Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Henry Simon

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1869.
1886. Three high roller mill.
1889. From Engineering of 13th December.
1915.
1915.
1921.
1921.
1921.
1922. Victoria Dock.
1922. Millenium Flour Mills.
1922.
1926.
1931. A Floating Pneumatic Grain Elevator, Discharging Grain from a Ships' Hold.
1935. Pneumatic grain discharging plant at the Victoria Dock, London.
May 1938.
May 1938.

of Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath, Stockport.

of 20 Mount Street, Manchester.

Henry Gustav Simon, an accomplished engineer and mechanical genius, became aware at an early age that the old processes of milling flour using millstones had many disadvantages and that the roller milling system offered many possibilities.

1878 Prior to that, all milling of cereals was accomplished on millstones but, in that year, Henry Simon introduced the first roller milling plant to his process design. In 1878 he founded his business and built the first such plant in England based on the 'Gradual Reduction' milling system, in Manchester.

1881 Henry Simon built the first completely automatic roller flour mill in the world for McDougall Brothers, a predecessor of Ranks Hovis McDougall.

1892 The benefits to be gained by this new process gained rapid acclaim within the industry and by 1892 Henry Simon had over 400 mills in operation using the Simon system in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, India, South America, Australia and Japan.

Within the space of two decades he had revolutionised the milling of wheat by his system.

Meanwhile, Thomas Robinson and Son was established in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 1838 as timber merchants, joiners and carpenters. 1880 Thomas Robinson and Son became a limited company. It was not until 1882 that they appreciated that flour milling machinery was an ideal opportunity for further expansion of their company. With existing pattern shops, foundries, fully equipped fitting and erection shops they had considerable advantages. In 1884 Thomas Robinson and Sons announced that they could equip a complete flour mill with their own make of machinery.

1897 Henry Simon Ltd became a private limited company. During the early years Henry Simon had his machinery manufactured to his designs in Europe.

1899 Henry Simon died. Read his obituary in The Engineer 1899/07/28.

1902 First factory opened at the Eagle Iron Works, in Stalybridge, Cheshire.

1911 Royal Agricultural Show. Four milling appliances. Issued catalogue on 'Modern Flour Mill Machinery'. [1]

1911 Catalogue on various types of elevators, silos and grain-handling plant.[2].

1915 Henry Simon acquired of the milling engineering business and factory of Briddon and Fowler in Bredbury, Cheshire.

1920 Issued catalogue of grain handling equipment. [3]

1926 These factories, and the office in Mount Street, Manchester, were brought together on one site in 1926, when the new offices and factory were built at Cheadle Heath Stockport. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited the works at Cheadle Heath on 29th September - "The works are situated eight miles from Manchester and two miles from Stockport. They have been recently built for the purpose of producing flour and rice-milling machinery, conveying and elevating appliances. The shops, covering about four acres, include a wood-working shop, sheet metal shop, machine and fitting shop, erecting bays, painting and packing shops, all being under one roof and on one floor. There are, in addition, excellent light offices, a laboratory, a power station, a large dining-room, and an experimental bakery, and finally ample ground space for sports of various kinds".[4]

1933 Acquired Turbine Gears.

1935 See Henry Simon:1935 Review

1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Milling, Blending, Soap-Making Machinery; Automatic Weighers; Handling Plants. Flour, Maize, Oatmeal, Provender Milling Machinery. Mechanical and Pneumatic Handling Plants. Elevators, Conveyors. Automatic Units. Mixing Machinery. Plant Milling Machinery. Gears and Gear Units. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. D.611). [5]

Both Henry Simon Ltd and Thomas Robinson and Son expanded continuously for over a century, dedicating a high percentage of their production to the export of cereal milling machinery. Consequently their plant and equipment can be found in most countries.

1960 The 2 parent companies of Simon Engineering Group, namely Henry Simon (Holdings) Ltd and Simon-Carves Ltd, were merged. A new company was formed Simon Engineering Ltd[6].

1988 The two well established cereal milling engineers, Henry Simon and Thomas Robinson and Son merged in October 1988 to become Robinson Milling Systems Ltd.

1991 The business was acquired by the Satake Corporation, to form Satake Robinson UK Ltd, later Satake UK Ltd.

1998 The UK Division was formed and the business was moved, together with ESM (UK), to newly acquired premises in Bredbury. The move, coincidentally, brought the UK company back to where it manufactured flour milling machinery 85 previously.

The historical roots of Anglo-Japanese cereal technology, transfer and co-operation, however, go back much further, Riichi Satake, founder of the group in 1896, was cognisant of many of the early oat process designs in equipment developed by Douglas and Grant in Scotland. Henry Simon introduced his roller milling system to the Japanese market in 1898 when he built a plant in Nagasaki, his first in Asia.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer of 7th July 1911 p26 and p413
  2. The Engineer 1911/04/21 p 422.
  3. The Engineer of 27th Feb 1920 p208
  4. The Engineer 1926/10/08
  5. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p655; and p413
  6. The Times, 26 May 1961
  • [1] Satake Corporation - UK Division