Today in Motorcycle History

Renold Chains

Progress Works, Brook Street, Manchester. (1914)

  • 1879 Hans Renold Ltd was founded by Hans Renold. He purchased James Slater's Chain Making Co, a small textile-chain making business in Salford.
  • 1881 He moved from Salford to Brook Street, Manchester, where a new factory, Progress Works, was subsequently built.
  • 1885 A patent for the block chain was applied for by Hans Renold but he decided to openly give his idea to the cycle trade for all to freely manufacture.
  • 1888 Hans Renold Co were riveting the bearing pins in the assembled chain.
  • 1889 The company designed and manufactured a purpose built plate hole-punching machine.
  • Designed and manufactured a machine for the Dry Tumbling (Jingling) of chain components.
  • 1893 Hans Renold Co were using hardened components.
  • 1895 Designed and manufactured a machine for producing the Rotary Rivet on the ends of the chain bearing pins. The need for an Inverted tooth (silent chain) was apparent to Hans Renold and this resulted in his patent of 1895. Although his design of chain was superseded in later years by the silent chain with rocker joints, he made an impact in the introduction of such a chain. Designed and manufactured a machine for the Wet Tumbling (Jingling) of chain components 
  • 1896 Hans Renold Co designed and manufactured a machine for the proof loading of their chain.
  • Introduced the 48-hour week when the general practice in engineering was 52 or more.
  • 1899 Hans Renold Co introduced their patented feature of the end recess in the bearing pin. Introduced a Works Canteen. Introduced the round-ended necked (i.e. shouldered) bearing pin in their 1899 patent.
  • 1900 Hans Renold Co designed and manufactured a Coning Machine.
  • In the early 1900s Hans Renold Co introduced an apprenticeship scheme.

Hans Renold, of Manchester; a complete line of motorcycle chains from 3.16 inch wide upwards, and motorcar chains up to 2½ inches wide.

