Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,134 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Tube Investments

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October 1949.
1955. Bar emerging from the rotary piercer.[1]
September 1968.

Tube Investments (later known as TI Group), of Birmingham, was a British engineering company specialising in the manufacture and manipulation of tubing.

1919 Tube Investments was registered as a public company (to combine various seamless steel tube manufacturing companies) to acquire the shares in[2]:

At some point Star Tube Co and St. Helen's Tube and Metal were also acquired [3][4].

c.1920 The chairman, Arthur Chamberlain, told the first AGM that Phillips, a maker of bicycle parts, had been acquired since the amalgamation in 1919; Simplex was also a subsidiary, as was Tubes, maker of tubes for many uses and Admiralty boilers, Bromford, suppliers of hollow blooms to Tubes and Accles and Pollock as well as hot drawn weldless tubes [5].

1921 Tube Investments floated Bromford as a separate company, of which Tube Investments subscribed for a large part of the shares[6].

1926 Acquired Midland Tube and Forging Co and Metallic Seamless Tube Co [7].

1928 Reynolds Tube Co and Britannia Tube Co were purchased [8].

1928 Ivan Stedeford joined company; elected CEO in 1935 and Chairman in 1944); in 1963 retired as Chairman and CEO and assumed title of Life President.

1929 Acquired Chesterfield Tube Co [9]. Set up Tube Products to exploit 2 groups of patents acquired 2 years ago for making tubing by electrical welding[10].

1930 Acquired Talbot-Stead Tube Co[11].

1930 Two large tube makers Stewarts and Lloyds and Tube Investments entered into an agreement to reduce duplication with cross-shareholding [12]. Although this was to “facilitate exchange of information and technology” it resulted in Stewarts and Lloyds gaining a half interest in the Bromford Tube Co of Erdington, Birmingham and then acquiring the other half in 1945; and in Howell and Co Sheffield, this being given up in 1938.

1931 Tube Investments consisted of 17 companies [13].

1932 Purchased Stella Conduit Co[14].

1932 Recognising the scope for improvement in the management of the electrical subsidiaries, a new organisation was created responsible for the manufacture and sale of electrical products. Also formed new subsidiary company Pel to make steel furniture. New products had been sought in tubes but were limited to shafts for golf clubs[15].

1937 Agreement of the cycle fittings subsidiaries with Renold and Coventry Chain Co that the latter would discontinue the manufacture and sale of cycle fittings and accessories[16].

Pre-WWII Tubes acquired the British arm of Crane Packing of USA

1941 Members of the Steel Tube Advisory Centre of Tube Investments were[17]:

1946 Purchased Helliwell Group, including Swallow Coachbuilding Co, and Hercules Cycle and Motor Co.

1948 Formed T. I. Aluminium to bring together the administrative, research and marketing activities of its aluminium subsidiaries, namely Reynolds Light Alloys, Reynolds Rolling Mills and South Wales Aluminium [18]

1948 The companies in the cycle division, taken together, formed the largest bicycle-producing unit in the world[19]

1950 Cycle and cycle component brands were Hercules, Phillips, Norman, Armstrong and Brampton [20]

1953 Purchased Round Oak Steel Works from the Holding and Realization Agency for £1.6million, and loans of £4.2million to be repaid shortly[21].

1954 Purchased the name and goodwill of the James pedal cycle business from AMC. Production of cycles would continue at TI's Hercules factory[22]

1954 New rolling mills installed at Desford and Wednesfield[23]

1956 Purchased Park Gate Iron and Steel Co, Renishaw Iron Co and a half share in Byfield Ironstone Co[24].

1956 The British Cycle Corporation subsidiary was formed to take over and control its bicycle making subsidiaries in the Birmingham area, namely Armstrong Cycles, Brampton Fittings, Hercules Cycle and Motor Co, Phillips Cycles, and Walton and Brown [25]; the activities would be concentrated in a large factory at Handsworth; large redundancies followed; Norman was also in the TI group but does not seem to have been included in the new Corporation. TI cycle brands at the time were Hercules, Phillips, Norman, Armstrong, Aberdale, James and Dunelt [26].

1958 Tube Investments took-over Wrights Saddle Co Ltd [27].

1958 Tube Investments took-over Sun Cycle and Fittings Co[28] which was later incorporated in British Cycle Corporation.

1959 Some overseas operations had been put into joint venture companies with Raleigh Industries to cope with the over-capacity [29]. Norman and Phillips mopeds released as well as a scooter from Sun.

1960 Tube Investments acquired Raleigh Industries, bringing with it BSA Cycles and J. B. Brookes. The board of Raleigh enlarged with a director of TI and the MD of British Cycle Corporation would control all cycle, component and motorized activities of the TI group[30] which soon announced it planned to concentrate cycle production in Nottingham[31].

1961 Employed 55,000 persons in the group. [32]

Also owned Weldless Steel Tube Co, Loewy Robertson Engineering, Richard and Ross.

1962 Purchased Russell Hobbs.[33]

c.1964 Established joint venture with GE of USA on industrial electricals, especially motor control and switchgear[34].

