Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Solar Industries

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A holding company with interests in car and aircraft components, roadways equipment, aluminium fabrication and conveyor equipment, of Glasgow

1957 Name of Aluminium Castings Co was changed to Solar Industries[1]. Subsidiaries included:

1960 Acquired another metal finishing company: Irco Plating Co of Coventry. Closed the Greenock Foundry of Aluminium Castings Company[2]. Acquired Airelite Venetian Blind Co to distribute the Luxaflex blinds in London[3]

1961 Besides the other parts of the group, the Burnley group of companies included Burnley Aircraft Products, Universal Boilers and Engineering Co and Solar Weld Languepin[4]

1962 After several years of losses, the Canadian subsidiary finally moved into profit

1964 Formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary company - Solar Machinery Ltd. - to act as a sales company on behalf of Burnley Engineering Products Ltd (another Solar subsidiary).[5]

1964 Sold a 50 percent interest in the Canadian subsidiary to Bartaco Industries of Ontario; acquired 50 percent interest in Bartaco's British subsidiary Lincoln Furnaces of East Grinstead, half of which was sold to L. Sterne and Co, with which Solar had long had association; acquired a former subsidiary of Sterne's which was renamed Solair Thermal Equipment[6]

1965 Acquired Cable Belt of Inverness[7] which would be integrated with Solar Thomson Engineering which had spent 2 years developing a new concept of conveyor. J. B. Howie was part of the Agricultural, Municipal and Tanker Division. Lincoln Warm Air Equipment Ltd was one of the associated companies[8]

1966 Formed a new joint venture, Associated Heat Services, with the National Coal Board and Compagnie Generale de Chauffe of Lille, the largest heat service operator in France[9]

1967 Acquired Silver and Chrome Products Ltd of Leeds and Pudsey, maker of hydraulic equipment and specialists in hard chrome plating[10]

1968 Sold the remaining interest in the Canadian associate[11]. Made a trading agreement with Kangol[12]

1969 Acquired A. Boardman, specialist plastic producer of Lanarkshire, and "Q" Coach Painting and Engineering Co of Clayton-le-Moors[13]

1969 Acquired by Cammell, Laird and Co. The company had large orders for steel work for Rolls-Royce jet engines[14] Formed a joint venture with Smith Holdings (Whitworth) called Smith-Solartex to take over the activities of Solartex of Burnley making evaporative and other driers and Tenterflex equipment[15]

1970 After a financial crisis, the parent company was renamed as Laird Group; it also held 50 percent of the shipbuilding business (the government took on the other 50 percent), as well as the other activities of the former company.

1971 British Food Freezers, jointly owned by Solar Industries and Prestcold, was closed because of pressure from imports[16]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Nov 21, 1957
  2. The Times, Oct 05, 1960
  3. The Times, Nov 01, 1960
  4. The Times, Nov 06, 1961
  5. The Engineer 1964/09/11
  6. he Times Nov 30, 1964
  7. The Times Nov 12, 1965
  8. The Times, Dec 06, 1965
  9. The Times, Jul 13, 1966
  10. The Times, Sep 11, 1967
  11. The Times, Aug 26, 1968
  12. The Times Nov 27, 1968
  13. The Times, Apr 09, 1969
  14. The Times, Apr 23, 1969
  15. The Times Aug 20, 1969
  16. The Times Feb 11, 1971