A Short History of Thompson and Hudson Wire Machinery

Joe Thompson George M. Thompson
The Firm was originally started in 1903 by Joe Thompson at the age of 28. His father was a quarry owner in Southowram near Halifax in West Yorkshire and was one of eight children and he was an apprentice to a company in Brighouse - Alfred Robinson who made machinery for the Wire Industry. Joe’s first design was a crane that was made of iron and steel. He wanted to make a crane to last longer than the wooden type that was available at the time.
After a few years, a partnership was drawn up between Joe and John Willie Walton. Most of their customers were local quarry and monumental masons and various types of cranes were produced from their small works in Elland.
In 1927 Joe Thompson filed a patent for “Improvements in trouser stretchers and creasers”. These devices placed inside the trousers would keep in the creasers.
One special crane was used by a well-known amusement family in Yorkshire and was fitted to the back of a steam road locomotive and driven by a special drum from the back wheels.   At the end of World War I, Joe Thompson was again working alone after his partner left.   During this period he started to produce a ‘new line’.
His first wire straightening and cutting machine   was developed and most of his orders came from the Sheffield and Birmingham areas.
In 1926, the year of the General Strike, Mr. Munroe, a designer by trade, joined forces with Joe Thompson and the Company became known as Thompson & Munroe Limited. Between them they designed the first high speed straightening and cutting machines. Over the years the business grew stronger and at the end of World War II, the Company had a 2 year order book.
George M Thompson (Joe Thompson’s son) joined the Company when he was still only 14 in 1922. He later became a partner in the Company after Philip Munroe’s death and later became sole owner after Joe’s retirement.

George became semi-retired in 1984 and took an active interest in the Company until his death in 1987.

In 1988 Thompson and Munroe Limited merged with Hudson Forge Limited who had been making a similar range of wire straightening and cutting machines in Brighouse since the second World War and now trade as Thompson & Hudson Wire Machinery.
This High Speed straightening and cutting machine was demonstrated at many of the leading wire manufacturers having been installed in the back of an old taxi and driven from the drive shaft. The demonstration machine with the taxi was eventually sold to a company in Warrington and Joe Thompson caught the train back to Brighouse!
George’s son, Paul, who joined in 1967 remains head of the Company to the present day and remains true to the values and beliefs that were held so many years ago. In 2003, it will be 100 years’ since Joe first started to make his iron and steel cranes. Quality of service and workmanship is as important today as it was then.

Paul M.Thompson