The late Sidney Horstmann OBE, who was the son of a German clockmaker, originally formed the company in 1913.
His father, Gustav Horstmann, designed the world's first micrometer accurate to one ten thousandth of an inch. The original is still preserved in the Science Museum and a copy is in the Bath Industrial Heritage Museum.
The Horstmann Car
From 1915 to 1929, we manufactured around 4,000 cars. Some of the cars had aluminum bodies and were raced with some success at Brooklands. Horstmann pioneered work in the automotive industry in the 1920's and 30's and designed and manufactured a number of innovative engineering solutions. One of these was the development of alternative suspension systems.
The Horstman Suspension
In the military field Horstmann was best known for the suspension bogie which was patented in 1922. In this patent he refers to the use of a torsion bar to support the vehicle weight. This was around 9 years before Ferdinand Porsche founded his design company. But Horstmann bogies have typically featured coil springs, rubber, or Hydroelastic/Hydrogas units
The suspension system was adopted by both the UK and foreign armies during the Second World War as a high performance suspension system for tracked vehicles. The suspension still exists on vehicles today such as XXXXXXX and is known as the Horstmann Bogie.
The Horstman Hair Clippers
Horstman also excelled in other areas and was first to introduce a hair clipper which had a built-in adjustable blade to cope with varying lengths of hair.
This was further developed to incorporate a barbers chair with built in vacuum powered hair removal. The Company stopped manufacturing hair clippers in the 1960's.
Since 1980 Horstman has steadily increased its turnover, workforce and capacity. In 1990 Horstman took over the trade and assets of Coventry Climax Engines. Climax had traditionally been a specialist engine manufacturer with a number of auxiliary power units in military vehicles. The current Horstman site in Bath, occupies over 4,000 square meters and we employ 58 personnel.
In the 1950's Horstman was incorporated into the Simms Motor Group which was later taken over by the Lucas Group. In 1961 we moved to our current site next to the River Avon on Locksbrook Road. Lucas sold the company in 1980 to EIS PLC, a London based international holding company with a pedigree for progressive growth and security of investment. EIS was taken over by the TI Group in 1997 and TI was taken over by Smith Industries in 1999.
In 2001, Smiths sold Horstman to Harris Watson PLC along with our sister companies AB Precision and AGI.
Taken from the Horstmann Co. Website