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Cambridge Instrument Co, maker of scientific and medical instruments
of 13 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1. Telephone: Sloane 9164 (5 lines). Cables: "Unipivot, Sowest, London". (1947)
1881 Cambridge Scientific Instrument Co established by Horace Darwin and Albert George Dew-Smith to manufacture scientific instruments. Darwin was first apprenticed to an engineering firm in Kent, and returned to Cambridge in 1875. Dew-Smith was an engineer and instrument maker who was at Trinity College, Cambridge with Darwin. The company started with the two founders, three mechanics and two boys.
1894 Moved from Panton Street to St. Tibb's Row, Cambridge
1895 Public company. Moved to new premises in Chesterton Road.
1895 The partnership became a Limited Liability Company.
Gained sole rights to produce the Callendar Recorder
1898 Robert Stewart Whipple was appointed personal assistant to Horace Darwin, and later became Managing Director and Chairman of the company. He amassed a unique collection of antique scientific instruments that he donated to found the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in 1944.
1919 Name changed.
1924 Became the Cambridge Instrument Co. The name was shortened when it was converted to a Public limited company.
1931 The Cambridge Works were concerned mainly with the manufacture of scientific apparatus designed for special purposes, and of mechanical, physical, gas-analysis and temperature-measuring instruments. The Muswell Hill Works dealt mainly with electrical instruments.
1937 Scientific instrument makers. 
1933 R. M. Mallock designed an early calculating machine.
S. W. J. Stubbens, a foreman, left to form Unicam Instruments.
1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Scientific and Industrial Precision Instruments for almost every purpose including Measurement and Control of Temperature, Pressure, Humidity, Electrical Measurements, Chemical and Gas Analysis, Engineering Instruments, Medical and Special Research Instruments. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1078) 
1958 Introduced the electron probe microanalyser, for non-destructive determination of the elements within a very small area of a specimen. Although originally designed for metallurgical and mineralogical specimens it was later to be used by chemists and biologists.
1959 Shares floated on Stock Exchange
1961 Manufacturers of scientific instruments, including temperature measuring instruments, precision electrical measuring instruments, also indicators, recorders, controllers and medical instruments. 
1964 The scanning electron microscope was introduced, developed from Cambridge University's Engineering Department's work. This had advantages over the established transmission electron microscope, which used very thin specimens, in that solid specimens could be examined.
1968 The company was taken over by the George Kent Group, helped by the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, forming the largest independent British manufacturer of industrial instruments. The company was split between 4 divisions.
1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement 
US and Japanese competitors were winning business from Cambridge for electron microscopes; the company was making a loss.
1974 George Kent was acquired by Brown, Boveri and Co. The group was split into two parts Brown Boveri Kent and a new company Scientific and Medical Instruments which would take in Cambridge Instrument Co; SMI needed state aid in order to establish the business
1975 Scientific and Medical Instruments was merged with a private company Metals Research and renamed Cambridge Instrument Co but losses continued because of downturn in the market for scientific instruments
Ownership by the National Enterprise Board enabled major reorganization of the company.
The company achieved a number of firsts - a machine for producing gallium phosphide commercially for use in LEDs; a commercial brain scanner; one of the world's first scanning electron microscopes; the first commercial epitaxial reactor to deposit semiconductor material on silicon wafers
1979 Cambridge Instruments was one of the first of the NEB's companies to be privatized
1980 Acquired 2 of the medical equipment divisions of Warner-Lambert; also launched electron microscopes and electron beam machines for manufacturing microprocessors; developing robots and automation equipment
Picker was then merged with the medical instrument division of Cambridge Instrument Co, GEC Medical Equipment, and American Optical to form Picker International, 80 percent owned by GEC and 20 percent by Cambridge Instruments.
1987 Company floated on the Stock Exchange