Following on from a variety of business ventures and some hard knocks the company "Leslie Hartridge Limited" was founded in 1930 by an able and determined engineer by the name of Leslie Hartridge, with an asset value sum of £4000!
In 1934 Ike Taylor joined the company as workshop foreman. He was an unusually gifted and inventive engineer and was to make many significant contributions to the company's product range. His initial design for variable speed transmission, used in the magneto test bench, was of prime importance. The early 1930's saw the adoption of diesel engines for road transport applications and the need to service the fuel injection system came with it.
The existing Hartridge magneto test bench had many of the essential features needed and was quickly adapted to suit the market need. Thus, the first Hartridge diesel fuel pump test stand - the P type was launched in 1937 at the Olympia Motor Show. The first sale occurred the following year to the Nizam State Railway in India.
In fact the original concept for the diesel pump test stand was a customer's! Having purchased fleet of diesel powered vehicles, the customer modified the Hartridge magneto test bench to test the high-pressure pumps fitted to his diesel engines. A salesman reported this back to Ike and Leslie, the market implications became clear.
The necessary modifications were made and the P-Type was born.
The company moved out of London to rural Buckingham in 1941 to offer its employees a better quality of life.
So, the facility was moved lock, stock and barrel to a new site alongside the River Ouse. This particular spot had formerly been the stables of the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, with a few remaining outbuildings.
A new 2 bay factory was commissioned and work during the transition was carried out in several rented sheds. The factory was completed in 1941and this allowed a much greater contribution to the war effort - some 12 diesel test stands per month and a variety of specific jobs - including marine applications for Diesel Submarines.
Following the war, Leslie Hartridge was able to expand his business to include an extended range of fuel pump test stands, and the introduction of injector test and repair machines. Increased overseas sales also called for increased working space and a series of work and office space expansions took place between 1963 and1979.
By 1969, export growth accounted for some 70% of sales, a contribution honored by a Queen's Award for Export Achievement. This was the first of many such awards for Technical or Export Achievement in 1969, 1974, 1984, and 1990.
The catalyst for the expansion and diversification of product ranges was the increased international demand for higher exhaust emission and fuel economy standards. Test stands were also supplied to support production lines of many leading fuel injection equipment manufacturers. This trend resulted in the formation of a new product group, named the Special Products Division.
Then owned by Lucas and with their support the company developed the Special Products range acquiring companies in America and Germany to become a world leader in the supply of fuel test systems to the major auto manufacturers and their Tier 1 Suppliers.
This lineage of Diesel Fuel Injection Equipment established the Hartridge name around the world as a quality supplier. In fact the Hartridge brand name still flourishes with the range of standard, catalogued diesel test products.
December 2004, Hartridge a world leader in diesel fuel injection test equipment was purchased through a management buyout to form a new c. £8m business that exists today...