Rotary Unions, Swivel Joints,
Air Breather Filters, Flexible Hoses


Designed and Manufactured in the UK, Supplied Worldwide for over 75 years.

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The History of Filton - the 1940's

Wednesday 12th January 2022

This year we are celebrating 80 years in manufacturing.
Today's blog looks at the formation of the company and its growth throughout the 1940's

The History of Filton - the 1940's

Filton Limited was formed in 1942 by William Murray for the manufacture of oil seals for Rotating Shafts.

William Murray came from a marine engineering background, completing an apprenticeship in a Dundee shipyard. After his apprenticeship he moved into technical sales on flowmeters and rotary seal rings and packings.


Later, Charles Weston & Co was formed by William Murray to manufacture oil seals for rotating shafts.  A few years on and Mr Murray formed Filton Limited. The Filton factory was originally established at The Wharf, Clapham Street, Leamington Spa.  The country was at war at the time and the intention was to supply these vital seals to the Ministry of Supply.  This was, however, frustrated by an existing trade association.


Despite this setback Filton did succeed with its war effort by supplying propeller shaft oil seals to aircraft engine manufacturers and the machining of precision aircraft parts. After wartime hostilities had ceased, the number of aircraft seal and precision component orders started to dwindle, this led Filton to look for opportunities in other areas.


Filton’s catalogue of seals started to grow, some metal bellows type face seals had been manufactured for aircraft and car water pumps. Seal face lapping techniques were developed for the aircraft water pump seals.


The refrigeration industry was growing rapidly and there was an application for bellows seals to be used on the crankshaft of compressors. Filton manufactured rotary seal rings for refrigerator compressors into the 1980’s.  Production quantities gradually decreased after design changes in the refrigeration industry eliminated the conventional reciprocating compressor.


Metal bellows seals were designed and manufactured for crawler tractors and rear axles for motor companies amongst other opportunities. Filton purchased one of the first induction heaters to replace the existing method of soft soldering by hand.  This led to increased productivity and improved quality.


Oil seals were manufactured for gear box shafts on dishwashing machines for the catering industry. As demand for dishwashing machines increased, Filton manufactured and assembled the gear boxes themselves.


During the latter half of 1949 a request for the repair of a bellows seal mounted on a hollow shaft was received. This was a significant point in Filton’s history. In due course it was discovered that this unit fitted into a housing with pipework connections and was what we now know as a Rotary Union.


Next month – the 1950’s.


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