Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

It all started in 1897 with the formation of the Liverpool Refrigeration and Engineering Company Limited, a small private company who made refrigeration equipment. In 1922 a long lease was taken out on some farm land, on which to build a larger factory. The new factory, called the Polar Works, was in Liverpool Road, Sankey, Warrington, and contained machinery to make refrigeration equipment. Part of the factory produced tubes, which were assembled in another section to make evaporators and condensers for their refrigerators. The company also had factories at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, and Saxilby in Lincolnshire.

In 1937, the company, which at the time was in liquidation, was purchased by Aeronautical and Mechanical Inventions Limited, incorporated on 4th June, 1937. The factories at Coalbrookdale and Saxilby were closed, and the new company began to manufacture aircraft undercarriages and hydraulic equipment. The new company was founded by Louis Sylvio Armandias, who came to England in 1936 after acquiring a licence to manufacture hydraulic equipment under licence from the French Messier Company.

Production began in 1938, and in 1939 Rubery Owen purchased shares in the company, which had started to produce undercarriages for the Handley Page Halifax Bomber. Rubery Owen had a controlling interest, owning 50,000 shares. The other shareholders were Associated British Engineering, which held 10,000 shares, and Aeronautical and Mechanical Inventions Limited, which held 5,000 shares. The company then became Rubery Owen Messier Limited.

An advert from 1946.

During the Second World War the company produced thousands of sets of aircraft undercarriages and the associated hydraulic equipment for many aircraft including the De Havilland Mosquito.

In 1942 Armandias left the company, and in March 1943 its engineering work was transferred to a new company, Rubery Owen (Warrington) Limited.

Over the next three years the company had three name changes. On 21st April, 1943 it became Messier Aircraft Equipment Limited, and on 29th March, 1946 it became Electro-Hydraulics (Messier) Limited, followed on 22nd November, 1946 by Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

At the end of the war, Rubery Owen Messier Limited acquired a non-exclusive licence from the French Messier Company, so that hydraulic equipment could be freely produced using ten of the company’s patented designs.

Due to the reduction in demand for aircraft parts after the war, a prototype fork lift truck was developed. The fork lift truck was so successful that a full range of fork lifts was developed, which by the late 1940s had become a major part of the business.

It became known as the ‘Conveyancer’ fork lift truck, believed to be the first fork lift truck manufactured in the UK.

In 1946 the company also opened a design and development section, with prototype manufacturing facilities to design aircraft equipment, and an industrial hydraulic design department to develop hydraulic systems for industry.

In the late 1940s undercarriage equipment was developed for six new types of aircraft, ranging from a small monoplane weighing 4,000 lbs, to the Handley Page Hermes IV civilian airliner, weighing 83,000 lbs. Other developments included a new range of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, solenoid valves, and electrically operated fuel vales which were used in the Rolls Royce ‘Derwent’ and ‘Nene’ jet engines.

On 2nd February, 1951 Conveyancer Fork Trucks was formed to sell and service trucks made by Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

The battery powered Conveyancer Mark IV. From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".

The main machine shop. From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".
By 1961 Electro-Hydraulics Limited had 1,750 employees, and acquired the rights to manufacture the narrow-reach equipment produced by the Raymond Corporation, USA.

A new subsidiary called Conveyancer-Raymond was formed, which was 70 percent owned by Electro-Hydraulics, and Electro-Hydraulics became agents for the Shorland forklift trucks, made by Short Brothers and Harland.

A Handley Page Hermes IV. From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".

On 9th July, 1964 Electro-Hydraulics became a public company, and 40% of the shares (2.4m shares) were sold to the public.

In 1970 the shares were re-purchased and the company was again wholly owned by Rubery Owen.

In 1971 the manufacture of aircraft undercarriages and hydraulic systems ceased. That part of the business was sold to Dowty Rotol Limited.

A 10 cwt. Mark VIII Conveyancer truck. From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".
Conveyancer fork lift trucks had a load capacity of up to 6,000 lbs. and were powered by petrol, diesel, or electric motor. They had a full lift of 9 to 12 feet.

A variety of attachments were produced including a squeeze clamp for non-crushable goods. There was also a hydraulic shovel of 0.5 to 1 yard cubic capacity for all granular materials, and a rotating head that picked-up, conveyed, and emptied bins.

There were also attachments for handling coils, and open centre goods. Also brick forks, barrel forks, and a crane.

The firm ran a materials handling advisory service, which had a team of experts to advise customers on modern handling methods.

A Conveyancer fork lift truck type E2-20/3W, battery powered, lifting 2,000 lbs. at 9 feet.
A Conveyancer fork lift truck type E4-15 with a full free lift stacking mast. Capacity 4,000 lbs.

A Conveyancer fork lift truck type D6-20 that could be fitted with a petrol or diesel engine. It could lift 6,000 lbs. up to 12 feet.

The hydraulic shovel attachment.

The rotating head attachment.

The boom attachment.

The crane attachment.

An advert from 1958.

In 1973 Rubery Owen acquired a controlling interest in Conveyancer Fork Trucks, and in January 1974 Rubery Owen Conveyancer Limited was formed.

The new company, which had manufacturing facilities at Darlaston, Kirkby Prees, Warrington, Wednesbury, Wrexham, and at Langham Engineering (Liverpool) Limited, manufactured the Conveyancer range of fork trucks, and also the Rubery Owen Travelift, Karricon and Karrilift machines.

The companies in the Conveyancer Group were: Conveyancer Limited; Langham Engineering (Liverpool) Limited; Conveyancer Scott-Electric Vehicles Limited; Conveyancer Fork Trucks Limited; Conveyancer Fork Trucks (Nigeria) Limited; Conveyancer Pty Limited (Australia); Paul-Walden Pty Limited (Australia); P & W Industries (Pty) Limited (South Africa); Conveyancer Plant Hire Limited; and Conveyancer - Raymond Limited.

By March 1977 the Darlaston factory was suffering from cash flow problems, and so in order to raise capital, Rubery Owen Holdings Limited decided to sell the business. As a result, all of the subsidiaries were taken over by the parent company, and in 1980 Rubery Owen Conveyancer Limited closed.

The company's display at Farborough in 1949. From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".

The Handley-Page 'Hermes' luxury airliner. They were fitted with undercarriages and hydraulic systems built and supplied by Electro-Hydraulics.
On the left is the main undercarriage used in the The Handley-Page 'Hermes', and the Avro 'Ashton' aircraft.

On the right is the nose undercarriage unit with power steering that was used in the The Handley-Page 'Hermes'.

The were both designed and built by Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

The Percival 'Prince'.



The Electro-Hydraulics nose undercarriage unit that is used in the Percival 'Prince', and the 'Sea Prince'.

A demonstration model of a multi-wheel undercarriage.

Some of the aircraft components made by Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

More of the aircraft components made by Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

An advert from 1959.

Mr. C. W. Sharp. Managing Director of Electro-Hydraulics Limited.

From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".

The apprentices' training school.

From the spring 1949 edition of the staff magazine "Goodwill".

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