The India Rubber, Gutta Percha & Telegraph Works Co Ltd.
By Ryan Aden
Location: 99 (later 131) William Street, Perth
Evidence on the internet shows that S W (Stephen Winckworth) Silver & Company started sometime in the early 18th century. The same company would grow to be The India Rubber, Gutta Percha & Telegraph Works Co Ltd and, at present, is known as Schneider Electric.
S W Silver & Company were clothiers specialising in tailoring and outfitting for Army and Colonial Service. In addition, they acted as shipping agents to travellers who journeyed overseas. Later, when waterproof clothing was introduced by Charles Macintosh, S W Silver set up a factory at Greenwich to make something similar. After this, S W Silver developed into the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Cable Company, which was involved in the construction and laying of submarine cables.
In 1865 the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Cable Company also supplied an electric generating plant to locations around the United Kingdom. From 1865 to the 1890s, the company would also construct, lay and repair submarine cables as well as produce electric wires which were used for different purposes. They also produced bicycle tyres.
In 1933, British Goodrich Rubber Co obtained the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Company. Inclusive in this deal was the Company’s selling subsidiary (Palmer Tyre Co). Palmer tyres were then produced for motor vehicles, aircraft and cycles. After this acquisition, the company then became British Tyre and Rubber Co. By 1937, the company were manufacturers and suppliers for tyres, wheels and braking equipment for aircraft.
British Tyre and Rubber Co ceased manufacturing rubber tyres in 1956 and changed its name to BTR Industries Ltd.
The expansion of BTR Industries Ltd saw the company acquire many other companies in the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Germany. Notable acquisitions were the Dunlop Aviation Division in 1885 and Schlegel Corporation in 1886.
BTR would later merge with Siebe in 1999 to become BTR Siebe. The company then evolved into Invensys PLC, which is now Schneider Electric.