Company History

HT Howard & Co Celebrated it’s 75th year in 2021.

The business has traded with its current name since 1953 and the company history reaches back 75 years to 1946. We have always maintained the ethos of providing quality specialist engine machining services with excellent customer service. We have exciting plans for 2021 with additional resources and the introduction of new services to support our customers.

Company history - The original owner, pictured from an advert for CORDS Piston Rings in 1959

From 1959 CORDS Piston Rings advert

 

Originally formed as “Howard and Blow” in 1946, partners Thomas Blow and Hopkin Howard established a business based in Slough primarily to service and maintain vehicles for their customers.  In a time where engines were far less reliable than today, they soon recognised a need for specialist engine repair work and the business developed in that direction.

The partnership came to an end in 1952, but Hopkin Theophilus Howard continued trading and H T Howard & Co Ltd was born in 1953.  “Old” Mr Howard concentrated on the reconditioning side of the business and  became an agent for CORDS Piston Rings and continued until 1966 when he was due to retire.  The company as it is today began to take shape after the father of the current owner became aware of Mr Howard’s impending retirement.

Tony Hawkes had been working for Gregory’s a company located near Maidenhead railway station and specialising in remanufacturing exchange engines for the Vauxhall/Bedford group of vehicles.  That company was to be taken over by a national vehicle dealership which had no interest in reconditioning engines and so had decided to close down the machine shop making Tony redundant. Tony approached the retiring Mr Howard and in very old school fashion a deal was done to allowing them to work together for one year while Tony got to know the customers before taking over completely.

After becoming the boss of a reliable and respected business with a good reputation and client base, Tony decided not to change the name and so the company still carries the name of its original founder to this day. The business continued to grow and Tony was soon joined by his father in law, George Baldwin.  He was followed a few years later by Tony’s brother in law Pete Knight.  The three of them continued to work together for many years with each of them specialising in their own area of expertise.  Pete did the crank grinding, George the head work and Tony the rebores.  Along with a flourishing section for supplying parts the company grew ever stronger.

 

The next major development occurred, when in 1979, Andy Hawkes came into the business to join his father.  The addition of an extra staff member allowed further expansion into other areas of reconditioning and machining.  New machines and equipment were bought and new areas explored.

Company History - Serdi 100 - Valve Seat Machining Centre

Serdi 100 – Valve Seat Machining Centre

 

Eventually, George reached retirement and shortly after Pete decided to leave and follow a new career path after many years service. This was something of a decision time for Tony who could have wound the company up or sold it off and taken early
retirement himself. Instead though, the decision was taken to support his son Andy and reinvest with a view to developing the business to a higher level.The father and son team worked ever harder to try and save the money needed to invest in new equipment and machinery.  The first fruit of this effort was delivery of a brand new Serdi 100 valve seat machining centre in 1989. This machine is still operational and is ideal for one off jobs due to its adjustability.

 

Company history - Moving to Unit 15 in 1990 - Crane lifting Serdi 100

Moving to Unit 15 in 1990 – Crane lifting Serdi 100

This investment was quickly followed by a decision to move from the original Bradley Road site to a newly refurbished building which would allow better working conditions for proposed staff recruitment.  The move to our existing Wexham Road site was completed in April 1990.

Our first non family employee joined us in 1992 and was followed by a second in 1996.  We have always maintained a policy of employing younger trainees, and through a combination of college based and internal training building them up to be competent machinists capable of achieving the standards we expect.

All our existing staff have passed through this training programme and to our credit none of our existing employees has less than 12 years automotive machining experience.  In total we have over 100 years of experience between us!

2013 will mark the 67th anniversary for H T Howard & Co and in that time our company has seen many changes to the type of vehicles we work on and the machining services we are able to offer.  From humble beginnings working mainly with piston re-rings and the occasional rebore to the present day.  We now offer many remanufacturing processes with much higher tolerances demanded by modern and racing engines but remaining sympathetic to the repair of the engines of yesteryear which were the mainstay of our workload during the early days.

For 2021 and our 75th year of trading, we have exciting plans to further enhance the Engine Machining and Specialist Machining services that we offer to trade customers and to enthusiasts.

Call us for expert advice and a quotation for your engine machining requirements.