Sturtevant Engineering Ltd. HistoryThe English version of Sturtevant began its existence around 1886 after a visit to England by Benjamin Sturtevant for the purpose of establishing a foreign outlet to handle his European trade. As a result of negotiations, George Augustus Mower started business on his own account under the name of Sturtevant Blower Co., on Queen Victoria St., London as an agent of the B.F.Sturtevant Co. In 1890, the name was changed to Sturtevant Engineering Co. Coinciding with the death of Benjamin Sturtevant and change of ownership, this name change probably signified the taking of legal control of what now was their subsidiary. Subordinate offices were located in Glasgow, Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm. C.H. Mower, an 1896 M.I.T graduate, was the first managing director. In 1899, they incorporated as the Sturtevant Engineering Co. Ltd (SE).
B.F.Sturtevant put their technological leadership to work with the construction of one of the first industrial air conditioning systems in the British Isles around 1907, as they did in America. During WW1, a monthly newsletter appropriately called "War Letters" was produced and sold in Europe and America (10 cents). It provided vivid details of life on the front from SE personnel who had volunteered and was also used to solicit funds for the American Ambulance Service, based in Paris, from readers. B.F.Sturtevant also provided monetary contributions.
SE became an independent company following WW1 as changed government policy forced a divestiture. By 1930, the business was still producing most of B.F.Sturtevant's broad range of equipment including the Monogram Fan, scooped-bladed Multivane Fans, forges (discontinued already by BFS) and vacuum cleaners. Unique to SE were crushing, grinding and screening machinery and cash tube systems. The enlarged first and last letters of the Sturtevant name cast into these product housings clearly differentiate them as British Sturtevant.
In 1936, they became embroiled in a patent dispute with the Sturtevant Mill Co. of Boston over name usage (both sold crusher equipment using the same name) that is still referenced in legal arguments today. Coincidentally, the B.F.Sturtevant Co. also had problems of a lesser sort with their Sturtevant neighbors. Headquartered only a few miles away, the US Postal Service would occasionally confuse the two names when delivering mail.
The graphic below represents a 1960s vintage sampling of their industrial product line which served Europe, the British Commonwealth and beyond:
The 1960s marked the beginning of a series of ownership and organizational changes starting with Drake & Scull's acquistion of them. Closure of Manchester, the industrial fan plant, came later in the decade and signalled their departure from that business. In 1972, the company was merged with New Welbeck, another British vacuum company, to form Sturtevant Welbeck. In 1978, they reorganized into Sturtevant Engineering Holdings, Ltd.(likely the crusher line) and Sturtevant Welbeck. Around this time, Sturtevant Welbeck was broken into separate divisions; Sturtevant Engineering & Manufacturing Ltd. (portable vacuums) and Sturtevant Systems Ltd. (fixed vacuum systems).
The crusher business was sold to Christy Hunt(now Christy Turner Ltd.) in the early 1980s. Both vacuum divisions were sold in 1994 to the Scotland-based business development company, Clyde Blowers, which promptly closed the Sturtevant Brighton plant. The assets were transferred to Clyde Material Handling Ltd. which organized a new Sturtevant vacuum division at South Yorkshire.
Today Sturtevant is the leading industrial vacuum cleaner company in the Euro zone.