Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,384 pages of information and 211,458 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Vickers Instruments

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of York

1915 Vickers Ltd acquired control of T. Cooke and Sons, a scientific instrument manufacturing business. They had long had an interest in the military side of Cooke products such as rangefinders, gunsights and surveying equipment, adapted to military needs.

1922 Cooke’s continued to expand in York and amalgamated with the long established instrument-making firm of Troughton and Simms of London (1824-1922).

1924 The new firm became Cooke, Troughton and Simms and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Vickers.

1939 Another factory was built on a larger site in Haxby Road

WWII Of the 3,300 people employed by the firm, 1,400 were women.

Post-WWII. After the war, microscopes, survey equipment and engineers' measuring instruments became the main products.

1963 Following the acquisition of the C. Baker Ltd microscope factory, the new company of Vickers Instruments was formed. This continued as a profitable business for many years, mainly selling microscopes, surveying instruments and micro measurement apparatus.

1980s The firm’s traditional skills in optics and mechanics were enhanced by electronic and software expertise and Quaestor, a new instrument for handling microchips, was produced as well as other high precision measuring apparatus and on the defence side, laser range finders for Vickers’ tanks.

The company still exists as Cooke Optics Ltd and continues to develop camera lenses

See company web site


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