Picture of Lance Read, vice president general manager of Avery Weigh-Tronix in Victorian costume cutting a cake at the company's 200th birthday party

Avery Weigh-Tronix celebrates 200th birthday party

Published:  12 June, 2018

Industrial weighing manufacturers Avery Weigh-Tronix has celebrated 200th birthday party with a Best of British themed bash for employees.

The party was held at the historic 25-acre Soho Foundry headquarters in Smethwick, Birmingham which the company have occupied since 1895.

During the celebrations, in a nod to the company’s Victorian heritage, employees were treated to vintage fairground games, traditional fish and chips, afternoon teas and historical talks which looked back on the key milestones and innovations over Avery’s 200-year history.

The roots of Avery Weigh-Tronix extend back to 1731 when James Ford established a business as a maker of stilliards (portable scales) in Digbeth, near central Birmingham, UK. As the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum, in 1818 the business was transferred to William Avery, soon joined by his brother Thomas, who traded under the name W&T Avery.

Over the course of the next 200 years Avery Weigh-Tronix defined the global weighing industry in many ways.

The company designed and manufactured the world’s first weighbridge in 1876. A far cry from the modern weighbridges of today which are used to weigh lorries, the 1876 version was used to weigh a horse and cart. Weighbridges are still manufactured at the company’s Soho Foundry site in Smethwick.

In 1971, Avery Weigh-Tronix revolutionised the weighing industry with the introduction of the world’s first electronic scale. The complex design of the scale meant it was impossible to tamper with weight readings and so ensured a fairer deal for consumers and suppliers.

Today, innovation continues at the heart of the company’s strategy, with newly patented product designs launched this year and a launch of all-inclusive service agreements focus on customer uptime.

Throughout their 200-year history Avery Weigh-Tronix also had a huge impact in the West Midlands region. The Avery family were renowned for treating their employees well; running an array of social activities including family trips to the country, a drama society and military band.

In 1900 they pioneered the UK’s first employee suggestion scheme, with £5 awarded to best suggestion. Today, Avery Weigh-Tronix are still a main employer in Smethwick with 3rd generation family members and staff with more than 40 years’ service still working today.

Avery Weigh-Tronix created another company milestone during the celebrations, when the company broke the Guinness World Record for the most people on one scale.

To break the record, 207 Avery employees squeezed onto a 12m long weighbridge which had been manufactured on the Soho Foundry site.

Lance Read, vice president general manager of Avery Weigh-Tronix, said: ‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication.

‘The world over the past 200 years has seen a great deal of change and the success of Avery Weigh-Tronix is a direct result of our ability to continually evolve to meet our customers’ changing demands.

‘Over the next 200 years and beyond, we will continue to build on our success by working as a team and placing the customer at the heart of everything we do.’

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