From humble beginnings, Wright Bros to Wrights (Gamlingay) Ltd now operating as Wrights Dowson Group. The original company was formed around 1750 at the site of the current factory in Gamlingay, Bedfordshire by two Brothers Edward and Albert Wright, trading as blacksmiths and wheelwrights.
In or around 1800 a Sawmill and Coach building business was added, where trees such as Ash, Oak and Elm were purchased locally for the business, sawn as required and seasoned. On occasions Horse Chestnut was also used for coffin boards.
During the 1914-18 War the business thrived in the manufacture of wooden wheels for artillery pieces and portable fire appliances. Between the two world wars the business continued with the coach building tradition but added agricultural implements and machinery to the range of offerings, with the last two handcarts made from scratch at the Gamlingay works being sold in 1946 for £185 each.
In 1950 the Company was purchased from Mr G.P. Wright and Wrights (Gamlingay) Ltd was incorporated in 1952.
With the gradual decline of the coach building and the blacksmith business, the Company diversified into light engineering and the manufacture of ammunition boxes for the M.O.D.
During 1961 further diversification took place with an arrangement to manufacture under license from the USA, the ‘Mayrath’ auger conveyor, initially used for the transportation and handling of bulk cereals the concept has since found uses across many industries.
The next stage of the business development came in the early 1980’s with the manufacture of coffee processing machinery, a 100% export business. Ranging from hand operated models to pick the coffee cherry, to powered machines used in the processing factories. For many years it was true to say that a Wrights (Gamlingay) Ltd manufactured machine, was used in all of the major coffee growing countries around the world.
During the latter part of the 1980’s, Wrights (Gamlingay) Ltd, called on their well-developed, historical ties with a number of North American equipment manufacturers to draw up a distribution agreement with InterSystems Inc initially, to sell the InterSystems range of Industrial Samplers in the UK and Ireland. The arrangement continues to flourish with the Wrights Dowson Group broadening their sales territory and since the beginning of 2007 sampling equipment has been sold to Poland, Spain, Jordan, China and India with equipment also placed in Japan and Africa.
From the mid 1990’s there was a fundamental change in the business model based around strengthening its ties with the broader bulk materials handling sector, which saw a move away from 240 years of organic growth of the company to one of growth by acquisition. The first company to be acquired was Helitec in 1995, manufacturers of conveyor segments, ribbon blades & flights at their Bristol factory and continue to supply the parent company as well as other leading UK screw conveyor manufacturers.
Then followed a series of buy outs, with the takeover of Dowson Handling in 1999 and Britton Valves in the millennium, a leading source of slide, diaphragm and diverter valves and in 2001, the goodwill of Procol manufacturers of Rotary Valves was added to compliment the Britton range of valves.
At this time the Dowson Handling operation was moved to Gamlingay from its headquarters in Leeds, whilst Britton Valves based in Bideford Devon, incorporated the Procol name. By encapsulating all of the changes, the Wrights Dowson Group trading name came into being.
There have been two latter additions to the group structure, Linnor whilst no longer a trading company, provides extensive and specialist expertise relating to the design, manufacture and supply of screw conveying technology. H & H Process Equipment Ltd, suppliers of a wide range of ancillary components and weighing systems to the powder handling and related industries, also became part of the Wrights Dowson Group in January 2015.
In excess of two hundred and sixty five years of history, from Wrights Brothers to Wrights Dowson Group and the future starts now, with the same drive and determination to succeed on behalf of its customers, employees and the environment, maintaining the ethos upon which it was founded to the present day.