George Kent Ltd
Founded in 1838, George Kent Ltd was initially a manufacturer of household gadgets, then a manufacturer of munitions during World War One, and became the largest British manufacturer of instruments for Industrial control systems.
|Industry||Instrumentation, Military, Domestic appliances|
|Successor||Brown Boveri Kent in 1974|
Number of locations
|Luton, St Neots|
|Walter George Kent|
|Products||Artillery fuses, linear actuators, flow meters, ice boxes, clear view screens|
The company was founded in 1838.
World War OneEdit
During World War One, Kent's had a factory in Luton with over 3,000 workers, mostly 'munitionettes', i.e. women producing fuses for artillery shells. They were producing 140,000 shell fuses a week. After the war, this grew to 5,000 workers.
George Kent grew to have significant reach worldwide, including establishing a subsidiary in Malaysia in 1936. Currently, as an independent organisation, the Malaysian company George Kent provide engineering and metering solutions in South-East Asia, with a diverse set of activities including the integration of railways and the manufacture of water meters.
Acquisitions and George Kent GroupEdit
In 1968, George Kent Ltd acquired Fielden Electronics and Cambridge Instrument Company forming the George Kent Group. This was the UK's largest industrial instrument manufacturer. Tony Benn as Minister of Technology answered questions about the Cambridge Instruments takeover in Parliament.
Fielden Electronics of Wythenshawe, Manchester produced a recorder known as the Servograph and a capacitance-sensing proximity meter alongside a variety of scientific instruments and process control devices. These included the bikini temperature controller, a temperature recorder, and the E296 level controller.
Acquisition by Brown BoveriEdit
An acquisition in 1974 of George Kent Group by Swiss instrument company Brown Boveri caused a rename to Brown Boveri Kent, along with the spin-out of company Scientific and Medical Instruments which eventually became Cambridge Instrument Company, resurrecting that brand. Brown Boveri eventually merged with ASEA and is today the industrial giant ABB.
Kent's breakthrough product was a knife sharpener, first available around 1850. Later products included an ice cabinet, being a well-insulated damp-proof box suitable for storing meat and dairy products; a miniaturised one appeared in Queen Mary's Dolls' House.
Power cylinders were first manufactured in the 1950s in Luton. These are a type of linear actuator featuring a control loop where the position of the actuator is governed by some input pressure signal. Power cylinders continue to be manufactured, alongside similar linear actuators featuring digital control technology.
Kent's produced the clear view screen, a spinning transparent panel that provided visibility in wet weather. Kent also produced avionic equipment, including aircraft fuel gauges and fuel flow meters.
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- "Industrial and Technological Information". Journal of the Textile Institute Proceedings. 47 (2): P158. 1956. doi:10.1080/19447015608665213.
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- "George Kent, Ltd - Ice safe". www.rct.uk.
- "Flow Meter - George Kent LTD, Type A 'Orivent' Water Meter Recorder, No.1 Well, MMBW Spotswood Sewerage Pumping Station, 1923".
- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/17edd6b6-b1de-4313-aa7e-1e29cdf7715d[bare URL]
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