidiary Anslow bought the Blackheath stamping division of Armstrong Equipment[30]

1986 The company won an appeal to the Law Lords against BL to be allowed to make replacement exhausts without payment of royalty to BL[31]

By 1986 Derritron was a wholly-owned subsidiary; one subsidiary made vibration test systems for aerospace, defence and related industries[32]

1987 Disposed of unprofitable businesses[33]

1988 Concentrated on motor suspension and industrial fasteners businesses; had sold 14 of 29 business in the past year; located in Coventry[34]

1989 Made a loss; Wardle Storeys made a take-over bid which was not successful partly because Caparo held 10 percent[35].

1989 Sold the suspension division to Tenneco because of the high development costs necessary to compete in the world market[36]

1989 Caparo Industries had built up 29.5 percent of the shares which it offered for sale but there were no takers; then made a bid for the company which was accepted[37]


See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Oct 25, 1961
  2. The Times, 6 November 1969
  3. The Times, Mar 07, 1970
  4. The Times, Jul 07, 1972
  5. The Times, Nov 03, 1972
  6. The Times, Dec 05, 1972
  7. The Times, Jul 03, 1973
  8. The Times, Sep 15, 1973
  9. The Times, Mar 07, 1975
  10. The Times, Oct 17, 1975
  11. The Times, Oct 21, 1976
  12. The Times, Jun 02, 1976
  13. The Times, Sep 10, 1976
  14. The Times, Dec 02, 1976
  15. The Times, Oct 24, 1977
  16. The Times, Mar 22, 1978
  17. The Times, Apr 18, 1978
  18. The Times, Jun 30, 1978
  19. The Times, Jul 07, 1978
  20. The Times, Mar 04, 1980
  21. The Times, Nov 19, 1979
  22. The Times, Dec 03, 1979
  23. The Times, Aug 01, 1980
  24. The Times, May 15, 1980
  25. The Times, Mar 26, 1981
  26. The Times, Aug 11, 1981
  27. The Times, Sep 24, 1981
  28. The Engineer 1982/04/08 and 1982/04/15
  29. The Times, May 02, 1984
  30. The Times, Sep 25, 1984
  31. The Times, February 28, 1986
  32. The Times, June 26, 1986
  33. The Times, September 25, 1987
  34. The Times, August 10, 1988
  35. The Times, January 07, 1989
  36. The Times, May 11, 1989
  37. The Times, November 09, 1989