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British Industrial History

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John Thompson (Dudley)

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1931.Electrically Welded Tanks for a Distillery.

One of the main parts of John Thompson at Windmill Works, Pear Tree Lane, Wolverhampton, steel chimney makers and constructional engineers.

1840 Business established

By 1914 the John Thompson firm had been divided into four departments:

1918 Dudley was one of 4 limited companies set up by John Thompson to reflect the 4 major departments of the company. This seems to have been the start of the company’s practice of running different departments as different limited companies, each of them subsidiaries of the main company John Thompson (Wolverhampton) (at this time). John Thompson Dudley were suppliers of steel chimneys and tanks and came to specialize in Stainless steel vessels.

1920 The annual meetings of the 4 companies was held. In the report it was stated that these 4 companies had "recently been formed" to take over the business of Messrs John Thompson[1].

1922 Specialities.— self-supporting steel chimneys, flue receivers, stills, coolers, tanks and containers for all purposes, mooring buoys, jacketed vessels, cement kiln sections and structural steel work of various kinds.

1929 John Thompson Dudley received an order to supply a Gyro Vapour Phase Process Plant to the new site at Killingholme belonging to the new company Petroleum Refineries Ltd which had gained a licence from the US for this process. This would produce "coal oil", thereby allowing domestic production of petrol. A director of Thompsons had been to the USA and Canada to inspect Gyro plant there[2].

WWII This company made process plant and storage equipment for the manufacture of explosives, buoys and lock gates for harbour boom defences. Also produced items such as Bailey Bridges, trestling, and floating bridges for the famous Mulberry Harbour.

Late 1940s production was geared to the construction industry by making such products as concrete mixers. The factory expanded to the other side of the railway in 1948[3].

1950s An advert referred to John Thompson's 16 subsidiary companies including: John Thompson (Dudley) Ltd responsible for fabrication of all classes of electrically-welded platework for industrial and chemical trades. This company included a chemical engineering department which specialised in producing pickling plant, galvanizing plant and acid recovery plant.

1953 Subsidiary of John Thompson Ltd complementary to John Thompson (Wolverhampton) in that it dealt with welded and rivetted work for lower pressures and lighter construction. Boiler construction steelwork for John Thompson Water Tube Boilers Ltd as well as chimneys and vessels of all types for the chemical industry, as well as pickling and galvanizing vessels[4].

During the late 1950s and 1960s the company again diversified into the production of washing machines parts for Hotpoint and Servis. They were particularly geared to the fabrication of electrically-welded platework for industrial and chemical trades. This company included a chemical engineering department which specialised in producing pickling plant, galvanizing plant and acid recovery plant. It was also around this time, that John Thompson seems to have taken over Thompson Brothers of Bilston (not related).

1963, the company merged with Messrs H. E. Charlton Engineers Ltd, Eccles, Manchester to become John Thompson Charlton Ltd, offering a comprehensive service for the design, supply, manufacture and commissioning of liquefied petroleum gas installations[5].

1980 The Dudley company closed around 1979/80.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 31 May 1920
  2. The Times, 25 February 1929
  3. Black Country history: http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB145_p_804/
  4. The Times, 2 July 1953
  5. Black Country history: http://blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/GB145_p_804/