by S. A. Barnett
with Frank Sharman and Reg Aston
Expansion and Diversity: 1945 to the 1960s
Following World War 2 changes in technology led to a fall off in automotive and aircraft work and there was a move towards the construction industry and its associated products, such as concrete mixers, digger buckets, stillages, etc..
John Thompson (Wolverhampton) Ltd. design, manufacture, deliver, erect on prepared foundations and commission shell boiler plant anywhere in the world. Also superheaters, economizers, pipework. Coal and ash handling plant, chimneys, various types of mechanical stokers for burning various types of fuel, special furnaces for burning wood, combustible by-products or wastes. And pressure vessels, galvanizing baths, annealing covers.
John Thompson Water Tube Boilers Ltd. Natural and forced circulation water boilers. Boilers of all types for land, marine and for utilizing waste heat. The John Thompson “Etaflo” steam generator – a boiler with a unidirectional flow, supplied for use in power stations.
John Thompson (Dudley) Ltd. Fabrication of all classes of electrically-welded platework for industrial and chemical trades. This company included a chemical engineering department which specialised in producing pickling plant, galvanizing plant and acid recovery plant.
John Thompson Motor Pressings Ltd.
John Thompson Beacon Windows Ltd. Produces metal windows for domestic and industrial buildings in steel and aluminium. The Pressed Metal Department steel door frames and partitioning and other building products. The Flooring Department open grid steel flooring and ladders for industrial buildings. The John Thompson Conveyor Company (not mentioned as Ltd. and apparently a part of Beacon Windows): Mechanical handling equipment for all materials.
John Thompson-Kennicott Ltd. “For over half a century” manufacturers of water treatment plant for all purposes. This seems to be mainly for water going into boilers but includes "clarification and filtration plants for potable purposes".
Metronic Instrument Co. Ltd. Manufacture instruments and control gear “to suit every possible industrial need”.
John Thompson Castings Ltd. Foundry producing light and heavy castings for other subsidiaries and for industry generally.
John Thompson (Wilson Boilers) Ltd. In Glasgow. Evaporating plant, causticizers and shell boilers.
John Thompson (Triumph Stoker) Ltd. In Leeds. Mechanical stokers for all shell boilers and coal and ash handling pant.
Five overseas companies:
All of them “undertake complete boiler contracts of all types”.
In the 1956 Handbook the John Thompson Instrument Company seems to have taken over from Metronic. John Thompson Industrial Constructions Ltd, also appear as producers of equipment for refuse disposal plant. And John Thompson (Pipework) Ltd, now appear as well, engaged in bending, forming and installing pipework for boiler plant and industry in general. Includes stainless steel and aluminium. They produced pipework for UKAEA nuclear reactors.
In the 1962 Handbook John Thompson Compost Plant Ltd. are added to the list and said to be “specially concerned with the problem of municipal waste and is installing plant in Djakarta, Indonesia.” As they are not mentioned again it is likely this company was formed for this one contract.
A trade directory of 1966 shows that the Aero/Construction department had become a separate company called John Thompson Fabrications Ltd. Their products include Beacon industrial flooring, stair treads and handrails; and constructional steelwork, dampers, hoppers, silos, concrete pouring skips, scoops for earth moving equipment, vessels, tanks, ducting,
The company also had a division at Gloucester called Thompson Trailmobile, producing semi-trailers and containers for bulk transport by road, rail and sea.
At some point John Thompson seems to have taken over Thompson Brothers of Bilston. They appear in the 1962 Handbook as a subsidiary of John Thompson. Thompson Brothers (Bilston) Ltd. who also have the next, separate entry. This company seems to have been set up by brothers of one of the early Thompson in the John Thompson line, and the directors of the two companies were, during the first half the 20th century, cousins.