Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,446 pages of information and 230,060 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Fischer Bearings Co of Wolverhampton.
Friedrich Fischer (March 19, 1849 – October 2, 1899) of Schweinfurt, Germany patented a machine in 1890 for the mass production of precision steel balls.
Previously, steel balls had been made by hand in England. They were expensive and not very precise, leading Fischer to experiment with manufacturing steel balls on machines he designed himself, and in 1883 he succeeded in making balls accurate to 20 µm. In 1887 Engelbert Fries and Wilhelm Höpflinger joined Fischer's company. Höpflinger's milling machine, developed in 1888, proved even more cost-effective and efficient. However, Fries and Höpflinger parted company with Fischer in 1890, and they established their own company. Fischer's company, Fischer's Automatische Gusstahlkugelfabrik, had the trademark F'AG, later simplified to FAG.
The Bendit Brothers of London were early importers and distrubutors of Discher's bearings.
The Fischer Bearings Co. Ltd. (originally a subsidiary of Kugelfischer AG), came to Wolverhampton in 1936, occupying part of the old Sunbeam factory in Upper Villiers and Sunbeam Street, Blakenhall, with a shadow factory in Hednesford. In May, 1940, the business was taken into custody as an enemy property, and quickly sold to the British Timken Group (a subsidiary of the US based Timken Roller Bearing Co). In 1959, they were acquired by Fafnir Bearings Co of the USA, and changed their name to Fafnir Bearings Ltd. In 1963, due to increased production, the company expanded into Northern Ireland by building a new factory there. In 1967, the company merged with Textron Inc of Providence, Rhode Island. Due to fierce competition from abroad the branch in Hednesford was forced to close. The Wolverhampton plant still houses what is now Timken UK Ltd.