Brief History of the Marque: Dowty
Dowty Co of Cheltenham
1931 George Dowty formerly of A. V. Roe and Co and later with Gloster Aircraft
Co set up his own one-man company while still employed at the latter. The
company promoted George Dowty's designs and patents. In June 1931 he received
his first order, worth £1500, from Kawasaki in Japan, to fit
Dowty internally sprung undercarriage wheels to its Type 92 aircraft. George
Dowty left Gloster Aircraft Co the same month, borrowed against a life
assurance, and established single-handed the first foundations of a vast
international engineering enterprise. With one order and no factory, using
subcontract manufacture and the help in the evenings of two friends, Dowty
designed, ordered, and assembled two of his wheels and within nine weeks
shipped them to Japan, being paid on shipment. He recruited his first two
employees in November.
1934 A major breakthrough occurred when he offered to H. P. Folland a pair
of oleostruts of new design for the Gloster Gauntlet aircraft. This gave
him his first large production order and was followed by a similar order
for the Gladiator. Dowty leased a factory and bought Arle Court, Cheltenham.
1936 The firm went public with George Dowty holding a small percentage
of the equity. Thanks to the concurrent technical revolution in aircraft
design to include retractable undercarriages, brakes, and flaps, his work
and knowledge expanded rapidly.
WWII During the Second World War twenty-eight different aircraft were fitted
with Dowty equipment, which included 12,900 sets for the Hurricane, over
90,000 other undercarriage units, and more than a million hydraulic units.
Plants were set up throughout Britain and in Canada and the USA.
After the Second World War Dowty applied his new approaches to hydraulics
to wider fields including motorcycle forks, hydraulic pit props and a prime
support system, industrial pumps, and hydraulic control systems.
In 1954 a group holding company was formed with the Canadian operation
generating 50 per cent of the total turnover.
1954 Rotol Airscrews was acquired
1959 Boulton Paul acquired
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