1888 to 1920
It all started in 1888, when Mr Herman Sanders established a general merchant business in London. A couple of years later he joined forces with Mr Rehders where Sanders, Rehders and Company was established and they began importing steam traps and recording instruments from Germany.
The company grew and in 1907 the Sarco Fuel Saving and Engineering Company was incorporated in New York, USA as a branch office of Sanders, Rehders and Company. Over the years, the company became known as Sarco Company Inc.
During World War 1, an embargo on German shipping threatened to cut off the supply of steam traps to the USA so Sarco Company Inc. purchased the patent from their German suppliers and appointed a manufacturer based in Pennsylvania to make the steam traps on their behalf. In later years, Sarco established their own manufacturing plant in the USA and started manufacturing for themselves.
1920 to 1934
In April 1923, Sanders, Rehders and Company was wound up. During 1926, Walker Crosweller and Company negotiated with Clement Wells to commence selling Sarco manufactured steam traps in the UK. Since the Sarco trademark belonged to the British company (Sarco Engineering and Trading Company), the traps had to be sold under a different name. The trade name “Spirax” was chosen, deriving from the helical, spiral tubing which formed an integral part of the steam traps.
On 29th March 1927, the Sarco Engineering and Trade Company wound up and a new business, Sarco Company, was incorporated in London.
1935 to 1952
During 1935, Sarco Company (UK) stopped selling Sarco thermostats and several years later became known as the Renown Instrument Company. Looking for a suitable organisation to sell Sarco thermostats in the UK, Clement Wells established Sarco Thermostats Ltd in London in May 1937.
In November 1937, the Spirax Manufacturing Company moved to Cheltenham.
During 1939, all Walker Crosweller and Company staff involved in selling Spirax equipment were transferred to the Spirax Manufacturing Company, dissolving the partnership between the two companies.
In September 1944, Sarco Thermostats Ltd became a subsidiary of the Spirax Manufacturing Company. The following year, in 1945, the Spirax Manufacturing Company, together with Sarco Thermostats, moved its company headquarters to Charlton House, Cheltenham. (Charlton House remains the headquarters of Spirax-Sarco Engineering today.)
1952 to 1989
In 1952, the assets of the Spirax Manufacturing Company and its subsidiary Sarco Thermostats Ltd were acquired by Lionel Northcroft and Herbet Smith and the two companies were combined as Spirax-Sarco Ltd.
On 1st May 1959, Spirax Sarco floated on the London Stock Exchange as Spirax-Sarco Engineering Ltd.
On 29th April 1983, Spirax Sarco Inc., the American company that was by this time owned by White Consolidated Industries Inc., was purchased by Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc. Three months later the Group completed the purchase of White’s Canadian steam trap business. With these acquisitions Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc obtained the rights to use the Sarco brand name in the USA and later, in Canada, giving the company exclusive rights to the Sarco name worldwide.The Sarco Engineering and Trading Company was established as a subsidiary of Sanders, Rehders and Company in London.
1990 to now
In 1990, Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc acquired Watson-Marlow pumps, which had been established in 1956 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, to produce medical pumps.
In 2017, Spirax Sarco announced the acquisition of Gestra, a technology leader in advanced industrial boiler control systems, which also specialises in the design and production of valves and control systems and fluid process control. Through this acquisition, the company acquired world-leading boiler control technologies and also expanded its market share. The Spirax Steam Specialties business is now the global leader in the supply of engineered solutions for the design, maintenance and provision of efficient industrial and commercial steam systems. The name Spirax Sarco has become synonymous with the control and efficient use of steam and industrial fluids worldwide.
During 2017, Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc announced the acquisition of Chromalox, a USA based provider of electrical products, systems and solutions for industrial process heating and temperature management. Chromalox, which operates as an independent segment within the Spirax Sarco business group, substantially increases the Group’s total addressable market. Chromalox is closely related to the Steam Specialties business in delivering thermal energy solutions, with the decision between using steam or electricity as a heating medium being driven by differing needs of the application or customer circumstances. The Group’s electric thermal energy division was further strengthened, in 2019, by the acquisition of Thermocoax, a leading designer and manufacturer of highly engineered electric thermal solutions for critical applications in high added value industries. In December 2018, Spirax-Sarco Engineering PLC became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Today, Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc has the most complete worldwide coverage of any business in our sectors. We have operating units (operating companies, branches and associate) in over 45 countries and a direct sales presence in over 60 countries worldwide. In addition, we have distributors in nearly 60 countries. Together, our operating units, sales offices and distributors allow us to serve approximately 100,000 customers in over 110 countries.