Richard Garrett & Sons

Richard Garrett & Sons was a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, steam engines and trolleybuses. Their factory was Leiston Works, in Leiston, Suffolk, United Kingdom.

The company was active under its original ownership between 1778 and 1932.

In the late 1840s, after cultivating a successful agricultural machine and implement business, the company began producing portable steam engines. The company grew to a major business employing around 2,500 people. Richard Garrett III, grandson of the company's founder, visited The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, where he saw some new American manufacturing ideas. Richard Garrett III introduced flow line production - a very early assembly line - and constructed a new workshop for the purpose in 1852. This was known as 'The Long Shop' on account of its length. A machine would start at one end of the Long Shop and as it progressed through the building it would stop at various stages where new parts would be added. There was also an upper level where other parts were made; they would be lowered over a balcony and then fixed onto the machine on the ground level. When the machine reached the end of the shop, it would be complete.

The company joined the Agricultural & General Engineers (AGE) combine in 1919, and the combine entered receivership in 1932.

The company was purchased by Beyer Peacock in 1932 after the collapse of AGE. The business continued as Richard Garrett Engineering Works until the works finally closed in 1981.

Today, part of the factory is preserved as the Long Shop Museum. The rest has been demolished and the land used for housing.

Source: on 25/3/2010.
estab. 1778
closed 1932
Place of Birth
Leiston, Suffolk, England
Place of Death
Leiston, Suffolk, England


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