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David Brown History

David Brown commenced business in 1860 as a general pattern maker, the core business at that time was the manufacture of patterns for cast gears. We have now been at the forefront of the engineering industry for 150 years.


1898 - 1910

David Brown Park Gear Works the early years

In 1898 David Brown began to manufacture machine cut gears and in 1902 they moved to the current site in Huddersfield at Park Works. David Brown died in 1903 and his sons Frank and Percy succeeded him and began to produce self-contained worm gear units complete with bearings and shafts.


1910 - 1930

David Brown worm gear production

1913 saw the company's first overseas venture when Timken-David Brown was established in the USA to manufacture worm gear units. 1914 to 1918 saw the number of employees at Park Works increase from 200 to 1000 as the company began to manufacture products for the War effort. These products included main propulsion units for warships, gun training and elevating mechanisms and trench mortar bombs. By 1921 the company was the largest worm gear manufacturer in the world.


1930 - 1935

David Brown worm gear production

P.R. Jackson Ltd, steel founders and manufacturers of heavy gearing, were acquired in 1930. Following Percy Brown's death in 1931, Frank became Chairman and his 28 year old son David, Managing Director. The Radicon worm gear was introduced in 1933. The name Radicon refers to the dissipation of heat by Radiation, Conduction and Convection. David Brown's overseas involvement expanded further in 1934 when links were established with Richardson Gears (Pty) Ltd of Footscray, Victoria, Australia. David Brown patented the Merritt-Brown controlled differential steering on tank transmissions in 1935.


1935 - 1960

David Brown and aston martin

The first David Brown/Ferguson tractor was produced in 1936. During The Second World War saw another increase in production for the company; the aero division produced over 500,000 gears and the gearbox division over 10,000 tank transmissions. David Brown acquired Aston Martin in 1947 and Lagonda the following year. Precision Equipment (Pty) Ltd of Benoni, Transvaal was acquired in 1949.In 1959 Aston Martin won the world sports car championship which included Le Mans and the third successive win at the Nürburgring.


1960 - 1980

David Brown tractors

A controlling interest was acquired in Sonnerdale Richardson David Brown (Pty) Ltd, Australia in 1966, consummating the 1934 link with Richardson. The one millionth Radicon Gearbox was delivered in 1968. In 1972 Aston Martin-Lagonda sold to Company Developments Ltd which was later owned by the Ford Motor Company. The David Brown tractor interests were sold to Tenneco International (Inc.), becoming affiliates of J.I. Case, also in 1972.


1980 - 1990

David Brown marine experience

By 1983, some fifteen years after providing the gearbox for the conversion of HMS Exmouth, the first major warship to use gas turbine propulsion, a total of 120 gearboxes had been delivered or were on order for 64 warships in 9 Navies. The David Brown family interest in the Group was sold to the current management with the exception of plants in the Southern Hemisphere in 1990.


1990 - 2000

Textron

Major Challenger 2 Tank transmission overhaul project commissioned. Significant Bradley fighting vehicle transmission overhaul project implemented. David Brown re-aligns its business with the aim of becoming a premier supplier of product and service solutions to serve end user customers in key segments of heavy industrial process industry, marine and land defence.


2000 - 2008

David Brown now and the future

Major Challenger 2 Tank transmission overhaul project commissioned. Significant Bradley fighting vehicle transmission overhaul project implemented. David Brown re-aligns its business with the aim of becoming a premier supplier of product and service solutions to serve end user customers in key segments of heavy industrial process industry, marine and land defence.


2008 - Present Day

David Brown now under the ownership of Clyde Blowers

The old gear technology division of Textron incorporating David Brown, Benzlers and Cone Drive was bought by Clyde Blowers in September 2008. This signals an exciting and new chapter in the business under the ownership of a company that rank among the world's most successful and innovative business development companies.

Combining global expertise with local service

  • Delivering rapid global support through growing network of local service centres
  • Access to 150 years engineering expertise and gearing innovation
  • World class engineering and manufacturing facilities on your doorstep
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