From Graces Guide
International Combustion Ltd of Derby, manufacturers of equipment for raising steam, for electricity generation.
1925 of Africa House, Kingsway, London, WC2.. They transferred their commercial pulverising department to separate officesat 11, Southampton-row, London, WC2. J. C. Farrant was appointed general manager of this department and Mr C. S. Messenger sales manager.
1933 A British group bought the various companies involved in International Combustion and amalgamated them into International Combustion of Derby
1934 Company incorporated under a scheme to merge several companies into International Combustion Ltd which already controlled them, namely Combustion Engineering Ltd, Combustion Steam Generator Ltd, Detrick Arch Co Ltd, Mining and Industrial Equipment Ltd, and Underfeed Stoker Co, as well as International Combustion itself
1937 Because of sporadic nature of orders for large power plants, planned to diversify into smaller boilers
1939 Extension to the works at Derby; new head office at Woburn Place, London
1954 Established subsidiary International Combustion Products which would take over the activities of International Combustion except for the design and manufacture of steam raising plant which remained the business of that company.
1956 New group established to tender for nuclear power plant contracts involving Richardsons, Westgarth and Co, International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd and Crompton Parkinson Ltd; a jointly owned company Atomic Power Constructions Ltd was established..
1957 Acquired Clayton Equipment Co makers of electric and diesel electric locomotives, as well as vertical kiln cement making plant. At this time, International Combustion's subsidiary companies included International Combustion (Export) Ltd and Riley (I.C.) Products Ltd.
1966 International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd and Combustion Engineering Inc entered a world-wide agreement with Applied Research and Engineering concerning design, manufacture and installation of water desalination plant using multi-stage flash.
1968 With the support of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, Clarke, Chapman and Co and John Thompson tried to take over International Combustion to form a major force in boiler making but after several months Clarke, Chapman and Co withdrew and the bid failed..
1969 Reorganisation into one operating company International Combustion with 2 trading divisions and 1 production division. Profits badly affected by losses of Atomic Power Constructions on their Dungeness nuclear power plant contract. Discussions had started with John Thompson and Clarke, Chapman and Co about merger of their boiler interests but this had not resulted in joint action.
1971 To help with the reorganisation, Combustion Engineering Inc, which held 30% of International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd shares and had for a long time cooperated technically with the company, seconded 3 executives to the I.C. management..
1974 Clarke Chapman-John Thompson took over the U.K. interests of International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd in return for a 31% holding in the enlarged group; as a consequence, Combustion Engineering would hold about 13%.. International Combustion had failed to win contracts from the CEGB, probably because it was uncompetitively small.. I.C.H.'s activities in South Africa, Australia and India were not included in the deal.
1976 International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd acquired engineer Metropole Industries. Around this time it also expanded into pneumatic and hydraulic valves, castings and marine equipment.
1977 NEI took over International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd, namely the non-UK boiler-making operations that it did not already own. Combustion Engineering, which owned 45%, accepted the deal straight away but the management pushed for a higher price and succeeded..
Throughout this time International Combustion was gradually reduced in size being now mainly dependant on the overseas market. Its swan song, in the large-boiler market place, was the supply of two 500 MW boilers as part of the Rihand power station in Uttar Pradesh, in India. This was a triumph in organization, built as it was in a remote area of India, with many logistical problems being encountered in getting men and materials to the site, not to mention the problems of dealing with an exceedingly difficult client.
During the late 1990`s, International Combustion became mainly involved in the fabrication of co-generation power plant, to other companies designs, by the provision of the waste heat boilers fuelled by the pass-out gases from gas turbines. Although lucrative, this plant was not to be compared with the glory days of the large coal fired boilers.
A change of policy by Rolls Royce led to a reduction in exposure to the power industry thereby reducing International Combustion to little more than a set of fabrication shops. Much of the site has now been cleared and, with the company name along with the design expertise having been sold off, what remained after was a shadow of its former self.
1996 Rolls decided to close the steam-driven generators parts of the business (Parsons and International Combustion) because it could not compete with the international leaders.
The Early Years
The Rise and Fall of a Great Company
Sources of Information
- The Engineer 1925/09/18
- The Times, Jan 08, 1936
- The Times, May 28, 1934
- The Times, Jan 16, 1936
- The Times, Jan 21, 1937
- The Times, Jan 21, 1938
- The Times, Feb 10, 1939
- The Times, 30 January 1940
- The Times, 10 December 1949
- The Times, 25 November 1954
- History of Clarke Chapman: []
- The Times, 14 December 1956
- The Times, 21 March 1962
- The Times, 17 February 1969
- The Times, 15 October 1971
- The Times, 5 February 1974
- The Times, 7 March 1974
- The Times, 21 October 1977
- The Times, July 20, 1996