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British Industrial History

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Associated Ethyl Co

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1954. Ellesmere Port Works.

Associated Ethyl Co, makers of fuel additives, of 20 Berkeley Square, London.

Also known as Associated Octel.

A joint venture owned by BP, Shell and other oil majors

  • c.1928 Cdr F. R. Banks joined to develop fuels for the British entrants for the Schneider Trophy[1].
  • 1930 The Ethyl Gasoline Co of the USA set up Ethyl Export in the UK to sell leaded gasoline overseas[2].
  • 1938 Name changed to Associated Ethyl Co
  • 1940 Factory at Northwich, to produce anti-knock compounds for aircraft fuel, completed just in time for Battle of Britain, alleviating the need to import from USA[3].
  • Postwar: The anti-knock additives activity for aviation fuel was transferred from ICI to the Associated Ethyl Company, a joint venture of a number of oil companies[4].
  • 1948 Dr R. O. Gibson, co-inventor of polyethylene, after working on anti-knock compounds for aircraft fuel, left ICI and joined Associated Ethyl to set up the research department[5].
  • 1954 First production of leaded gasoline[6].
  • 1957 Advert: maker of anti-knock compounds containing tetra-ethyl lead, as well as other chemicals including bromine and compounds, sulphuric acid, ethyl chloride, etc. Manufacturing at Ellesmere Port and Northwich (Cheshire), Amlwch (Anglesey), Hayle (Cornwall). Research and testing facilities at Ellesmere Port and Bletchley[7].
  • 1961 Name changed to Associated Octel
  • 1972 Associated Octel was developing a lead trap for cars, under licence from USA[8].
  • 1974 Government tests showed that lead traps reduce lead emissions by about 70%, based on prototypes developed by Associated Octel in conjunction with TI and Texaco[9].
  • 1982 2800 employees in UK. Advert publicised the lead filter which could reduce emissions of lead by 90%[10].
  • Successor company: Innospec[11].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 14 May 1985
  2. The shadows of consumption: consequences for the global environment, by Peter Dauvergne
  3. The Times, 29 September 1982
  4. Biography of Dr R. O. Gibson, ODNB [1]
  5. The Times, 28 July 1983
  6. The shadows of consumption: consequences for the global environment, by Peter Dauvergne
  7. The Times, 4 July 1957
  8. The Times, 27 January 1972
  9. The Times, 21 October 1974
  10. The Times, 29 September 1982
  11. Innospec [2]
  • Octel at Amlwch [3]