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British Industrial History

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Sigmund Pumps

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Machine label.

of Team Valley, Gateshead; and Reading

1937 Company founded by Miroslav Sigmund, in Czechoslovakia; he successfully tendered for a British government contract to make firefighting pumps.

1938 The Sigmunds moved to Britain soon after Hitler's annexation of Austria. Sigmund Pumps (Great Britain) Ltd was founded at the Team Valley trading estate in Gateshead

By 1939 3000 pumps had been manufactured at the new factory.

Meanwhile his brother, Jan Sigmund, still in Czechoslvakia, sent machine tools, parts, and technical drawings to Gateshead, continuing after the German invasion in March 1939, but he was arrested in October 1940, and executed in 1942.

WWII Manufactured firefighting pumps and stirrup pumps. Also made parts for the Bren gun (a version of a Czech light machine-gun made in Brno, which had been adapted by the Royal Small Arms Factory (Enfield)). Sigmund Pumps also made parts for Polsten anti-aircraft guns, engine parts for tank landing craft, gun undercarriages, and ammunition, and in co-operation with the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down developed air filtration equipment for installation in underground shelters.

1947 Private company.

1953 Produced pumps (4 each) for the "Green Goddess" fire trucks planned for action in case of atomic war.

1956 Defeated the claim of the Czech government that Sigmund Pumps (GB) was part of the Czech Sigma pumps business.

Developed Thermopak pumps for small bore central heating, manufactured by Sigmund Pumps. These were marketed by International Boilers and Radiators Ltd which also made slimline pressed steel radiators.

1958 Unable to raise capital for business development, Sigmund sold the company to Bookers Engineering and Industrial Holdings Ltd. including subsidiaries Small Bore Heating Systems and Crewdson Hardy[1]. Sigmund remained as managing director, and joined the Bookers board.

1961 Engineers, pumping and irrigation specialists and manufacturers of pumps, acid resisting, automatic, barrel, bilge, boiler-feed, draining, centrifugal circulating, process pumps, and ThermoPak. 850 employees. [2]

1961 Bookers took over Pulsometer Engineering Co. Ltd in Reading. Sigmund became managing director of the new company, Sigmund Pulsometer Pumps Ltd (SPP for short), which became one of the largest pump companies in Europe

1963 Sigmund disliked being part of a big corporation, and resigned from both Sigmund Pulsometer Pumps and Bookers.

1970 Booker Group sold the Gateshead part of SPP to Ingersoll-Rand of USA[3]

1983 SPP was bought out of the Booker Group

1985 SPP was floated as a public company, with emphasis on marketing of pumps rather than manufacturing; one of its suppliers was Kirloskar of India which owned 5 percent of the company[4]

1986 SPP acquired Henry Sykes, pump maker, which had a factory in Gloucestershire[5]. This acquisition expanded SPP's product range with the addition of vacuum assisted self-priming pumps. SPP moved its manufacturing site from Reading to a more modern facility in Coleford.

1986 Acquired American Fire Pumps of Tennessee[6]

1988 Godiva Fire Pumps Co was part of SPP when it was acquired by Braithwaites, engineering and cleaning equipmnt group[7]

Now known as SPP Pumps, it is owned by Kirloskar Brothers Ltd[8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Oct 20, 1958
  2. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  3. The Times, May 11, 1970
  4. The Times, Nov 08, 1985
  5. The Times, September 05, 1986
  6. The Times, September 18, 1986
  7. The Times, April 29, 1988
  8. [1] SPP Pumps History webpage
  • Biography of Miroslav Sigmund, ODNB