Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,267 pages of information and 234,239 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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Portable radial arm drilling machine. Exhibit at the Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life.
Detail. Exhibit at the Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life.
1948. Boring machine.

Asquith Machine Tool Corporation, of Halifax

1954 The name of the company William Asquith was changed to Asquith Machine Tool Corporation; the operating company would take on the previous name[1]

1955 Acquired R. Woodvine and Son (Shrewsbury) which had potential for expansion with greater availability of labour in that area than in Halifax

1956 Acquired George Swift and Sons of Halifax and Swift-Summerskill of Sowerby Bridge, and Rotadop in order to ensure access to its specialised services.

1958 Recession in the machine tool industry; demand was more for specialised machines rather than the standard models which had created production difficulties[2]

1959 Acquired Kitchen and Wade of Halifax

1959 Warner Swasey Asquith was formed as a joint venture between Asquith Machine Tool Corporation and the Warner and Swasey Co of Cleveland, Ohio, to make certain sizes of Warner and Swasey chucking automatic machine tools. Sales would be handled by Drummond-Asquith (Sales) who would also handle the whole Warner and Swasey range in the UK[3]

1960 Government started an enquiry into the machine tool industry; Asquiths announced a sharp drop in profits[4]

1962 The Corporation consisted of[5]:

1963 Downturn in orders for machine tools affected the industry[6]

1966 Rebound in profits; about 20 percent of orders were now for the automated "link-type" machines which did not have such a high profit margin as the standardised products[7]

1966 Talks with B. Elliott of London about a merger[8] but the company was soon after acquired by Staveley Industries[9] - became part of the Staveley Machine Tools Division

1968 Staveley concentrated all radial drill manufacture at Asquith in Halifax, moving the work from Archdales [10]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Aug 20, 1954
  2. The Times, Mar 24, 1959
  3. The Times, Apr 21, 1959
  4. The Times, Jan 27, 1960
  5. The Times, Mar 27, 1962
  6. The Times, Mar 01, 1963
  7. The Times, Jan 21, 1966
  8. The Times, Feb 03, 1966
  9. The Times, Mar 29, 1966
  10. The Times, Feb 20, 1968