1902 Stanley Show in Motor Cycling, November 20th, 1902.

  • 1903 The company took limited liability status.
  • 1905 Renolds introduced percussion testing on chain components.
  • Hans Renold Ltd designed and manufactured a Semi-Automatic Drifting Machine for use on assembled inner links.
  • 1906 Renolds began supplying mortise block chains (and associated equipment) which were a notable part of the business for about 60 years. During the construction of a new factory, rather than use belt drives from overhead line-shafts Renold designed, and installed, overhead chain drives. Began designing and manufacturing special - purpose machines for the assembly of chains. Began the manufacture of chain wheels. Developed a machine for centreless grinding of bearing pins. This was long before centreless grinders became the factor in machine shop practice that they are now.
  • 1907 The company developed a new tooth form for roller chain wheels.
  • 1909 The firm introduced Torsion Testing on chain components. Began supplying transmission chain for aircraft.
  • 1910 Hans Renold Ltd designed and manufactured a Tumbler (Jingler) for the blueing of chain plates. The blue plates being a feature of the Hans Renold chain for many years.
  • 1911 Issued catalogue. Renold Bush Roller Chains.
  • 1912 The company began the process of end softening of bearing pins and only now are many of Renold's competitors beginning to incorporate this feature. Supplied the chain for Big Ben.
  • 1913 Hans Renold gave the world his improved sprocket tooth profile which, with slight modification, was adopted by the United States as their Standard profile. Designed and manufactured a Fatigue Test Machine for the evaluation of chain fatigue strength.
  • 1914 Designed and patented their flexible chain coupling. A product that is still used today, worldwide.
  • 1914 Driving Chain Manufacturer. Specialities: driving chains and wheels for power transmission, general engineering purposes, motor cars, motor vehicles, motor cycles, bicycles etc. Employees 1200.
  • c1915 Hans Renold Ltd were manufacturing high waisted chain plates and were also manufacturing chains with straight sided plates. Designed and manufactured Running-in machine for their chain. Introduced Stock Drives, something of which is taken for granted today.
  • By 1915 the company had completed the construction of, and transferred to the Renold Works in Burnage, Manchester. The first of many branch sales offices were opened in London and Glasgow, in 1910 and 1912, respectively.
  • 1916 Started supplying chain with Case Hardened pins. Patented the segmental bush design of inverted tooth (silent) chain.
  • 1917 Advert for chain (Hans Renold of Didsbury, Manchester).
  • 1917 Hans Renold were still leading the world by having coned (i.e. tapered) bush bores.
  • 1918 Manufactured extra strong chains for use on motorcycles.
  • 1918 Image on this page from Kempes Year Book.
  • 1919 Advert for Transmission chains (Hans Renold of Didsbury, Manchester).
  • 1920 A selling subsidiary was established in Canada in 1920, and a less successful sales organisation in America, in 1921. The same period saw the formation of Renold Chains Ltd., to handle export sales other than those to Canada and the U.S.A. (mainly with French and Belgian markets in mind).
  • 1920s Early in the decade, Hans Renold supplied bush roller chains for the first marine Diesel engines. Also designed and manufactured a series of chain test machines: 
  • 1921 Noise Testing.
  • 1922 Chain Pairing. Designed and manufactured a Bush Curling Machine.
  • 1923 Chain Out Of Alignment Testing. Chain Wobble Testing. High Speed Testing. Impact Testing.
  • 1925 The first acquisition of a major competitor came, when Brampton Brothers with its French manufacturing subsidiary at Calais, was purchased and the operation merged with the manufacturing facility previously established in Coventry.
  • 1927 To improve bush inner/plate security Hans Renold patented the 'keyed' bush. This feature is still used today.
  • 1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history
  • 1928 The German sales subsidiary, Renold Industrie Ketten GmbH was formed.
  • Hans Renold were approved under the A.I.D. regulations to issue Inspection Certificates and were likewise an approved A.R.B inspection authority.
  • 1930 Merger with Coventry Chain Co created Renold and Coventry Chain Co The new company had works in Manchester, Coventry and Birmingham, together with the former Brampton works at Calais. Chain production in the UK works was concentrated in Manchester and Coventry, and free wheel manufacture at Coventry was given up.

