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British Industrial History

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Hartley Electromotives

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Hartley Electromotives of Octopus Works, Monkmoor, Shrewsbury.

Electronics and audio equipment manufacturer.

Bill Hartley set up Hartley and Co in Frankwell trading as Electrical Engineers. This company did some work with a crane maker from Swansea making prefabricated wiring harnesses in the name Octopus Wiring.

1939 Company formed. John Symonds moved to Shrewsbury to assist with the sales of Hartley's products and services. The wiring harness business grew and the company built preformed house wiring kits in Ironbridge and Ketley.

1945 Public company formed as William Hartley and Co (Swansea).

1946 Name changed.

1949 Hartleys moved to Monkmoor to fulfil some major orders for wiring kits for 20,000 houses to be made for Airey Homes of Leeds, and later kits for prefabricated houses all over Britain. Over 250,000 wiring kits were supplied for the UK market and kits were also exported to Kuwait and New Zealand.

1950 Hartleys acquired Duratube and Wire Ltd of Feltham, Middlesex who made all the cable for Octopus and other related products.

1951 Acquired Trust Accessories.

1954 Hartleys was taken over by Baird Television Ltd; name changed to Hartley Baird Ltd but the company would continue to market Baird Televisions[1]. Mr Hartley was appointed Managing Director.

1954 Hartley Baird acquired Ambassador Radio and Television Ltd[2].

The company produced a wide range of electrical and mechanical products including wood burning stoves, Baird television sets for Radio Rentals, radio sets for the Hacker Radio and their own Wondergram and Supergram. The Taperiter system, which was a dictation system for large offices, used a tape cassette system based on full size reels of tape in a metal case that could be lifted off the tape recorder for transcription elsewhere. Possibly the world's first cassette player. Also produced defence electrics, electronic equipment and services.

1957 Camp Bird acquired Coolers and Venders, licensees of US designed vending machines which were made under licence by Hartley Electromotives, which also made National rejector coin mechanisms for vending machines[3].

1957 Hartley Baird transferred Tenaplas and Creston Electric to Camp Bird for a nominal sum[4].

1958 Acquired H. J. Baldwin and Co[5].

1959 Hartley Baird sold its interest in Ambassador Radio and Television and Telecast Rentals[6].

1960 Radio Rentals purchased the Baird Company[7].

1961 Electrical and mechanical engineers, manufacturing and designing patent wiring systems and electrical accessories. 400 employees. [8]

1962 Camp Bird sold its 80% interest in Hartley Baird for cash[9]. At some point before this, Tenaplas must have been transferred back to Hartley Baird[10].

1963 Sold their interest in Duratube and Wire[11].

1963 Petitioned for the winding up of Ambassador Radio and Television Ltd, and of Camp Bird Ltd[12]

1972 Hartley Baird acquired Holmbush Ltd to provide extra production and marketing in support of expansion of the plastics business of Tenaplas[13].

1972 Receiver called in; the Octopus Wiring division was sold to Lucas and moved to Lancaster Road - worked mainly for the commercial motor trade but also made house wiring kits for Alfred Macalpine for a project in Tamworth.

1972 the company was sold to C and N Electrical Engineers, which later became part of the Cray Electronics Group

1979 became a limited company Shrewsbury Electronic Engineers Ltd. Supplied microfiche readers to Barclays Bank and to British Telecom for the Directory Enquiry Service. Also offered advanced printed circuit board assembly.

The company name changed to Shrewsbury Technology; continued to develop new products including computers for the Stock Exchange. New products were developed including a liquid level monitor

1993 The Cray Group was in difficulties; Shrewsbury Technology was closed.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Feb 22, 1954
  2. The Times, 24 December 1954
  3. The Times, 29 July 1957
  4. The Times, 21 September 1957
  5. The Times, 1 December 1958
  6. The Times, 25 May 1959
  7. The Times, 12 December 1960
  8. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  9. The Times, 29 March 1962
  10. The Times, 29 March 1962
  11. The Times, 4 October 1963
  12. London Gazette 27 August 1963
  13. The Times, 25 Agust, 1972
  • Made in Shrewsbury [1]