GKN plc of Birmingham, a British engineering company formerly known as Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds which can trace its origins back to 1759 and the birth of the industrial revolution.
These mergers heralded half a century in which the name Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds became synonymous with the manufacture of screws, nuts, bolts and other fasteners. The company reflected the vertical integration fashionable at the time embracing activities from coal and ore extraction, and iron and steel-making to manufacturing finished goods.
1911 Listed as manufacturer of Bolts and Nuts for the Railways
1914 Listed as ironmasters, steel manufacturers. 
1919 Absorbed the extensive nut and bolt and other interests of F. W. Cotterill, of Darlaston, this firm having previously absorbed John Garrington and Sons, forming the largest nut and bolt company in the country.
1920 Acquired John Lysaght which brought in works at Newport which were the "largest and best equipped in the UK for manufacture of black and galvanised sheet", large constructional iron and steel works at Bristol, and five blast furnaces and an up-to-date steel works and adjoining ironstone reserves at Scunthorpe. This purchase also included the whole of the ordinary shares of Joseph Sankey and Sons .
1920 Acquired Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss
1921 The chairman, Edward Steer, mentioned to the annual meeting that he had started work with Nettlefold and Chamberlain 52 years ago. Most of the preference shares in John Lysaght had now been acquired as well as 99% of the Ordinary shares.
Acquisition of a controlling interest in Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss, of Wolverhampton, makers of wrought iron, gate and fencing products.
1926 December: Work was resumed in the rolling department of the company's iron and steel works at Dowlais, after a stoppage of about eight months, while the same company's Dowlais Works at Cardiff re-started the day after. About 800 men commenced work immediately, while the remainder of the workmen were taken on as soon as coke was available to relight the blast furnaces.
1930 Contributed its Welsh collieries to the formation of Welsh Associated Collieries
1930 Contributed its collieries to the new Welsh Associated Collieries Ltd
1934 New works constructed at Dowlais.
1935 Guest, Keen and Piggotts closed
1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Nettlefolds Screws. Screws, Bolts and Nuts, Rivets, Cotter Pins, Set Screws, Screw Hooks, Screw Eyes, Gate Hooks and Eyes, Porcelain Enamelled Screw Hooks, Nails, Wire, Clout, Pipe Brads, Panel Pins, Wire Netting Fasteners, Plyers, Patent "Hank" Rivets, Brushes, Nettlefolds' Parker-Kalon Hardened Self Tapering Screws, Drive Screws, Screw Nails, Masonry Nails, Thumb Screws, Wing Nuts. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. B.606 )  Manufacturers of screws, bolts and nuts. 
1940 Advert. Nuts, screws and other fixings. 
1941 AA image on this page. 
1945 Advert. Hardened self-tapping screws under the name of Nettlefords-Parker-Kalon (N. P. K.). From Birmingham. 
1945 Advert. Foundation bolts and locknuts from the Nut and Bolt section of Atlas Works, Darlaston.
1949 Six subsidiaries were identified for nationalisation - the holding company, 39 domestic subsidiaries and 19 foriegn subsidiaries were to be excluded from nationalisation. After further negotiation, only 4 subsidiary companies were to be nationalised
1951 A new subsidiary, Blade Research and Development (BRD) was formed at Aldridge, Staffordshire, to produce aero-engine turbine and compressor blades. For a detailed account of the business, see here
- Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds (South Wales) Ltd
- John Lysaght's Scunthorpe Works
- Brymbo Steelworks
- Guest, Keen Baldwins Iron and Steel Co
By 1952 was offering the N. P. K. screw with Phillips recessed head
- Brymbo Steelworks Ltd
- John Lysaght's Scunthorpe Works including its wholly owned subsidiary Scunthorpe Rod Mill Ltd
1961 Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds Ltd are a holding company for 83 subsidiaries with 75,000 employees. 
1961 GKN Steel Company formed to incorporate all of the steel companies in the group
1961 Manufacturers of grey iron castings for the Automobile Industry, British Railways, and miscellaneous castings, including cable brackets for the underground railways. 1,219 employees (not sure which part this refers to). 
1962 Acquired Acton Bolt Ltd
1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Fastenings made by the Heath Street Division. 
1964 The company had a dominant position in fasteners but was otherwise just a medium-sized engineering group with steel interests
1965 With increasing demand for steel reinforcements for buildings, the group had acquired in 1964 a Scottish piling and foundations contractor, Caledonian Foundations; this was combined with a complementary pile-driving company, Holmpress Piles, to form GKN Foundations
1966 Business re-organised, with the UK business arranged into 8 sub-groups:
- GKN Steel Co, Cardiff - Brymbo Steel Works, Wrexham; Guest Keen Iron and Steel Works, Cardiff; Lysaght's Scunthorpe Works; The Glamorgan Hematite Iron Co, Pontyclun.
