Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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W. H. Allen, Sons and Co

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1897. Centrifugal Pumping Engines.
1897. Surface Condenser for Electric Light Engines.
1897. Compound Engine and Dynamo.
1897. Compound Engine and Dynamo.
1899. Compound condensing plant.
1902. Wallasey Dock pumping plant.
1904. Pumping engine for the new south dock at Cardiff.
1904 Steam engine driving centrifugal pump for Kobe Floating Dock
1906. Allen-Edwards air pump
1906. Allen-Edwards air pump
Turbine Pump for Mining Purposes. 1907.
1909. Oil engine driving a turbine pump.
1909. 2-2.5 hp oil engine and dynamo set.
1909. Pumps and turbines for circulating condensing water.
1909. Oil engine driving a turbine pump.
1909. 2-2.5 hp oil engine and dynamo set.
Pumps and turbines for circulating condensing water. Plant For Newcastles Corporation Tramways. 1909.
1909. Electric lighting set for SS Tortuguero.
1914. The Fullager gas engine.
1914. Pumping station at Royal Albert Docks.
Le Rhône engine made by W H Allen, on display at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle.
Detail of Le Rhône engine made by W H Allen, on display at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle.
Allen 2-stroke semi-diesel engine at the Internal Fire Museum of Power.
c1927. 70 hp 2-stroke semi-diesel engine. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
1928. Six cylinder generator set for HMS Rodney.
1929. Cairo min drainage.
1933. Turbine Driven Axial flow Circulating Pump.
1933. Drum Type Starting Panel.
1933. D.C. Ventilated Drip-Proof Motor.
1933. Screen-Protected D.C. Motor.
1933. 550 B.H.P. Six Cylinder Oil Engine.
1933. 134 B.H.P. Four Cylinder Marine Oil Engine.
1933. 50 kw. Geared Marine Turbo Generator Set.
1934. Allen S47. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
1936. Turbine driven cooling water pumps for an oil refinery.
1938. Allen S30. 120 hp at 600 rpm. Four-cylinder diesel. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
1943. Allen 8S30. 8-cylinder. 320 hp at 600 rpm. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
March 1946.
1947. 10kW steam generating set.
1950. Turbo-Alternator on Test.
Allen 6S37. 500 bhp at 375 rpm. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
250 kva 3-phase generator. Exhibit at Internal Fire Museum of Power.
March 1957.
1964. V-form engines.

W. H. Allen, Sons and Co of Queen's Engineering Works, Bedford.

1880 Company established as W. H. Allen and Co by William Henry Allen at York Street Works, Lambeth, London.

1889 William took his son Richard into partnership.

1894 Queen's works constructed at Bedford; business moved there from Lambeth. Name changed to W. H. Allen Son and Company.

1894 Catalogue of Condensing plant. (W. H. Allen of Lambeth). [1]

1900 Incorporated as a limited company (W. H. Allen Son and Co Ltd). The company was registered on 29 July, to acquire a business of mechanical, hydraulic and electrical engineers. [2]

1900 Catalogue of two-crank enclosed compound engine. [3]

1900 Supplied condensing plant for the Port Dundas Electricity Supply Works in Glasgow (W. H. Allen and Son). [4]

1904 Supplied steam-driven centrifugal pump for Kobe Floating Dock, Japan. [5]. See photo.

1907 Agreement reached between Richard Allen and Percy Crowe and Herr Kraus of Gesellschaft fur Electrische Industri, Karlsruhe, for the manufacture under licence in Bedford of the Electra radial flow impulse turbine, in accordance with the designs of a Herr Kolb.[6]

1908 Two sets of irrigation pumps supplied to Egypt consisting of compound steam engines and a turbine pump in one case and a Conqueror pump in the other[7].

1914 Mechanical, hydraulic and electrical engineers. Specialities: high-speed steam engines, centrifugal pumps and pumping engines for irrigation, drainage etc.; auxiliary machinery in connection with warships and the mercantile marine; independent condensing plants, turbine pumps, motors and dynamo electric machinery. Employees 1,000. [8]

1920 Name changed to W. H. Allen Sons and Co Ltd.

1920 Four-cylinder hot-bulb heavy oil engine. Illustration and description. [9]

1920 Showed three sizes of their surface ignition engines working on the two-stroke cycle and using heavy oil at the Darlington Agricultural Show. [10]

1921-1933 period of losses by the business.