1965 Sold subsidiary Simplex Electric Co to General Electric of USA[35].

1966 Tube Investments acquired Charles Churchill and Co[36]

1967 The steel-making subsidiaries (Park Gate Iron and Steel Co, Round Oak Steel Works) would be nationalised into British Steel but it was agreed that Tube Investments would share the management of the Round Oak Steel Works in order to enable TI to maintain its international position in tube making[37].

1967 TI (Group Services) was one of the larger steel companies not subject to nationalisation[38]

1967 Took over Radiation [39].

1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Technological Innovation with Tubes. [40]

1969 Acquired Vero Machine Tools, as a complementary operation to its other machine tool businesses[41].

1969 Acquired Coventry Gauge and Tool Co to join its other machine tool companies[42]

1970 Thorn Electrical Industries sold Crypton Triangle to Tube Investments; this would form part of the Machine Tools Division with V. L. Churchill and Joseph Bradbury[43] the largest group in Britain in vehicle service equipment. At the same time TI disposed of most of the rest of its interest in Churchill Tools and Services, distributors of small tools[44]

1971 Acquired Turnright Controls.[45]

1973 Tube Investments in conjunction with General Electric of the USA acquired Allen West and Co[46]. Allen West operated in similar area to Simplex GE.

1974 Allan J. S. Deacy was appointed assistant managing director of TI Chesterfield. He succeeded Michael Evans who was appointed a director of TI (Export).[47]

1974 George Ashton was appointed managing director and chief executive of Tube Investments' newly constituted Machine Division.[48]. Within the machine division, the machine tool group included: Charles Churchill, Matrix Machine Tools, Matrix Engineering, Newcast Foundries, Matrix-Churchill International and Matrix-Churchill Corporation of USA; Walter T. Lees was appointed managing director of this group[49]

1974 Mr J. D. Johnson, managing director of the Industrial Electrical Division of TI, was appointed a director of Tube Investments.[50]

1974 Acquired Midland Aluminium, maker of Tower and Presto cookware and Glow Worm boilers[51]

1979 GE of USA acquired the whole of the jointly-owned industrial electrical business, including TI's distribution equipment and lighting companies[52].

1981 TI acquired King Fifth Wheel, a private US company, maker of components for jet engines, a business already served in Europe by TI Reynolds. KFW's wholly-owned subsidiary Abar had a factory in North Carolina making high vacuume furnaces for heat treatment[53]

1981 Glow Worm Boilers and Radiation-Ascot, both part of Tube Investments, were 2 of 6 boiler makers investigated for collusion in raising prices[54]

1981 Having failed to diversify its business to reduce reliance on the UK, Tube Investments suffered more than other engineering companies from the downturn in the UK economy. The principal areas of business were[55]:

1982 the company changed its name to TI Group plc, reflecting the changes in the nature of the business since it was originally formed[56]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia. Volume VIII. Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1955.
  2. The Times, 1 November 1919
  3. [1] Wikipedia
  4. The Times, Tuesday, Feb 14, 1961
  5. The Times, 9 December 1920
  6. The Times, 8 December 1921
  7. The Times, 2 December 1926
  8. The Times, 28 November 1928
  9. The Times, 1 April 1929
  10. The Times, 12 December 1929
  11. The Times, 15 July 1930
  12. The Times, 11 October 1930
  13. The Times, 3 December 1931
  14. The Times, 23 June 1932
  15. The Times, 6 December 1932
  16. The Times, Friday, Apr 09, 1937
  17. The Times, Mar 25, 1941
  18. The Times, Nov 30, 1948
  19. The Times, Dec 17, 1948
  20. The Times, Dec 14, 1950
  21. The Times, 1 October 1953
  22. The Times, Aug 21, 1954
  23. The Times Nov 16, 1954
  24. The Times, 16 November 1956
  25. The Times, 21 August 1956
  26. The Times, 16 November 1956
  27. The Times, 4 March 1958
  28. The Times, 10 April 1958
  29. The Times, 4 December 1959
  30. The Times, 16 November 1960
  31. The Times, 18 January 1961
  32. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  33. The Times, March 1, 1962
  34. The Times, 21 December 1979
  35. Material relating to Simplex Electric Company Ltd [2]
  36. The Times, Feb 15, 1966
  37. The Times, 29 July 1967
  38. The Times, Apr 26, 1967
  39. The Times, 24 August 1967
  40. The Engineer of 26th April 1968 p650
  41. The Times, Apr 09, 1969
  42. The Times, May 13, 1969
  43. The Times, 28 July 1970
  44. The Times, Jul 28, 1970
  45. The Times, January 30, 1971
  46. The Times, 12 January 1973
  47. The Engineer 1974/05/02
  48. The Engineer 1974/05/02
  49. The Times Sept. 12, 1974
  50. The Engineer 1974/05/30
  51. The Times, Dec 17, 1974
  52. The Times, 21 December 1979
  53. The Times, May 06, 1981
  54. The Times, Jun 30, 1981
  55. The Times, Dec 30, 1981
  56. The Times, Mar 11, 1982