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British Industrial History

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Babcock and Wilcox

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1870. Horizontal Engine with Variable Expansion Gear.
January 1888.
1888.
March 1888.
May 1888.
1891. 500 hP Water-Tube Marine Boiler at the Naval Exhibition.
1892.
1894.
June 1898.
1899.
February 1901.
January 1902.
September 1902.
1906.
1906.
1910.
February 1911.
1913.
1913.
1914. Water-tube boiler.
1914. View of above water-tube boiler with casings removed, showing tubes and baffles.
1918.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
1920. New electric jib cranes at Dover Harbour.
1921.
1921.
1923.
1925.
1926.
1926.
1927. Winch Equipment Cardington Airship Tower.
1928.
1929.
1929. Oil Pump and Heater.
1930. Marine boilers.
1930. Sectional Express-Type Boiler.
1931. Portable Level - Luffing Jib Crane.
1932
1932.L.N.E.R. Locomotive Coaling Plant at Hull.
1933. Full Size Section of Six Boiler.
1933. 80 Ton Electric Level Luffing Jib Crane.
1933. Standard Marine Boiler with Erith - Roe Stoker.
1936. Dumbarton Valve Works.
1936. Dumbarton Valve Works.
1936. Dumbarton Valve Works.
1936. Danks economic boiler.
1938.
1938.
1939. Renfrew Steel Foundry.
1939. Renfrew Steel Foundry.
1950. Works in Renfrew.
June 1953. Marine Boilers.
1960. "Goliath".
1961. Tower Cranes.
1963.
1964.
1964.
1964.
1964.
1964.
1964.
April 1969.
May 1969.

This page refers to the UK operations. see Babcock and Wilcox Co for the USA company

of Oriel House, Farringdon Street, London EC

Babcock and Wilcox were engaged in the design, engineering, manufacture, service and construction of power generation and pollution control systems and equipment for utilities and industries.

1881 Opened a sales office in Glasgow, Scotland.

By 1883 boilers were being made by sub-contractors in Scotland. The first completely British-built Babcock boiler was manufactured for the Singer Manufacturing Co works in Kilbowie, West Dunbartonshire.

1888 Issued catalogue on steam, its generation and use with details of their products. [1]

1891 A British company, Babcock and Wilcox Ltd was formed with a capital of GBP 240,000 with its sphere of operation to include the world outside of the USA and Cuba that were already covered by the American company. Charles Albert Knight was MD.

1894 Catalogue of their boilers. [2]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Grand Prix Diploma for Large Mechanical Constructions. [3]

1895 Babcock and Wilcox established its own manufacturing facility at Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland.

1900 The company's capital was increased to GBP 1,575,000. The firm rapidly became a leader in both land-based and marine boilers and opened subsidiaries and production facilities around the world. It became a public company. Manufactured the ten water-tube boilers for the Port Dundas electricity works in Glasgow. [4]

1910 Took over Edwin Danks and Co, boiler makers of Oldbury[5]; Danks were restricted to 'Lancashire' type boilers, ceasing to work on water tube boilers.

1911 Boilers for Dunston Power Station[6]

1914 Specialities: Patent Water Tube Boilers and all Boiler-house Accessories [7]

WWI. The group developed a large defence business during the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 World Wars, producing tanks and munitions in addition to their naval boiler business.

1920 Electric cranes for Dover Harbour. [8]

1926, the company provided massive steam generating hardware for Battersea Power Station, London.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1927 Advert for steam boilers. Principal works at Renfrew. [9]

1937 Engine. 'of London and Glasgow'. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum.

1937 British Industries Fair Advert. Water Tube Boilers, Pressed Steel forgings, Welded Pressure Vessels, Piping. "Everything for the Boiler House, including Valves". (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand Nos. D.501 abd D.400) [10]

WWII Production of tanks and munitions in addition to their naval boiler business.

1942 the company developed the cyclone furnace.

1955 Four industrial groups formed to exploit the information being made available by UKAEA on design of nuclear power "furnaces" - Industrial Atomic Energy Group involving AEI and John Thompson with electrical generating expertise from Metropolitan-Vickers and BTH; English Electric Co and Babcock and Wilcox; C. A. Parsons and Co and Head, Wrightson and Co; GEC and Simon-CarvesLtd [11].

1961 Employ 16,000 persons. Six subsidiaries. Manufacturers of water-tube and shell-type boilers, boiler-house equipment, nuclear power plant, mechanical stokers, pulverised fuel installations, cranes, conveyors, etc. [12] [13]

1967 Supplied the boilers for Ferrybridge-C power station.

1968 Pressure tube development for the Winfrith power station [14] [15]

1968 Formation of Babcock English Electric Nuclear[16]

1969 Babcock English Electric Nuclear was renamed British Nuclear Design and Construction

1979 Babcock and Wilcox became Babcock International

1982 Babcock International plc floated on the stock exchange

1987 FKI Electricals acquired Babcock International[17].

By 1989 FKI had shut down a quarter of Babcock's manufacturing plant.

1989 Babcock was spun out of FKI.

1995 Sold boiler business to Mitsui.


  • Note:
    • Babcock and Wilcox published various editions of books titled Steam.

Steam vehicles

Built Reg No. Works No. Name
1926 YB 5088 4014 Monarch

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1888/04/27 p338
  2. The Engineer 1894/04/27 p360
  3. The Engineer 1894/11/02 p387
  4. The Engineer 1900/09/14 p260
  5. National Archives [1]
  6. The Engineer 1911/07/07 p5
  7. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  8. The Engineer 1920/01/23 p102
  9. Mechanical World Year Book 1927. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p73
  10. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p600; and p330
  11. The Times, 17 March 1955
  12. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  13. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  14. The Engineer 1968/01/05 p17
  15. The Engineer of 8th March 1968 p399
  16. The Times, Feb 05, 1969
  17. Funding Universe [2]