Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,470 pages of information and 233,895 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

MK Electric

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January 1936.
May 1936.
June 1936.
September 1937.
March 1946.
September 1953.
July 1961.
January 1969.

M.K. Electric Ltd of Wakefield Street, Edmonton, London, N18

1923 Formerly Heavy Current Electric Accessories Co and became MK Electric.[1]

The company invented the modern light switch. [evidence?]

Initially the company's sole product was the quaintly-named Multy Kontact socket (hence M.K.). This was safer and worked more effective than the split pin-style sockets that were on the market at the time. The Multy Kontact caught the attention of the British Engineering Standards Association (BESA), which revised its standards to match the levels of self-adjustment and contact-making it introduced, effectively making the Multy Kontact the standard socket.[2]

1926 Added a small electroplating operation to the factory.

1926 Established Insulators Ltd, a partly owned subsidiary which manufactured plastic mouldings for a range of trade customers

By 1928 MK was using the new insulating material Bakelite. MK also introduced the first ever shuttered socket, concealing the socket tubes and eliminating the alarming flash invariably accompanying plug withdrawal from old fashioned sockets. These became the foundation for the British domestic electrical system

1933 Established a subsidiary Knightshades Ltd

1937 Manufacturers of electrical accessories. "M.K." Electrical Accessories. [3]

WWII The company switched most of its production to detonators, firing systems and centrifuges needed for the war effort. Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters all used MK products.

Early 1960s: the company opened a factory in Southend.

1966 Share issue. Directors are Charles Leonard Arnold, Reginald William Dowsett, William Charles Waghorne (MD of Insulators) and Francis David O'Brien Newman.[4]

1968 Charles Arnold retired from the chairmanship of the company and sold 25 percent of the equity in the company, retaining 10 percent[5]

1969 Charles Arnold died at age of 83.

1982 Acquired Chloride Gent[6]

1984: 100 millionth Safetyplug was produced.

Also had a factory in St Asaph.

1987 Acquired by RTZ, becoming part of RTZ Pillar[7]

2013 Now part of Honeywell

See here for company history, with a timeline showing pioneering products.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Monday, Jan 24, 1966
  2. [1] 100 Years of MK Electrical - Aidan Hayes, Electrical Magazine, 11th February 2019
  3. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  4. The Times, Monday, Jan 24, 1966
  5. The Times, Feb 17, 1968
  6. The Times Jul 29, 1982
  7. The Times, December 17, 1987
  • MK Electric website [2]