The company was founded by Samuel Smith in London in 1851 as a clock and watch business. At the start of the 20th century, the age of the early automobiles, the company manufactured the first British odometer ("mileometer") and speedometer. In the 1930s Smiths agreed a trading deal with Lucas whereby the two would not compete in certain areas and Lucas took on part of Smiths non-instrumentation assets. Smiths became the dominant supplier of instruments to British motorcar and motorcycle firms. In 1946, Smiths and the Ingersoll Watch Company founded the Anglo-Celtic Watch Co. Ltd., which produced watches in Wales. This became one of the largest producers of watches in Europe before the business was wound up in 1980 as clocks, watches, and automotive instruments eventually ceased to be significant markets for Smiths, and by the 1980s, the automotive instrument division had been sold, first to Lucas, and eventually to the factory employees. The new company, Caerbont Automotive Instruments, continues to produce classic Smiths-branded instruments with the blessing of Smiths Group plc.
View our History Timeline here
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