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British Industrial History

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Triplex Safety Glass Co

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August 1914.
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April 1962.

of Kings Norton, Birmingham

of Eccleston, St Helens, Lancashire

of 1 Albemarle Street, London, W1

1912 Public company incorporated. The need for the specialist production of safety glass led to the formation of the Triplex Safety Glass Company to operate in Britain certain French patents for laminated glass. The manufacturing process involved fixing Xylonite or some other transparent material between 2 sheets of glass, thus triplex glass[1]

1917 Triplex Safety Glass Co advertised a range of products.

1919 Triplex safety glass cowlings were added to provide weather protection for the cockpit in the Handley Page aircraft used on the London-Paris service[2]

1919 Rights issue raised extra capital[3]

1920 British Glass Industries had large interest in the company[4]

1922 The company was taken over by a public company of similar name

1924 Third AGM of the company. Freehold factory at Willesden[5]

1927 Purchased a new factory at King's Norton, Birmingham with the support of a loan from Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds[6]

c.1927 Pilkington developed a process for making thin plate glass suitable for Triplex and became an important supplier to Triplex[7]

1929 Pilkington and the Triplex Safety Glass Co formed a joint company, called Triplex Imperial, to build a works at Eccleston, St. Helens, to produce laminated glass; the factory had Pilkington management with support from Triplex.

1929 The company had holdings in Triplex (Northern) Ltd, the Triplex Safety Glass Co, of North America, and Triplex (Continental) Ltd[8]

1930 Triplex glass was fitted as standard on Austin cars[9]

Early 1930s A process for large-scale toughening of glass was developed by St. Gobain in France; Pilkington obtained an exclusive licence for Britain. Pilkington and Triplex then entered into agreements for Triplex to manufacture toughened glass for sale only to the motor and aircraft industries. The Triplex companies paid a royalty of 10 per cent on sales until April 1936. Pilkington reserved the right to exploit toughened glass for other uses[10]

1931 All contract work was transferred from the Willesden factory to Kings Norton[11]

1933 Acquired the goodwill of Protectoglass of Slough[12]

1934 Acquired the rights to make a new type of glazing glass called Thermolux and the shares and goodwill of the Thermolux Glass Co[13]. Diversified by forming Quickfit and Quartz to make laboratory glassware[14].

1935 Royalty payments on TripleX toughened glass came to an end[15]

1936 Triplex (Northern) acquired H. E. Ashdown, maker of moulded products[16] to offer safety glass in plastic frames. Reduced prices of safety glass to encourage car manufacturers to continue to fit their products in windows in the face of competition from others who fitted ordinary glass[17]. 18 Manufacturers agreed to fit TripleX in 100 percent of uses. Thermolux and Quickfit and Quartz were subsidiaries. Had reached agreement with ICI allowing the Triplex company rights to sell Perspex[18]

1937 Safety glass manufacturers. "Triplex" Safety Glass. [19]

By the end of the 1930s the Triplex companies were producing about five times as much toughened glass as laminated glass[20].

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1939 Acquired control of Lancegaye Safety Glass (1934) Ltd. and its subsidiary Gilt Edge Safety Glass Syndicate by purchasing more than 90 per cent of Lancegaye's share capital. After the failure of the experiment with plastic framing, H. E. Ashdown was sold to Pilkington.

WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito and other aircraft, eyepieces for gas marsks, etc. Made plastic components at Kings Norton and in one of the 2 factories at Willesden. The Eccleston factory was used for munitions.

1950 Sold a factory at Willesden[21]

1951: purchased 2 engineering companies as a move to diversify the business - Stern and Bell Ltd of Birmingham, specialists in welded fabrication, forging, flame cutting and general engineering; and Weldall and Assembly Ltd of Stourbridge, makers of welded fabrications[22].

Curved glass was introduced as a result of inventions by St. Gobain and by Libbey Owens Ford. Triplex developed "zoned" windscreens, giving a zone of relatively clear vision in case of breakage, following similar developments on the Continent. Also developed heated rear windows for cars.

1955 Triplex acquired Pilkington's interest in Triplex (Northern) in return for shares in Triplex Safety Glass. Pilkington began purchasing Triplex's shares in the market.

1958 James A. Jobling and Co acquired Quickfit and Quartz Ltd, makers of laboratory and industrial glassware, from Triplex[23]; Jobling had related interests in laboratory glassware and had been the sole supplier of raw materials to Quickfit [24]

1958 Triplex Holdings was established to hold the various subsidiaries; Triplex (Northern) Ltd was sold to the new subsidiary Triplex Safety Glass[25]

1962 Plastics manufacture ended at Willesden.

1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Glass. [26]

1965 Pilkington owned more than 50 per cent of Triplex which then became a subsidiary of Pilkington.

1967 Triplex acquired British Indestructo Glass where production of glass soon ended.

1968 Open new R&D centre in King's Norton, Birmingham. [27]

1970 Aircraft activities were organised in a separate division; orders had been received for the Airbus and from the Japanese aircraft industry and production orders were expected for Concorde; the engineering companies had achieved highest ever turnover, including a major order for a conveyor for British Leyland; this helped to offset the poor results of the Safety Glass company[28]

1972 Pilkington acquired the remaining shares in the company[29]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times Oct 31, 1912
  2. The Times, Dec 13, 1919
  3. The Times, May 01, 1919
  4. The Times, Jun 11, 1920
  5. The Times, Dec 02, 1924
  6. The Times, Oct 04, 1927
  7. The Times, Apr 25, 1929
  8. The Times, Oct 31, 1929
  9. The Times, Oct 15, 1930
  10. Competition Comission [1]
  11. The Times, Oct 01, 1931
  12. The Times, Aug 10, 1933
  13. The Times, Sep 02, 1935
  14. Competition Commission [2]
  15. The Times, Sep 10, 1936
  16. The Times, Jul 21, 1936
  17. The Times, Sep 10, 1936
  18. The Times (London, England), Thursday, Sep 10, 1936
  19. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  20. Competition Commission
  21. The Times, Aug 17, 1950
  22. The Times, Jan 22, 1951
  23. The Times, Aug 13, 1958
  24. The Times, Sep 25, 1958
  25. The Times, Sep 25, 1958
  26. 1963 Motor Show
  27. The Engineer of 22nd November 1968 p780
  28. The Times, Jul 09, 1970
  29. The Times, Jul 20, 1972
  • AA. [3] Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry
  • Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6