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The Horstmann Gear Company, Ltd.
Newbridge Works (main company and for gas controller enquiries)
The Horstmann Gear Company, Ltd.
Albion Works (for electrical enquiries)

1930s logo

1940s logo

1950s logo

In 1904, the firm produced the first commerical gas controllers using quick action gascocks for use with incandescent burners (there were crude gas controllers on the market before this but these were controlling 'Batswing' flames). - [Public Lighting, Golden Jubilee, 1974]

Also in 1904 [could be incorrect], were the first to obtain an astronomical dial which is now called the solar dial. This was patented and it's believed all designs of astronomical dials have been based on this principle, having world wide usage.- [Public Lighting, Golden Jubilee, 1974]

In 1934/5, introduced the Comet Automatic Gas Ignitors, the first of the type in its field being covered by patents, and gives a significant saving in running costs, making the use of a permanent pilot unnecessary.- [Public Lighting, Golden Jubilee, 1974]

The company have sold nearly 40,000 standard Newbridge controllers over the past year. New features include the "Equinox" byepass head for gas ignition which consists of an all metal heavily chromium plated cup into which is rivetted a jet of pure platinum - this is to ensure immunity from corrosion or carburization. And for engineers who dislike byepasses, a new Electro-Catalytic igniter has been designed which uses a filament pre-heated by a 3V battery. The gas is led to the filament by means of a neat scoop and immediately impinges on the filament which glows intensely and causes the gas to ignite. The battery circuit is automatically cut-out after 3-5 seconds pause and batteries last for seven months. A Newbridge 35-42 day hand wound time-switch with solar dial is available for electrical circuits which is substantially cheaper and far less complicated than electrically wound models and is being offered for economical reasons. - APLE Exhibition Catalogue 1932

The company had a comprehensive display of thei well-known Newbridge products. All standard types of Gas Controllers were shown together with the Comet igniter - the latter being of interest as it eliminates the use of bye-passes and the problems associated with extinguished pilot jets. So far the Comet has only been available for square lanterns, but the company has now produced an entinrely new type of Controller in which the Type 15/3A Controller and Comet Igniter are incorporated in one case. By the use of this Controller, Comet Ignition can be applied to any type of Suspension Lamp. - Public Lighting #3, 1936

They are exhibiting Newbridge Controllers and Comet Igniters in over 30 demonstration lamps at the APLE's Folkestone conference in 1937. The Controllers are fitted in the base of the lamp standards, and the Comets are fitted above the lamps, the batteries for the Comet being attached to the lamp standards near the lamp. The Comets are Mark II and are fitted in cases of Sugg's design. - APLE Conference Programme 1937

They exhibited a wide range of Newbridge Clock Controllers and Comet Automatic Ignition Devices for public lighting. The chief feature of the exhibit was the wide variety of lamps shown from Sugg, Foster And Pullen, Keith Blackman and Parkinson. Last year (1937) the outstanding success of the Mark III Comet for square lanterns and Type 15/3A/COM Controller (which embodies the Controller and Comet in a weatherproof case) for suspension lamps led to many requests from Public Lighting Engineers, gas undertakings, and lamp manufacturers for a Comet suitable for suspension lamps which were already clock controlled. Therefore a new Comet in a weatherproof case for suspension and U bracket lamps is expected. The Newbridge Service Pressure Governor was also shown (although it wasn't often encountered in actual distribution practice). - Public Lighting #9, 1938

The firm have a comprehensive display including a type of Clock Controller and "Comet" for practically every type of gas lamps. Over the past eighteen months, over 50,000 public lamps have been fitted with Comet igniters.

Advantages of igniters over a constantly burning byepass:

  • Manifest economy in gas consumption is achieved.
  • Comet ignition is more reliable than byepass ignition (especially in stormy weather).
  • Due to the reliability, public lighting maintenance costs are considerably reduced.
The Newbridge Controllers and Comets will be shown applied to many types of street lamps. Experiments with Air Raid Devices are also being exhibited.

Meanwhile, in separate adverts and write-ups, the firm are also exhibiting their electrical time switches. The range includes 15, 21 and 40-day run, hand-wound models, synchronous motor driven, synchronous driven with reserve spring storage and electrically wound models. The Type K unit is described extensively. - Public Lighting #10, 1938 and APLE Conference Programme 1938

Newbridge Gas Controllers and H.B.E. Electric Time Switches are both being displayed. Production of both were limited by war production. The patented Solar Dial is available as an option for all models. - APLE Conference Programme 1945

The Newbridge Mark IX Comet is now being advertised with the Newbridge 3A/UNI Controller. The Comet has been improved and is now rendered free of electrical tracking and the shortened battery facilitates the changing of batteries in square lanterns. By the use of Comet ignitors, the need for a by-pass is eliminated, and saves an average annual saving of up to 1,500 cu. ft. of gas per lamp. Other controllers for vertical or descending supply lanterns, embodying hand-set or solar-dials, is exhibited. - APLE Conference Programme 1946

Solar Dials, in the production of which Horstmann are forerunners, are becoming increasingly popular. The lessons learnt in war-time production are being applied with a view to greatly increasing output and raising standards. Among a range of time switches, the type "K" unit has the smallest practicable overall dimensions consistent with safe design. Self-starting synchronous motor-driven movements are fitted as standard. A new electric widn movement has been evolved and solar dials are becoming increasingl popular. - APLE Conference Programme 1946

Great stress is being laid on the savings effected in public lighting costs by Comet Ignition which eliminates permanent byepasses. A comprehensive range of controllers suitable for all types of gas street lamps may be seen, including 21 day and 40 day run models. The Industrial Type 3A/UNI is fitted with compression unions and fixing bracket and is attaining great popularity where industrial time control is required. The 3/VER, for use with water loaded governors, may also be seen. - APLE Conference Programme 1948

A wide range of Time Switches, including synchronous, electrical wound and hand wound types, for Street Lighting, Industrial and Domestic purposes is exhibited. Hand wound models of 15, 21 or 40 day run are behing shown. The electric wind movement on show is powered by a 200 R.P.M. synchronous motor designed and manufactured by the company. This motor winds the mainspring and takes over in the event of current failures and ensures that a seven day reserve run is maintained in the spring barrel. A star wheel opens and closes contacts thereby ensuring that power is not wasted in winding the spring when it is already fully wound. The maintained synchronous movement also has th synchronous motor incorporated. As well as winding the spring, this motor also vibrates an arm which transmits synchronous impulses to the balance. The movement is thereby forced to beat in sympathy with A.C. frequency. The length of the reserve spring run is much greater than that claimed for another other model produced. Time switches with capacities ranging from 5 to 600 amps can be supplied by this company. - APLE Conference Programme 1948

APLE Exhibition Catalogue Blackpool 1932
APLE Conference Programme Folkestone 1937
APLE Conference Programme Bournemouth 1938
APLE Conference Programme Glasgow 1945
APLE Conference Programme London 1946
APLE Conference Programme Southport 1947
APLE Conference Programme Eastbourne 1948

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