Insights: EEF Member Procters celebrates over 275 years of success

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From mousetraps to modern solutions for rail, industry and royal palaces, Procter Brothers is going strong after 275 years.

Today, the family firm specialises in machinery guarding, fencing and concrete products. Its expertise is illustrated by many prestigious contracts. This includes supply of the railings and ornamental gates for Kensington Palace, and major guarding projects for the London Underground and the world's leading motor industry plants, such as Chrysler in the USA.

It's a far cry from the firm's foundations in 1740, when William Varley began creating agricultural and domestic wire products from small factories in Yorkshire.

The trading name of Procter Bros was introduced in 1884 by John and Charles Procter, who developed the company's reputation for specialist wirework. Three and four generations later, the firm is managed by John’s great grandson and great great grandson.

In 1897 a Leeds inventor partnered with Procters to manufacture his "Little Nipper” mousetrap. The product rights were purchased by Procters in 1913 and so began 100 years of mousetrap manufacture – before the expansion of the Pest Stop range and sale of the business.

Among numerous government contracts through the First World War, the company supplied strong woven wire to bomb proof the roof of Buckingham Palace.

In the twenties and thirties Procters broadened its product range to include machine guards, riddles, sieves, fireguards and wire fencing.

During the Second World War, output included parts for Bailey Bridges, parachute frames, special wiremesh for aircraft landing strips, and fencing for most of the country’s aerodromes.

After the war Procters reverted to supplying the retail and industrial sectors. Restructuring in the mid sixties enabled the business to focus on today's specialist fencing and machine guarding operations, while continuing to manufacture its famous mouse and rat traps.

From its sites in Yorkshire and South Wales, the company operates four separate divisions: Procter Machine Guarding, Procter Contracts, Procter Supplies, and Procter Cast Stone.

Managing Director Jeremy Procter, who represents the fourth generation of the family business, said: "We've come a long way over 275 years and are proud of our rich heritage.  As a family firm, we are close to our customers and loyal and skilled employees.  Today we combine traditional craftsmanship with up-to-date technology and production methods to create world-class products for a range of sectors both in the UK and global markets."

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