Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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ICI Metals Division

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1932
May 1939.
April 1949.
September 1950.
June 1951.
October 1952.
1957.
1958.

of Kynoch Works, Witton, Birmingham, 6. Telephone: Birchfields 4848. Telegraphic Address: "Icimetal, Telex, Birmingham". (1937)

1918 Kynoch was merged into Explosives Trades Ltd, along with other ammunition makers.

1920 The parent company changed its name to Nobel Industries; Kynoch retained its own name.

Post-WWI. The end of the First World War presented the company with new opportunities represented by the burgeoning market for the internal combustion engine. In the following decade it became a major supplier of carburettors and radiators for both automobiles and aircraft. This was a buoyant period and there was diversification into new product areas like zip fasteners.

1920 Investment in downstream outlets for their products in the aircraft and motor sectors: holdings acquired in John Marston Ltd, the manufacturers of the world famous Sunbeam cycles and motorcycles as well as radiators and radiator tubes, Amac Ltd. of Aston (motorcycle carburettors) and Excelsior Motor Radiator Co. Ltd. of Leeds (aircraft radiators)[1].

Formation of ICI

1926 Nobel Industries was one of 4 companies combined into Imperial Chemical Industries; the Witton site became the head office and principal manufacturing base of ICI Metals Division.

1927 Imperial Chemical Industries Limited took over British Copper Manufacturers.

1932 Advertisement: incorporating Allen Everitt and Sons, Muntz's Metal Co, Elliott's Metal Co, Grice, Grice and Son and British Copper Manufacturers.

1932 Kynochs installed a hot rolling mill.

1934 The Strip Mill was producing 500 tons a month and annual Rod Mill capacity had soared to 14,000 tons. Another tube mill, Broughton Copper Co of Salford, was purchased.

1935 Witton's own tube mill was commissioned.

In the years leading up to the Second World War ICI Metals was the UK's largest supplier of copper and copper alloys and had significant business in heat exchangers and sporting ammunition.

1937 Non-ferrous metal manufacturers.

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Brass, Copper, Cupro-Nickel, Phosphor Bronze, "Everdur" and other Non-ferrous Alloys, in Plates, Sheets, Strip, sheathing, Roofing, Guttering, Tubes, Wire, Rods, and Extruded Sections. supplied in all sizes, shapes, finishes and tempers. (Stand Nos. D.503 and D.402)

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1939 the company had 11 factories.

WWII: The Company was asked to design, build and operate a new aluminium plant at Waunarlwydd in South Wales.

By 1940 the Company had a new radiator tube factory operational at King's Norton.

By 1941 the Ministry of Supply was building two new ammunition factories at Hayes in Middlesex and Summerfield, near Kidderminster; ICI's Metal Group would operate both. Negotiations were going on to find additional production capacity at John Waddington in Leeds and in several Kidderminster carpet firms.

1941 Porcelain Products of Stourport (ceramic products) was acquired.

In 1942 ICI's Metal Group assumed responsibility for another radiator tube factory at Burton.

Steatite and Porcelain Products.

Numerous, often massive extensions were made to existing facilities including no less than three extensions for John Marston which, in 1943, was merged with Excelsior to become Marston Excelsior.

Amal was moved into new premises due to fire in December 1943.

By 1943, thousands of extra personnel had been taken on with 20,000 people working at Witton.

By the end of the war, the company had 27 factories on 20 separate sites employing 50,000 people.

1945 Acquired Fyffe and Co of Dundee

Post-WWII. Development of new products continued.

1950s One of the most significant achievements of the company's engineers and physicists was the perfection of the process to produce titanium on a commercial scale.

1953 A plant was set up for surface milling hot-rolled brass strip.

1955 Opened Britain's first titanium smelting plant at Witton.

1957 Yorkshire Imperial Metals was formed as a joint venture between ICI Metals Division and Yorkshire Copper Works[2]

1958 Opened a zirconium plant.

1960 Opened a beryllium plant.

1960s The company continued to diversify and by the early '60s it was the most important contributor to ICI's profits.

Formation of Imperial Metal Industries

1962 The one hundredth anniversary of the opening of George Kynoch's percussion cap factory; the Division was renamed Imperial Metal Industries Ltd (IMI).

1966 IMI was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Initially ICI retained a majority holding.

1968 IMI opened the first liquid-metal-cooled vacuum titanium-melting furnace, in Birmingham.

1978 IMI became fully independent of ICI.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. History of Kynoch Works [1]
  2. National Archives [2]