- GKN Rolled and Bright Steel Products, Smethwick - Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds (South Wales) Ltd, Cardiff; Ledloy Ltd, Stockport; Executors of James Mills Ltd, Stockport and Wolverhampton; Parson Ltd, Birmingham; Frederick A. Power and Son, Birmingham; Somerset Wire Co, Cardiff, Bridgwater; Thomas White and Sons (Birmingham) Ltd.
- GKN Forgings and Castings, Bromsgrove - B. R. D. Co Ltd, Aldridge; Garringtons Ltd, Bromsgrove; Guest Keen and Nettlefold (Cwmbran) Ltd; Oswald Transport Ltd, Ayr; Precision Forgings Ltd, Cwmbran; The Scottish Stamping and Engineering Co Ltd, Ayr; C. and B. Smith Ltd, Wolverhampton; Smith's Stamping Works (Coventry) Ltd; Smith-Clayton Forge, Lincoln; Ambrose-Shardlow and Co Ltd, Sheffield.
- Joseph Sankey and Sons Ltd, Bilston
- GKN Bolts and Nuts, Bilston - Acton Bolt Division, London; Atlas Division, Darlaston; A. P. Newall Division, Glasgow; L. H. Newton Division, Birmingham; Rivet Bolt and Nut Division, Coatbridge.
- GKN Screws and Fasteners, Birmingham - Heath Street Division, Birmingham; Kings Norton Division, Birmingham; The British Screw Co Ltd, Leeds; T. J. Brooks (Leicester) Ltd; Floform Ltd, Newtown, Mons; Thomas Haddon and Stokes Ltd, Birmingham; Thomas P. Hawkins Ltd, Birmingham; Ionic Plating Co Ltd, Birmingham; Frederick Mountford (Birmingham) Ltd; Premier Screw and Repetition Co Ltd, Leicester.
- GKN Engineering Equipment, Wolverhampton - Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss, Wolverhampton; Birwelco Ltd, Brown Fintube Ltd, Birmingham; Dowlais Foundry and Engineering Co Ltd, Merthyr Tydfil; Industrial Control Systems Ltd, Northampton; Lincoln Electric Co Ltd, Welwyn Garden City; Peco Machinery Co Ltd, London; Welsh Metal Industries Caerphilly.
- GKN Building Supplies and Services, London - GKN Foundations, Coventry; GKN Reinforcements, Smethwick; Injection Moulders, London; Kaiser Floors, Smethwick; John Lysaght's Bristol Works, Bristol; Mills Scaffold Co, London; Servotomic, London; The Simplicity Heater Co, London; The Tentor Bar Co, Smethwick.
- Other Companies - Crompton Nettlefold Stenman, Ashton-in-Makerfield; Rheem Lysaght, Bristol; GKN (Northern Ireland), Belfast; Davis and Timmins, Birmingham; W. Galloway and Co, Blaydon-on-Tyne; John Lysaght (Services), London; Nettlefold and Moser, London.
- Overseas Companies.
1967 Acquired Birfield Industries including its subsidiary Hardy Spicer and Co of Birmingham becoming part of GKN Transmissions. Hardy Spicer made constant-velocity joints which, historically, had few applications, even following the improved design proposed by Alfred H. Rzeppa in 1936. In 1959, Alec Issigonis had developed the revolutionary Mini motor car which relied on such joints for its novel front wheel drive technology. The massive expansion in the exploitation of front wheel drive in the 1970s and 1980s led to the acquisition of other similar businesses, such as Vandervell Products, leading to a 43% share of the world market by 2002.
1967 GKN South Wales was one of the larger steel re-rollers not subject to nationalisation
1968 Start of move to build a large position in steel stockholding.
1969 Acquired R. H. Windsor, makers of plastics machinery
1972 GKN acquired Firth Cleveland for its complementary interests in hot and cold rolled strip, sintered products, reinforcements, wire fasteners and garage equipment; GKN had not decided what to do with the retail side of the business
By 1974 the company had re-created itself as an integrated steel company, producing it, converting it and either selling it or using it to manufacture its own automotive products, fasteners and engineering and building products
1974 GKN reorganised its engineering sub-group into 3 parts:
- Contracting - GKN Contractors and GKN Birwelco
- Welding, heating and melting - GKN Lincoln Electric and GKN Birwelco (Uskside)
- Plastics machinery - GKN Windsor
1974 Mr. I. F. Donald was appointed Chairman of GKN Powder Metallurgy and Mr. M. O. Bumfrey continued as managing director. Mr. P. B. Hamilton was appointed a non-executive director. Mr. C. J. Williams and Mr. C. T. Taylor resigned their appointments on the board of the company. Mr. Williams and Mr. H. D. Browne remained a non-executive director.
