is a British
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
engineering company which was founded in 1884 in Darlaston
Darlaston is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands of England.-History:Archaeological evidence of the history of Darlaston has been destroyed by The de Darlaston family owned Darlaston and lived in the manor between the 12th century and 15th century. When the de...
, West Midlands
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...
In 1884 the company was started by John Tunner Rubery (1849-1920) and his two brothers (Samuel 1844-1910 and Thomas William 1856-1925), as an ironworks manufacturing gates and fences. In 1893 the two brothers were replaced by a trained engineer Alfred Owen
Sir Alfred George Beech Owen was the son of Alfred Ernest Owen, who in 1910 became the sole-proprietor of the British engineering company Rubery Owen & Co....
, and in 1903 the company name of Rubery Owen
When John T Rubery retired in 1910 his partnership was bought out by A E Owen and by 1912 the company had expanded into Aviation Engineering, Motor Frames and Roofing, in addition to fencing manufacture.
The company expanded during the 1920s and 1930s to include the production of metal airframes, metal storage equipment, steel pulleys and armour plate. They also acquired a Warrington hydraulic company which became Rubery Owen Conveyancer, and which claims to have launched the UK's first forklift truck
A forklift is a powered industrial truck used to lift and transport materials. The modern forklift was developed in the 1920s by various companies including the transmission manufacturing company Clark and the hoist company Yale & Towne Manufacturing...
During World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
they concentrated on supporting the war effort, producing parts for military aircraft.
After the war they expanded their engineering products to include ploughs for Ferguson Tractors
In about 1934, in company with David Brown, Harry Ferguson formed the Ferguson-Brown Company and the two men produced the Model A Ferguson-Brown tractor with a Ferguson-designed hydraulic hitch...
, metal pressings, fasteners, motor vehicle components and structural steel components for the building industry.
In 1956 the company was structured into the following seven divisions:
- Bolt and Nut
- Metal Assemblies
- Metal Equipment
In the 1960s and 1970s Rubery Owen supplied many components and parts to the British motor industry but the most recognised is the Rostyle wheel
Rostyle wheels are a notable design of wheels for cars made by the British firm of Rubery Owen, a diversified industrial company which made many car parts. The wheels had an unusual pressed steel form to imitate the few ribs of mag wheels at the time, but were painted black and aluminium...
(the word 'Rostyle' being a contraction of RO-Style). These were distinctive steel disc wheels pressed to a shape to give the effect of 5 spokes that were common on British cars of the period both as manufacturer fitted options and aftermarket accessories.
In 1977 Coventry Climax
Coventry Climax was a British forklift truck, fire pump, and speciality engine manufacturer.-History:The company was started in 1903 as Lee Stroyer, but two years later, following the departure of Stroyer, it was relocated to Paynes Lane, Coventry, and renamed to Coventry-Simplex by H...
acquired the Warrington forklift truck business of Rubery Owen Conveyancer
In 1981 the main Darlaston works closed down.
Rubery Owen is now managed by David Owen, and co run by Jim Owen. David Owen recently sold the building for £1 to Walsall Housing Regeneration Agency (WHRA), a local charity who offers numerous projects based in Darlaston and surrounding areas. David and a small team are still based within Rubery Owen.