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British Industrial History

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International Combustion

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1926. Lopulco
1926. Distillation plants.
1928. Derby Works.
1938. International Combustion Co.
1940.
1943.
1943.
1952.
1953.
1956.
1958. London Office.
1958.
June 1969.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. Hardinge Conical Mill No.585 plaque.
Hardinge Conical Mill. Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum.
Hardinge Conical Mill. Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum.

International Combustion Ltd of Derby, manufacturers of equipment for raising steam, for electricity generation.

General

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.[1]

1933 A British group bought the various companies involved in International Combustion and amalgamated them into International Combustion of Derby[2]

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[3]

c.1934 Acquired Riley Stoker Co which became a subsidiary; Riley marketed the Robot Fireman and other products of the Derby works[4]

1937 Because of sporadic nature of orders for large power plants, planned to diversify into smaller boilers[5]

1937 Acquired Hall Boiler Co, maker of gravity fed boilers for domestic and commercial users[6]

1939 Extension to the works at Derby; new head office at Woburn Place, London[7]

1940 Acquired small holding in Aberdare Cables (of which the MD was chairman) and W. K. Porteous, owners of a process for treating sewage sludge.[8].

1949 Reorganisation of company; name changed to International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd.[9]. The main undertaking continued to trade as International Combustion Ltd.

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.

1954 Rhymney Engineering Co was operated jointly with Powell Duffryn.[10].

1955 Acquired Riley Stoker Co; name changed to Riley (I.C.) Products Ltd[11].

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.[12].

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.

1961 Acquired the Superheater Co.[13].

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.[14].

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.[15].

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%.[16]. International Combustion had failed to win contracts from the CEGB, probably because it was uncompetitively small.[17]. 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.[18].

1989 Rolls-Royce plc acquired NEI which became part of its Industrial Power Group

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[19].

The Early Years

The Rise and Fall of a Great Company

Peak Magazine

Peak Magazine was the house magazine of International Combustion Ltd. The following copies are held in SMC Library:

  • 1954 Trinity Number (x2)
  • 1954 Michaelmas Number
  • 1955 Hilary Number (x2)
  • 1955 Michaelmas Number
  • 1956 Hilary Number
  • 1956 Easter Number
  • 1956 Trinity Number (x2)
  • 1956 Michaelmas Number
  • 1957 Trinity Number
  • 1957 Michaelmas Number
  • 1958 Michaelmas Term Number
  • 1958 Easter Number
  • 1958 Hilary Number
  • 1959 Trinity Term Number
  • 1959 Easter Term Number
  • 1960 Hilary Term Number
  • 1960 Michaelmas Term Number
  • 1960 Trinity Term Number

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1925/09/18
  2. The Times, Jan 08, 1936
  3. The Times, May 28, 1934
  4. The Times, Jan 16, 1936
  5. The Times, Jan 21, 1937
  6. The Times, Jan 21, 1938
  7. The Times, Feb 10, 1939
  8. The Times, 30 January 1940
  9. The Times, 10 December 1949
  10. The Times, 25 November 1954
  11. History of Clarke Chapman: [[1]]
  12. The Times, 14 December 1956
  13. The Times, 21 March 1962
  14. The Times, 17 February 1969
  15. The Times, 15 October 1971
  16. The Times, 5 February 1974
  17. The Times, 7 March 1974
  18. The Times, 21 October 1977
  19. The Times, July 20, 1996