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 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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December 1939
April 1943.
August 1945.
Dec 1945. Napier: Sabre.
Sept. 1946.
August 1951.
October 1951.
Sept 1953.
January 1957.
April 1957.

Rotax Ltd, of Willesden Junction

1926 Lucas took over C. A. Vandervell and Co and Rotax Motor Accessories Co. The consideration of £707,217 for the purchase of Rotax was satisfied partly in cash but for the most part by the issue of Lucas £1 Ordinary shares. Lucas decided to concentrate manufacture of equipment for the heavier types of vehicles in C. A. Vandervell and Co and to develop Rotax for the manufacture of equipment for aircraft.

1933 Rotax Ltd was put into voluntary liquidation[1]

1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Electrical Equipment for Modern Aircraft. Also Electrical Tools for Industrial and Garage Equipment: Drills, Polishers, Valve Refacers, Sanders and Grinders, Aircraft Electrical Equipment, Rotary Converters, Car Equipment, etc. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. Cb.601) [2]

1937 Lighting and starting equipment, magnetos and radio equipment. "Rotax" Aviation Equipment. [3]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

From this time, Rotax Ltd, wholly-owned subsidiary of Lucas, was concerned principally with the production of equipment for aircraft.

Post WWII: Rotax's business declined by 90 percent compared with its wartime activities[4]

1965 Developed gas turbine starters in conjunction with Rover[5]

1968 Rotax took over the GEC-AEI aircraft equipment plant at Coventry and moved most of the operations to Hemel Hempstead[6]

1969 Acquired Vactric Control Equipment and the Special Products Group of GEC-English Electric which was that company's involvement in electrical engineering for aircraft[7]

1970 Closed the company's second largest factory at Willesden due to lack of orders from new projects for aircraft starters[8]

1971 Became part of Lucas Aerospace

1972 Sold Vactric Control Equipment to Muirhead and Co[9]

1978 One of the 2 factories at Hemel Hempstead was closed[10]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 11 April 1933
  2. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p637; and p408
  3. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  4. The Times, Dec 12, 1945
  5. The Times, Nov 24, 1965
  6. The Times, Apr 26, 1968
  7. The Times, Nov 18, 1969
  8. The Times, Oct 08, 1970
  9. The Times, Apr 12, 1972
  10. The Times, Apr 10, 1978