A COMPANY that was almost wiped out in a devastating fire 17 years ago has marked 50 years in business.
Montgomery Engravers Ltd, based at Red Doles Road, Fartown, was badly affected by the arson attack in 1996 which gutted a new extension and caused extensive smoke damage to the original part of its premises.
After having to “shrink back” into its original factory space, the firm split its workforce into two shifts and worked tirelessly to keep production going as the extension was re-built.
By the end of the year, the enlarged site was back in operation.
Montgomery Engravers specialises in screen printing, chemically etching and machine engraving signs, nameplates and labels on materials such as stainless steel, brass, aluminium, laminated plastics and self-adhesive PVC.
The firm was founded in 1961 by Frank Montgomery and Gordon Keighley – and became incorporated shortly after Fred Montgomery joined in 1963.
The business began in a small workshop on Fern Street, off St. Andrew’s Road, before outgrowing the premises and moving to Bradley Mills – next to the old Huddersfield Town ground – in the late 1960s.
The company expanded further in 1977 with the addition of a site in Elland, which was managed by David Telford.
In 1983, Fred Montgomery retired and his son Peter, who had joined the company in 1976, became a director.
Further expansion in 1985 saw the two sites amalgamated with the purchase of the firm’s current site at Fartown.
David became a director and when Frank Montgomery retired in 1986, Peter and David bought his majority holding in the firm to become equal shareholders.
Following David’s death in 1987, his widow Ann, who had worked for the firm since 1977, became a director.
In 1989, a much-needed extension was built to create more production space – before the fire almost brought about the firm’s demise.
The company, which is a proud sponsor of the Bradley-based Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, now has 25 employees and is looking forward to the next 50 years.
Its core business is chemically etching nameplates – such as ones produced for the National Lottery.
The firm also produces medical labels for G E Healthcare in America, which has off-shoot companies in this country.
A high percentage of customers have been with the firm for many years, including hospital beds and medical equipment manufacturer Sidhil in Halifax for whom Montgomery produces screen-printed sticky labels and alu-printed aluminum rulers to go on their hospital beds.
Another long-standing customer is Cadamp, for whom the firm print onto free issue electrical sockets.
Overseas customers include ones in Italy and Finland.
A spokesman said: “Most of the staff who work for Montgomery Engravers have been with us between eight and 40 years.
“In that time, they have shown loyalty and dedication with the continuous efforts of sending out high quality work.
“All of the work we produce is bespoke to each customer and with the knowledge and experience of our staff we are able to achieve any requirements.”