Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Adam Hilger

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1942. Universal measuring projector.
1942. Projector head.
1947. Dexrae Industrial X-ray unit (above) and the Wilson Projection Gauge. At below the Spekker Absorptiometer.
1947. Spectroscope.
1947. Spectroscope.

Adam Hilger, makers of optical instruments for control of industrial processes, of 75a Camden Road, London, NW1. (1922)

of 98 St. Pancras Way, Camden Road, London, NW1. Telephone: Gulliver 5571. Cables: "Sphericity London". (1947)

1874[1] Business established by Adam Hilger[2].

1885 Gold medal for improvements in philosophical instruments

1897 Otto succeeded his brother in charge of the company

1898 Frank Twyman joined the company

1902 Otto Hilger died; Frank Twyman took over as manager

1904 Company incorporated as a limited company

1906 Catalogue page from the Exhibition Catalogue of Fifty-first Annual Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain showing address details for Adam Hilger Ltd. [3]

1910 A. Hilger Ltd exhibited at the Physical Society's Exhibition[4]

Pre-war: Hilger's main products had been optical parts, sold mainly to rangefinder manufacturers Barr and Stroud, and specialized finished instruments, including spectrometers. Before the war Barr and Stroud started to make their own optical parts; Hilgers developed use for the large quartz spectrograph for metallurgical analysis; sold instruments to the American Brass Company.

Post-war: A significant holding in the company was sold to T. Cooke and Sons of York without knowing that Vickers held the majority of shares in Cooke's; the new parent company wished to bring Hilgers into line with the rest of its organization; Twyman did not believe this to be in the best interests of Hilgers and, in 1926, bought back the shares.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Optical and other Scientific Instruments for research and control of industrial processes; Polarimeters, Saccharimeters, Spectrometers, Spectrophotometers, Refractometers, Colorimeters, Interferometers. (Stand No. G.1)

and: Manufacturers of apparatus for determining the annealing temperature of glasses and for controlling the process of annealing; Apparatus for testing glassware for defective annealing. (Stand No. C.14) [5]

1925 The managing director wrote to The Times to point out the quality of optical glass made by Chance Brothers and Co and Parsons Optical Glass Co was better than that from abroad[6].

1929 Supplied set of Twyman-Green interferometers, developed by Frank Twyman for testing optical components, to Carl Zeiss[7]

1946 E. R. Watts and Son acquired 78% of Adam Hilger

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Optical Equipment for Research and industrial control of materials by observing emission of absorption spectra; by X-ray crystal analysis; by measuring colour, refraction, light absorption, polarisation and fluorescence optical gauging. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1021) [8]

1948 Amalgamated with E. R. Watts and Son as Hilger and Watts Ltd which was incorporated as a public company[9].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 25 February 1958
  2. The Times, 10 March 1959
  3. [1] Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society: 1870-1915
  4. The Times, Dec 12, 1910
  5. 1922 British Industries Fair p37
  6. The Times, 15 June 1925
  7. The Times 10 March 1959
  8. 1947 British Industries Fair p135
  9. The Times, 25 February 1958
  • Biography of Frank Twyman, ODNB [2]