‘Five Generations of Pickards’
The Leeds and Bradford Boiler Company was Founded by Mr. D. Midgley in 1876 to manufacture boilers for local crane suppliers, tar stills and brewing pans for local pubs.
Company was bought by Mr. R.S. Dower, Mr. D. Pickard and Mr. J. Brodie in 1892 after the company faced cash flow difficulties.
Mr. R.S. Dower’s daughter Ellen married Mr. David Pickard’s son, Herbert.
Herbert Pickard was appointed Managing Director and gradually purchased further shares to give the Pickard family a majority shareholding.
New management continued with boiler operations and branched out to specialise in tar stills and tar distillation plants to facilitate the building of the world’s first tar roads.
The demand for mines during the First World War led to the company’s first presswork operations with hemispheres hot pressed and supplied to Japan and Turkey.
1920's & 1930's
Times are hard as the Leeds and Bradford Boiler Company faced strong competition from UK boiler makers and the country experienced depression, fuel shortages and strikes.
Maurice Pickard gave the Leeds and Bradford Boiler Company a unique competitive advantage through his invention of the revolutionary Quicklock® door in 1934.
The company subsequently specialised in manufacturing autoclaves that incorporated the Quicklock® door. The design was an instant success since it required minimal effort compared with heavy swing bolt alternatives.
Maurice pioneered many safety interlocks that led him to be consulted by the Health & Safety body to set the mandatory standards that are still present today.
1940's & 1950's
After the destruction on World War 2, LBBC helped Britain to re-equip the world with capital plant.
The main product line was now supplying autoclaves with applications from vulcanising to timber impregnators and textile steamers.
The Leeds and Bradford Boiler Company supplied the textiles, building, rubber and food industries across the globe.
The company expanded into the investment casting/lost wax process, which was relatively new as a mainstream foundry process.
During the boom times The Nestle Company was LBBC’s largest customer with over 200 vessels produced.
LBBC was supplying autoclaves to over 100 countries.
The company was awarded The Queens Award for Exports in 1967 presented by the High Sheriff of Yorkshire.
The company heavily invested in extending the factory and purchasing new production equipment including upgrading the dished end equipment to a full range of cold pressing and spinning machines.
As traditional industries declined, LBBC responded to the changes in the marketplace by developing a sub-contract machining division and developing its revolutionary autoclave systems.
The Boilerclave®, Leaching Autoclave and Thermoclave® revolutionised process technology within the investment casting and advanced composite curing industries.
The Boilerclave® is still recognised globally as the market leader.
1980’s and 1990’s
As with many engineering manufacturers at the time, the 1980’s proved tough as Britain’s recent boom times came to an end and developing countries became more competitive.
The lack of debt and quality products ensured the company’s survival through the period.
The company split into two business divisions in 2003.
LBBC Technologies to concentrate on the development, supply and support of the technology based equipment.
LBBC Beechwood to focus on the manufacturing activities of fabrication, machining and dished end pressing.