Renold and Coventry Chain Co

of Manchester.
  • 1930 Merger of Hans Renold Ltd with Coventry Chain Co created Renold and Coventry Chain Co. The new company had works in Manchester, Coventry and Birmingham, together with the former Brampton works at Calais. Chain production in the UK works was concentrated in Manchester and Coventry, and free wheel manufacture at Coventry was given up.
  • 1932 Chain supplied had chamfered plates some being doubled chamfered (i.e. both sides). Patented the early design of bi-planar chain, (The patent being applied for in 1928).
  • 1933 Supplied chain with a notched bush.
  • 1937 The Birmingham works and the Brampton cycle fittings business, which was concentrated there after the merger, were disposed of.
  • 1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers
  • WWII During the Second World War, temporary premises were leased at Newton Mill in Hyde, Cheshire, for arms-related production.
  • 1941 AA image on this page.
  • 1946 A new factory in Cardiff was acquired in 1946; this took over the wheel manufacturing department previously at Burnage and also manufactured chain clutches and couplings. An Australian manufacturing subsidiary was set up in 1949.
  • Perry Chain Co Ltd formed.
  • 1947 Renold established its first green-field manufacturing operation overseas in Melbourne, Australia, and this was followed by the establishment of other owned sales and sometimes manufacturing operations in Austria, Denmark, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • 1950 Renold and Coventry Chain Co chain plates had reamed holes.
  • The 1950s saw the expansion of Australian sales and manufacturing operations.
  • 1954 The sales division and administrative services departments moved from Burnage to the new Renold House in Wythenshawe, Manchester. By this point the company had built up a world-wide sales organisation based on its selling subsidiaries and its agencies, which covered over seventy countries.
  • 1954 Company becomes Renold Chains Ltd. and introduced their improved design of bi-planar chain with their patent.
  • 1955 A factory in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, was acquired for the separate manufacture of conveyor chain and agricultural chain machinery.
  • 1956 Renold acquired Anchor Chain Co of Oldham. With the introduction of nuclear power at Calder Hall, Renold Chains entered the Nuclear Age with the supply of control rod lifting chains.
  • 1958 Wheel manufacture in Canada began in 1958.
  • 1959 Merged with Perry and Co.
  • 1959 Renold Chains Ltd. were innovators in the chain industry of progressive die tooling (i.e. follow-on tooling) in the manufacture of chain plates. Chain plates for pitches between 1.0" and 1.5" were being produced by this method. Smaller pitch chain plates had begun being produced by this process many years earlier.
  • 1960s In addition to the Holroyd merger, the 1960s saw expansion in Europe.
  • 1961 Engaged as manufacturers of driving chains and wheels for cycles, motor cycles, automobiles, conveyor and general power transmission equipment. 5,200 employees.
  • 1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Timing chains.
  • 1963 The company acquired the manufacturing companies Manufacture Lilloise de Chaines S.A., of Lille, France, and Arnold and Stolzenberg GmbH of Juliusmuhle, Germany, and established a new wheel manufacturing plant at Charleville-Mezieres in the French Ardennes. Renolds also gained an interest in local manufacture in Spain during this period. Sales companies were established in Spain, in 1962; Austria, in 1964; Denmark (Renold A/S, of Copenhagen) in 1965; Switzerland, in 1968 and Sweden (Renold Svenska AB) in 1969. Outside Europe, the decade saw the formation, in 1968, of Renold (Southern Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, a chain manufacturing company. This later combined with the former Crofts establishment at Benoni, to form Renold Crofts (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd.
  • 1963 Renold acquired Arnold and Stolzenberg GmbH of Einbeck, one of the largest and oldest-established chain manufacturers in Germany.
  • 1964 A significant strategic development of the Renold Group was the acquisition of John Holroyd and Co and this marked the start of the transition from purely chain manufacture to manufacture and supply of a complete range of power transmission products and precision machine tools. Further acquisitions brought more gearing, couplings, clutches, brakes, variable speed drives and various hydraulic products into the Group.
  • 1996 Renold acquires the Holset couplings business in Halifax, and renames the company Renold Hi-Tec Couplings.
  • 1967 Company now called Renold Ltd. 
  • 1960s In the late 1960s, Renold commenced press extrusion of bushes and rollers for transmission chain. Renold develops a range of Non Lub chains with sintered bushes.
  • 1970 Renold begins the cold extrusion of rollers for transmission chain using multi-station extruders.

    1970 A new selling subsidiary was established in Kenya in 1970.

    1971 Renold opened a precision conveyor chain factory in Lille.

    1972 In 1970, the company had gained a controlling interest in a firm in Auckland, New Zealand. This began manufacturing worm gear units in 1972, as Renold Christian Ltd.

    The 1970s also saw the acquisition of manufacturing bases in the U.S.A. The Ajax Flexible Coupling Co. Inc., of Westfield, New York State, was acquired in 1972, and Atlas Chain and Precision Products Co. Inc., of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, in 1974.

    1975 The company introduces GP Motor Cycle Chains.

    1998 In December, Renold acquired A. A. Jones and Shipman in the UK, and with it a range of precision production and tool room grinding machine tools, "superabrasive" machine tools from Edgetek in the USA and electronic control systems from Goodwin in the UK.

    2000 In March, the company acquired Jeffrey Chain a leading manufacturer of industrial chain in the USA. Jeffrey Chain has strong US brands and established relationships with major US distributors of power transmission equipment and original equipment manufacturers.

    2006 Renold employs around 2000 people in more than 23 countries around the world.

    2019 The firm has a well-developed website with numerous resources for the researcher.

Source: Graces Guide

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