1976 Formation of GKN Keller, bringing together GKN Foundations with its subsidiary Johann Keller
During the 1980s, GKN sought to invest its earnings from constant-velocity joints in developing other nascent technologies.
1981 British Steel forged a new £130 million joint company with GKN and bought out the steelmaking businesses of the ailing private sector group Duport. The interests acquired comprised of London Works, Flather Bright Steels and Nationwide Steel Stock. The Corporation followed this with the formation of a new steel company Allied Steel and Wire. This joint venture company of British Steel and GKN merged their interests in rod and bar production.
- Twiflex Couplings
- Premier Screw and Repetition
- Firth Cleveland Engineering
- George F. Homer (Redditch)
- R. G. Seyers
1991 the company abandoned further research in novel technologies and re-diverted its development efforts towards its constant-velocity joint business in which it was facing increasing competition from Japan. During the same period, the company finally withdrew from the manufacture of fasteners and from steel production. Changing its name to GKN plc, it diversified into military vehicles, aerospace and industrial services.
1994 GKN acquired the helicopter manufacturing business of Westland Aircraft.
1998 the armoured vehicle business was sold to Alvis plc, and subsequently incorporated into Alvis Vickers Ltd.
From the late 1990s, the company built a major global business in powder metallurgy, which operates as the GKN Sinter Metals group.
July 2000, Finmeccanica and GKN agreed to merge their respective helicopter subsidiaries to form AgustaWestland.
2004 GKN completed the sale of its 50% shareholding in Agusta Westland to Finmeccanica.
GKN's turnover for the year ended 31 December 2004 was just under £3.5 billion.
2015 GKN Plc. Revenue £7.7bn. Divisions are GKN Aerospace (inc acquisition of Fokker for £480 million), GKN Driveline, GKN Powder Metallurgy and GKN Land Systems. 56,100 employees worldwide with 6,000 in UK.
2018 Acquired by Melrose
Manufactured a number of steam locomotives for their own use:-
- 1906 Locomotive built at Ifor
- 1908 Locomotive built at Ifor
- 1911 Locomotive built at Cwmbran
- 1912 Locomotive built at Ifor
- 1914 Locomotive built at Cwmbran
- 1915 Locomotive built at Ifor
- 1916 Locomotive built at Dowlais
- 1917 Locomotive built at Ifor
- 1919 Locomotive built at Dowlais
- 1920 Locomotive built at Ifor. The last at these works and a total of nine engines.
- 1928 Locomotive built at Cwmbran
Sources of Information
-  Wikipedia
- The Times, Tuesday, Feb 04, 1902
- Bradshaw’s Railway Manual 1911
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- The Times, 27 August 1920
- The Times, 16 September 1021
- The Times, Jun 27, 1925
- The Engineer 1926/02/19
- The Engineer 1926/12/17
- The Times Nov. 11, 1929
- The Times Nov. 11, 1929
- The Times, Jun 26, 1930
- 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p627; and p371
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- Mechanical World Year Book 1940. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p143-5
-  Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry
- Mechanical World Year Book 1945. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p177-9
- The Times, Feb 06, 1948
- The Times, Feb 07, 1949
- The Times, Jun 25, 1949
-  Early Days at BRD by John L. Edwards, 1995
- The Times, 13 October 1953
- The Times July 3, 1952
- The Times, 29 June 1956
- The Times, 29 June 1956
- The Times, Oct 19, 1957
- 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
- The Times, Aug 19, 1960
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- 1963 Motor Show
- The Times, Feb 23, 1978
- The Times May 05, 1965
- The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Aug 14, 1985
- The Times, Apr 06, 1966
- The Times, 26 January 1968
- The Times, Apr 26, 1967
- The Times, Jan 14, 1970
- The Times, Jun 21, 1972
- The Times, 21 March 1974
- The Times, Apr 13, 1974
- The Times, Feb 23, 1978
- The Engineer 1974/02/28
- The Times, May 16, 1974
- The Engineer 1974/05/30
- The Times May 03, 1990
- The Times February 19, 1975
- The Times, Dec 31, 1975
- The Times, Apr 30, 1980
- The Engineer 1981/02/26
- The Times, Jan 15, 1983
- The Times, 30 July 1985
- The Times, 14 August 1985
- The Times May 03, 1990
- 2015 Annual Report