of Coventry, Warwickshire. Telephone: 8781. Telegraphic Address: "Lathe, Coventry". (1937)
Alfred Herbert Limited were machine tool makers in Coventry founded by Alfred Herbert.
1887 Herbert became the manager of Coles and Matthews.
1888 The firm was offered to Herbert for the price of £2,375. He immediately entered into partnership with a former school friend and fellow apprentice, William Sammons Hubbard, under the name of Herbert and Hubbard, making boilers and general engineering equipment. The fathers of each of the two men provided their sons with a capital of £2,000 each. Initially, production concentrated on ploughing tackle and steam rollers but moved very swiftly to making machine tools and tubing directed at the cycle trade.
1889 Pill picking and sorting machine. 
By 1894 Herbert had bought out Hubbard, who left the business, which was turned into a limited liability company Alfred Herbert. Alfred became the managing Director while his older brother William Henry Herbert was Chairman of the company.
1894 Became private company.
1894 Catalogue of Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machines, Universal Cutter Grinder, Sensitive Drills, Capstan Lathes for general and repetition work, Universal Grinding Machine, Special Machinery for Cycle manufacturers.
1900 Taper Screwing attachment. Article and description in 'The Engineer'. 
1912 Directory. As machine tool makers of Butts and Ironfounders of Canal Road, Edgewick. 
1914 Listed as machine tool makers. Specialities: hexagon turret lathes, capstan lathes, automatic turning machines, automatic screw machines, milling machines, ball bearing drilling machines etc. Employees 2,000. 
1919 Labour saving machine tools. 
1920 February. Issued catalogue entitled 'The Turret Lathe and its Work'. 
1920 June. Capstan Lathe with Rotating Multiple Stops. Photo and article. 
1920 June. Small surface grinding machine. 
1920 September. Exhibited at the Machine Tool and Engineering Exhibition at Olympia with ten stands of machinery, tools and other equipment. 
1922 The company entered into an exclusive agency arrangement for the countries of Japan, Manchuria, Korea and Formosa, for the sale of power presses made by John Hands and Sons of Birmingham. Alfred Herbert also entered into an arrangement with Carrick Wedderspoon and Co of Christchurch, New Zealand, whereby the firm acted as Messrs Herbert's sole selling agents for New Zealand. This arrangement covered all machines, small tools and accessories.
1922 the firm opened their own office in Buenos Aires at 25, de Mayo, No 267 in the charge of Mr Colin York.
1922 Opened their gear-cutting department with Mr Francis W. Shaw in charge.
1922 They were appointed sole selling agent in Canada for the mining machinery, air compressors, rock drills and pneumatic tools made by Holman Brothers of Camborne, Cornwall and sole selling agent in the Argentine for the horizontal surfacing, boring, milling and drilling machines made by Messrs. H. W. Kearns and Co of Broadheath, Manchester.
1923 The Manchester branch office was transferred to Wrendal House, 2 Whitworth-street West, from 30, Cross-street.
1923 They appointed the Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering Corporation of 36-38, Kingsway, London W.C.2 sole conncessionnaire for the United Kingdom for the sale of the "Atritor" fuel drying and pulverising machine for use with metallurgical furnaces.
1924 Whereas for many years it acted in conjunction with another company as joint selling agents in Great Britain and Ireland for Norton grinding wheels, arrangements had in 1924 been made by which it was to in future act as solo selling agent for all Norton wheels in the territory mentioned.
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.
1927 The Edgwick works developed a coal-pulverizing machine called the "Atritor" for supplying powdered coal direct into the combustion chamber of a furnace. These were supplied all over the world for firing cement kilns, steam-raising in water-tube boilers and for the firing of furnaces for many different processes.
1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Pulverised Fuel for Furnace Firing. The Atritor Coal-Pulverising and Distributing System applied to the firing of several small furnaces for the metallurgical industries. A similar measure of control to gas or oil firing is demonstrated. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. D.409). 
1937 Machine tool makers. 
1944 Became public company.
1961 Tool makers, mechanical engineers, importers and factors of machine tools, components and small tools. 4,700 employees. 
1966 Alfred Herbert merged in a joint-venture with Churchill Machine Tool Co and became part of Herbert-BSA Ltd
By the early 1970's the workforce was around 12,000 nationally, but redundancies had begun.
1972 Herbert-BSA received support of over £1million for projects on various machine tools from a government programme for the machine tool industry 
1980 Tube Investments took over the firm, but 3 years later debts of some 17 million pounds led to the firm's collapse.
1983 Sale by Auction in October 1983 of the entire stock. At the time of the auction the workforce numbered 400, approximately the same as when Alfred Herbert declared it a private limited company in 1894.
Sources of Information
- The Engineer 1889/05/24 p446
- The Engineer of 23rd November 1900 p516
- Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13 p793
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- Mechanical World Year Book 1919. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p97
- The Engineer of 27th Feb 1920 p234
- The Engineer of 18th June 1920 p632
- The Engineer of 25th June 1920 p657
- The Engineer of 17th September 1920 p269
- The Engineer 1920/06/11, p 614.
- The Engineer 1922/05/05
- The Engineer 1922/05/19
- The Engineer 1922/06/02
- The Engineer 1922/07/14.
- The Engineer 1923/05/04
- The Engineer 1923/05/18
- The Engineer 1924/12/05
- 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p630; and p374
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Engineer of 19th January 1968 p135
- The Times, Mar 15, 1972
- Machine Tools by James Weir French in 2 vols. Published 1911 by Gresham
-  Coventry Historians