Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,662 pages of information and 235,203 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

W. H. Dorman and Co

From Graces Guide
November 1913.
March 1914.
April 1914.
March 1919.
January 1920.
1922. Wave Generating Plant for Bombay.
October 1923.
September 1925.
September 1925.
1931. 12-26 B.H.P. Two Cylinder C.I. Oil Engine.
1933. 15 H.P. Oil Engine.
October 1936. Dorman-Ricardo Marine Engine. Type 34 D.S.M. 15/34 BHP.
October 1937. Dorman-Ricardo Marine Engine.
October 1938.
1948. Marine Oil Engines.
1951. Advert for high-grade cast iron castings, pressure die-castings and die-casting machines.
Model 2DWD
Entirely British made.

Engineers, of Stafford. London offices: St Bride's House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London EC


1870 William Henry Dorman started in business.

1875 Commenced, in partnership with Mr. W. Walker, the engineering business which has since been carried on in Foregate Street. At first the firm was known as Dorman and Walker[1].

1882 Subsequently it was converted into a limited liability company W. H. Dorman and Co

1897 The company was incorporated to develop and extend the business

For some years the firm specialised in the production of boot and shoe-making machinery and parts, first for the English and American Shoe Machinery Co.

1910 A special printing press was being made by the firm.

1911 William Henry Dorman retired from the business.

1911 Walter Haddon and Ivor L. James became joint managing directors[2]

1912 Began making internal combustion engines

1913 "Engineers to the (Motor) Trade; contractors to the Admiralty and War Office".[3]

1914 Claimed to be "internal combustion engine specialists"

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Marine Motors see the 1917 Red Book

1914 Offered to cooperate with British firms to make and market any machine or machine tool of German origin[4]

WWI Built many thousands of "C.C." interrupter gear for aircraft under licence from Walter Haddon and George Constantinesco[5]. Built many engines for the government.

1919 Walter Haddon was chairman and managing director

1920 At the Darlington Royal Agricultural Show they exhibited petrol driven lighting sets ranging from 5 - 20 kW.

1920 The Ordinary General Meeting heard about Dorman's capabilities in making engines, with wave transmission of power and the Hele-Shaw Hydraulic Clutch. A new factory was being built at Stafford[6]

1921 Mr John E. Dorman retires from director of the company to join the board of Henry Meadows[7], which made gearboxes often used with the company's engines.

1921 Flexstel expansible and flexible piping in steel[8]

1922 By legal action prevented Henry Meadows from using the name Dorman for their engines[9]

1922 Delivered rock-drilling equipment using the wave-transmission of power to the Bombay Municipality (consisting of three generators and rock drills and piping)[10]

1925 Took over production rights to small single cylinder oil-cooled engines designed by Granville Bradshaw and previously made by James Walmsley and Co (Preston). The engines continued to bear the name 'The Bradshaw' [11]

1926 29th January - Founder, Mr William Henry Dorman died at the age of 93.

1932 Introduced the Ricardo-Dorman Diesel engine in a six-cylinder and four types of four-cylinder versions.

1934 Orders for petrol engines continued to decline but those for diesels had increased[12]

1939 After a series of court cases when it looked like the company might go into bankruptcy, the company was turned round and paid its first dividend since 1919[13]

1944 Producing the DW and DL engines for marine use.

By 1956 Mr D. Haddon was chairman[14]

1958 Agreement with English Electric Co to cross-promote each other's diesel engines which were largely complementary sizes[15]

1959 W. H. Dorman and Co purchased W. G. Bagnall, a neighbouring Stafford railway engine maker, from Heenan and Froude in exchange for Dorman 'A' shares[16].

1961 English Electric Co acquired W. H. Dorman and Co[17].

1987 The Dorman Diesels business was bought by Broadcrown

1993 Perkins of Peterborough acquired Dorman Diesels.

Dorman Diesels Ltd, part of the Diesel and Marine Group, now provide spares and service. See Dorman Diesels website.

Engine types

  • DORMAN: 2DSM: 2 cylinders: 1200 RPM
  • DORMAN: 4DSM: 4 cylinders: 1200 RPM
  • DORMAN: 6Q: 6 cylinders: 1500 RPM
  • DORMAN: 6Q: 6 cylinders: 1800 RPM

Various users of Dorman engines

1914 Caledon a distributor for Commer found problems with supply and decided to set up its own production using Dorman engines

1920s Lacre Motor Car Co made three-wheel roadsweepers using a Dorman engine

1913 Pagefield produced the N model, a subsidy 4ton lorry using a 42hp Dorman engine and supplied 519 to the Forces. It remained in production until 1931

1919 Ruston and Hornsby attempted to diversify and one outcome was the Ruston-Hornsby car. Two versions were made, a 15.9 hp with a Dorman 2,614 cc engine and a larger 20hp model with 3,308 cc engine of their own manufacture. The cars were expensive and never reached the hoped for production volumes. About 1,500 were made between 1919 and 1924.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1926/02/05
  2. The Times, May 09, 1921
  3. The Times, Oct 01, 1913
  4. The Times, Aug 26, 1914
  5. The Times, Apr 17, 1919
  6. The Times, Oct 18, 1920
  7. The Engineer 1921/09/16
  8. The Times Apr 26, 1921
  9. The Times May 06, 1922
  10. The Engineer 1922/11/03
  11. 'Granville Bradshaw - a flawed genius?' by Barry M Jones, Panther Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978 0 9556595 4 6
  12. The Times, Sep 15, 1934
  13. The Times, Sep 15, 1939
  14. The Times, Sep 05, 1956
  15. The Times, Sep 22, 1958
  16. The Times, 28 January 1959
  17. The Times, 30 May 1961
  • The Engineer of 16th July 1920
  • The Modern Diesel edited by Geoffrey Smith. Published by Iliffe & Sons 1944