Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Jonas Woodhead and Sons

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of Kirkstall Road, Leeds 4.

Manufacturer of all kinds of ironwork, axles and springs for road vehicles. Later became a leading maker of automobile springs supplying most British car manufacturers.

1850 Company was founded in Bradford by Jonas Woodhead.

1861 Employing 5 Men and 4 Boys.[1]

1871 Employing 10 Men and 5 Boys.[2]

1881 Employing 22 Men and 4 Boys.[3]

c.1892 moved to Leeds.

1920 The business Jonas Woodhead and Sons of Leeds was acquired by A Darracq (1905) Ltd for its automobile springs.[4] The name of the parent company was subsequently changed to S. T. D. Motors Ltd.

1920 Private company incorporated to take over the business of Jonas Woodhead and Sons of Leeds.

1920 Jonas Woodhead, managing director and grandson of the founder, visited America to learn about improvements made by American manufacturers of springs during WW1.[5].

c.1920 the firm concentrated on laminated springs. The whole plant was rebuilt and new machinery installed. The business also extended into railway and tramway springs.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1935 Receivers appointed to S. T. D. Motors Ltd. Disposal of interest in Jonas Woodhead and Sons[6] to Mr A. G. Kyle who sold it on to the bank Erlangers Ltd.[7]

1935 Company made public. Kyle became managing director and Jonas Woodhead was sales manager.[8]

1937 Frank Woodhead, brother of Jonas, resigned from the company.[9]

1938 Acquired controlling interest in Willford and Co of Sheffield.[10]

1939 Acquired Ibbotson Brothers and Co Ltd of Sheffield; increase in capital to cover the cost.[11]

1944 Advert for trunnion end springs for heavy transport vehicles

1961 Vehicle suspension specialists, producing laminated and coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers for road and rail vehicles, pressed steel products, fabricated steel work, structural steel work, conveyor idlers and agricultural implements. 2,000 employees. [12]

1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Coil Spring, torsion bars etc. Three companies grouped together are Jonas Woodhead and Sons, Woodhead-Monroe and William E. Cary. [13]

1969 Toledo Woodhead Springs accepted offer from Jonas Woodhead and Sons in preference to lower offer from Armstrong Equipment.[14]

1970 Agreement to exchange technical information with Hoesch of Germany which would enable supply of parts to car companies who wanted to manufacture across Europe.[15]

1985 Sale of shock absorber division as Woodhead Manufacturing Co to Helmart.[16]

Name change to Jonas Woodhead - (dropped the 'and Sons' part)

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1881 Census
  4. The Times, 10 March 1924
  5. The Times, 18 December 1920
  6. The Times, 22 April 1936
  7. The Times, 24 May 1935
  8. The Times, 24 May 1935
  9. The Times, Oct 20, 1969
  10. The Times, 29 December 1939
  11. The Times, 18 March 1939
  12. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  13. 1963 Motor Show
  14. The Times, 6 November 1969
  15. The Times, 17 February 1970
  16. The Times, 8 October 1985
  • The Modern Diesel edited by Geoffrey Smith. Published by Iliffe & Sons 1944