1922 Mr F. M. Jones formerly of the BTH and lately assistant manager of Boving and Co and Electro-Metals, joins the company.[11]

1924 Appointed Messrs. R. Norman Button and Co., of Central Chambers, High-street, Sheffield, to represent them in that district for the sale of their heavy fuel oil engines. The Sheffield firm was associated with Messrs. Allen's Manchester office in this connection. [12]

Post-WWI: The company was awarded £7,500 by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors for a system of air supply for boiler rooms on ships[13]

1937 Mechanical, hydraulic and electrical engineers.

1944 Producing five, six and eight cylinder diesel engines for the railways.

1944 Producing a range of engines for marine use with two to eight cylinders and 27 to 350 bhp.

Producing the T47 of three to eight cylinders

1952 Converted into public company[14]. Approximately 2400 employees[15].

1956 Share issue to finance expansion at Bedford and new factory at Pershore.

1957 Substantial new business in pumps for nuclear power stations and generators for nuclear submarines, in addition to existing business for shipbuilding and industrial plant, including steam turbines, gas turbines, epicyclic gears, a.c. machines[16].

1960 W. H. Allen, Sons and Co acquired William Foster and Co, including its wholly owned subsidiary Gwynnes Pumps Ltd[17].

1961 Mechanical, electrical and hydraulic engineers handling power plants including diesel engines, steam turbines, steam engines and condensing-feed systems, pumping plant, electrical equipment including generators and switchgear, gearing and marine electrical generating plant, pumping plant, electrical equipment, air supply to boiler rooms and gearing. 2,500 employees. [18]

1961 Company now organised around 5 product groups: Turbines, Pumps, Diesel, Electrical, and Gearing, each of which was self-contained[19].

1962 With Clarke, Chapman and Co, jointly purchased Nelson Engineering Company, makers of smaller electric motors which would be supplied to the 3 companies. Acquired most of the shares in J. P. Hall and Sons[20].

1963 Acquired licence to make and sell electrical machines using Brown, Boveri and Co designs. Reorganisation on divisional basis with turbine, diesel and electrical machinery in Bedford division, gearing in Pershore, hydraulics in Lincoln division. Gwynnes Pumps at Lincoln renamed Allen Gwynne Pumps, with staff transferred to Lincoln from Bedford and Hammersmith, and premises sold. Fall in demand for Hall's products so business amalgamated with Pershore[21].

1960s developed epicyclic gears for use with Stal-Laval's A.P. series of marine turbines[22]

1967 Talks between W. H. Allen, Sons and Co, Mather and Platt and G. and J. Weir about rationalisation of pumps businesses eventually failed to reach agreement after almost 1 year[23].

1968 Supplied diesel alternator sets for the Winfrith power station[24]

1968 Merger of W. H. Allen, Sons and Co and Belliss and Morcom; new holding company known as The Amalgamated Power Engineering Company Ltd (APE) would be owned 60:40 by Allen's and Belliss's shareholders[25].

1989 Became part of Rolls-Royce

2013 Allen Gears of Pershore bought by GE Oil & Gas, to integrate Allen Gears' Industrial Gear Business into Lufkin's Power Transmission Division.

2021 Allen Gears owned by Baker Hughes.

Note See W. H. Allen Engineering Association' and link to an extensive collection of W H Allen heritage magazines and technical engineering documents dating from 1880 to 2020.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer of 27th April 1894 p360
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Engineer of 23rd February 1900. p264
  4. The Engineer of 14th September 1900 p253
  5. [[1]] The Engineer, 22nd July 2004
  6. 'The Story of Queen's Engineering Works Bedford' by Michael R. Lane, Unicorn Press, 1995, p.43
  7. The Times, 6 May 1908
  8. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  9. The Engineer of 12th March 1920 p278
  10. The Engineer of 9th July 1920
  11. The Engineer 1922/05/05.
  12. The Engineer 1924/07/25
  13. The Times, Jan 13, 1925
  14. The Times, 13 October 1952
  15. The Times, 24 October 1952
  16. The Times, 25 June 1957
  17. The Times, 19 June 1961
  18. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  19. The Times, 19 June 1961
  20. The Times, 19 June 1962
  21. The Times, 25 June 1963
  22. The Times Jun 01, 1967
  23. The Times, 18 January 1967
  24. The Engineer of 8th March 1968 p399
  25. The Times, 17 February 1968
  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
  • The Modern Diesel edited by Geoffrey Smith. Published by Iliffe & Sons 1944
  • A-Z of British Stationary Engines by Patrick Knight. Published 1996. ISBN 1 873098 37 5