The History of Filton - the 1950's
Wednesday 16th February 2022
This year we are celebrating 80 years in manufacturing.
Today's blog looks at how the company changed and developed throughout the 1950's
This photo shows an old design of our rotary unions on drying cans at a textile mill.
This era saw significant development in the design and production of Rotary Unions. At the latter end of the forties the repair of existing Rotary Unions had been carried out. As more details of the application emerged William Murray recognised the potential for business development due to his previous experience of fluid flow and rotary seals.
A Rotary Union is a self-contained seal bearing support which can be attached to a rotating shaft for the leakproof transfer of fluids. The most commonly used fluids being steam, water, oil and air.
Over a few years the development, both of the market and the technical aspects, continued at a pace and by the end of the era Filton had a range of Rotary Unions available, ranging from ¼” to 3”.
The bellows seal used in the Filton Rotary Unions proved very successful, particularly on steam, where previously packed glands, with constant leakage, was the norm. The sealing efficiency of the bellows seal was such that ball bearings next to the seal were unaffected by leakages, something that would have been impossible with a packed gland.
The success of the Rotary Union also brought in more business for specifically designed bellows seals which could be built directly into customers’ machinery. This included some joints designed and manufactured for steam applications on textile machinery. The Filton bellows seal soon proved its worth on both high and sub-zero temperatures.
Some years later the first enquiry for a Rotary Union to be used with an unusual fluid came in. It was for use with a fluid containing starch and sulphur dioxide. After some research a Rotary Union constructed mainly of aluminium bronze and stainless steel was manufactured. This functioned well for an application associated with the production of corn flour.
As Filton’s name became associated with quality, many enquiries for applications beyond the capabilities of the current range were received. A number of the enquiries were for slow angular movements for hydraulic systems. This led to Filton designing simple swivel joint. Over the years the range of Swivel Joints has expanded to be used for many different applications.
During the 1950’s Filton expanded the product line once again by adding the Air Breather Filter, a product which Filton still produces. The Air Breather Filter is used on a variety of applications, including gear boxes and hydraulic reservoirs
By the mid 1950’s, with the growth in business, the workshops were quite inadequate. New machinery was purchased and housed in ‘temporary’ wooden sheds, which were only granted planning permission on an annual renewal basis. In 1955 William Murray began to seriously contemplate a new factory. At the time the Queensway industrial site in Leamington Spa had begun to develop and a plot and basic factory layout were carefully investigated. Profits had been ploughed back into product development rather than the premises, meaning finance was a problem and reluctantly the project had to be dropped.
For the time being ….
Next month – the 1960’s.
15th Nov 2023
18th Oct 2023
20th Sep 2023
23rd Aug 2023
26th Jul 2023
22nd Jun 2023
16th May 2023
19th Apr 2023
17th Mar 2023
22nd Feb 2023