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British Industrial History

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Siebe, Gorman and Co

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Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
1880
1880
1819. 'Open' helmet.
January 1888.
‎‎
1889
June 1898.
1899. The Buchanan-Gordon design.
1899.
1909.
1918
1920.
1938.
1942.
1943.
1945.
April 1947.
November 1947.
‎‎
1951
1951.
January 1952.
1954.
February 1957.
1958.
February 1959. Air-Fed Paint Sprayer's Mask.
Photographed in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Photographed in Punta Arenas, Chile.

of 5 Denmark St, London.

of Neptune Works, Davis Road, Chessington, Surrey; and Red Lion Court, Holborn, London.

of 187 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1. Telephone: Waterloo 6071/2/3/4. Telegraphic Address: "Siebe, Lamb, London". (1937) As Siebe, Gorman and Co.

of Tolworth in 1952.

1819 Augustus Siebe founded Siebe and Co. The company advertised itself as 'Submarine Engineers'.

1837 Augustus Siebe developed the "closed-type" diving suit.

1851 Various inventions exhibited at the Great Exhibition including rotary water pump, water valve, air pump for diving, and dial weighing machine[1] [2].

c.1859 Gorman started working with ice-making machines[3]

c.1862 Siebe Brothers licensed James Harrison's ice-making machine and manufactured the machine for sale.

1862 Exhibited Paper-knotting machine[4]

1868 Siebe's second son, Henry Herepath Siebe, and his son-in-law William Augustus Gorman ran the business after Augustus's retirement.

1870 Company renamed as Siebe and Gorman [5]

1872 Augustus Siebe died.

1873 The Submarine Salvage Association was formed to acquire and work the patent rights of Siebe, Gorman and Christy in the invention for raising ships [6].

c.1880 Henry Albert Fleuss in conjunction with the company produced the first practicable self-contained oxygen breathing apparatus[7].

1883 By this time Siebe and Gorman was providing refrigeration machinery - International Fisheries Exhibition[8].

1894 Exhibited diving apparatus at the Antwerp Exhibition. [9]

1904 After Gorman's death, the Vickers family reformed the company as a limited company Siebe, Gorman and Co.

Around this time, Robert Davis formed the research and experimental department, which solved many of the problems of breathing underwater, in poisonous atmospheres and at high altitude. Davis developed what became the standard diving dress and helmet used by the Royal Navy[10].

1906 Davis perfected an oxygen breathing apparatus for mining rescue

1914 Submarine engineers and manufacturers of diving apparatus and all other submarine appliances. Specialities: diving apparatus, diving bells, submarine electric lamps, submarine telephones, submarine appliances of all descriptions, smoke helmets, rescue appliances for mines etc. Employees 200. [11]

WWI Diving and breathing apparatus and aircraft oxygen equipment

1915 April: In response to the first gas attack on allied troops, Davis devised an emergency respirator, and persuaded friends, relations, and locals to manufacture it in great quantities, which were sent to France within 48 hours[12]

1920 Private company.

1920 Camera for use in flooded mines. (Siebe, Gorman and Co) [13]

Development of the Davis submarine escape apparatus and of the Davis submersible decompression chamber used in deep sea diving.

1932 R. H. Davis governing director of Siebe, Gorman and Co.

1937 Engineers. [14]

1937 British Industries Fair Advert for: Diving Apparatus; Submarine Appliances; Oxygen Breathing Apparatus; Smoke Helmets; Resuscitating Apparatus; Gas Masks and all other Protective Devices including Dust Respirators, Sand Blast Helmets, Metal Spray Helmets, Protective Clothing, and Safety appliances of all descriptions. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand Nos. D.839 and D.738) [15]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

WWII Diving and breathing apparatus and aircraft oxygen equipment

1942 Admiralty Experimental Diving Unit established at the company's premises

Postwar: introduced the "Iron Lung" and worked with Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co on underwater television

1952 Company made public; 500 employees.

1960 Advert for safety equipment for mines. (Siebe, Gorman) [16]

1960's Siebe started making scuba gear aimed at the public market (sometimes using the trade names Essgee and Essjee), although they had made it earlier for work divers and the Navy. They also continued to make diving bell equipment and pressure chambers.

1961 Submarine engineers, industrial safety engineers, manufacturers of diving and breathing apparatus and personal industrial protective equipment. Engaged in development and production of under water television equipment in association with Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. 500 employees. [17]

1961 Siebe Gorman took over Heinke.

1975 Siebe Gorman moved to Cwmbran in Wales, and concentrated on fire-fighter's breathing equipment.

1985 Siebe acquired Compair.

1987 Siebe acquired Barber-Colman Co. (industrial automation, commercial controls, etc.)

1990 Siebe acquired the Foxboro Co (industrial automation).

1994 Siebe acquired Triconex.

1997 Siebe acquired APV plc (vessel manufacturer: plant not marine).

1997 Siebe acquired Satchwell Controls Co from GEC[18]

1998 Siebe acquired Eurotherm, Wonderware, and SimSci. (SimSci makes industrial controls)

Siebe Gorman sold as part North Safety Products to Norcross Safety Products. At the end of 1998, the plant at Cwmbran was closed and production of breathing apparatus was transferred to Dukinfield in Manchester. Although oxygen rebreather manufacturing capability still existed at the relocation, no manufacture or overhaul was carried out at the new site.

1999 Siebe acquired Esscor.

1999 At the end of the year, Norcross sold what had been Siebe Gorman as a going concern to an Iranian entrepreneur Parvis Moradifor. The company was re-named Air Master Technology Limited from the name of the famous Siebe Gorman breathing apparatus.

1999 BTR Industries and Siebe merged, first as BTR Siebe and then as Invensys.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class V.: Augustus Siebe
  2. 1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class VII.: Augustus Siebe
  3. The Engineer 1881/02/04
  4. 1862 London Exhibition: Catalogue: Class 7.: Augustus Siebe
  5. Dressing for Altitude: U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits, Wiley Post to Space Shuttle By Dennis R. Jenkins
  6. Daily News, 31 July 1873
  7. The Times, 24 November 1952
  8. The Standard, 3 September 1883
  9. The Engineer of 25th May 1894 p431
  10. The Times, 24 November 1952
  11. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  12. Biography of Sir Robert Davis, ODNB
  13. The Engineer of 25th June 1920 p658
  14. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  15. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p655; and p412
  16. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p631
  17. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  18. The Times, January 03, 1997