The History of Armfield Engineering

Used by many of the world’s leading corporations, Armfield systems enable researchers and product developers to replicate full-scale industrial manufacturing processes on a miniature-scale in the laboratory.

The Company maintains a strong market presence globally, supported by a network of 100 agents and representatives worldwide. Armfield also maintains core values of quality, innovation and service throughout the business, from the strict quality control measures applied across the Company’s activities to market leading after-sales service, backed up by a 2 year extended warranty on all Armfield products.


1875 – 1945

Armfield Scouring Machine manufactured circa 1890 (M)
The Company was originally formed in Ringwood, England in 1875. The founder, 23 year old Joseph J. Armfield, was a Quaker who had decided to settle in the town following a brief visit. J.J. Armfield had gained invaluable experience as an apprentice at an iron works in Carshalton, near London, and began manufacturing and repairing farm and milling machinery on the site of an old brewery just outside Ringwood town centre. The business thrived, employing 30 men by 1876.

In 1887, the first Armfield water turbine was produced. These soon became the core of the business and by 1939, although Joseph Armfield was no longer leading the Company, Armfield had sold over 1,000 machines throughout the world.

1945 – 1974

Following World War II, the business expanded into areas such as river control gates and pumps, while existing areas of the business also continued to progress, now producing single turbines capable of producing up to 5,000 b.h.p.

The 1950’s and 60’s brought widely accessible higher education to the general public, and with it a huge demand for equipment to use in teaching establishments. The Company took full advantage of this, forming the ‘Technical Education Equipment Division’ in 1963 in order to supply small-scale hydraulics equipment to engineering faculties. The development of this business saw Armfield become the leading UK supplier of Fluid Mechanics and Applied Hydraulics teaching equipment by the end of the decade.

1974 – 1981

In 1974, the Company was restructured. The historic engineering Company continued, although was later absorbed into an international engineering group. A new Technical Education Equipment Division was formed, and subsequently bought by an international consortium specialising in engineering teaching equipment for the higher education sector.

1981 – 1989

In 1981, the then management of the Company performed a management buyout, forming an autonomous privately owned Company specialising exclusively in educational equipment, at that time called Armfield Technical Education Equipment Company Limited.

1989 – Present

1989 saw the change to the Company’s present name, Armfield Limited. The Company also began to diversify its activities, finding a ready market in the beverage and pharmaceutical industries for many products originally developed for education, but with the potential for broader application in research and development within these industrial sectors. Later in 1989, the Company formed its associate company, Armfield Inc, to expand its sales and service capabilities in North America.

Today, Armfield’s business is focussed on two sectors; Engineering Education and Industrial Research & Development. Armfield remains the market leader not only in the area of technical education equipment, but also now in research and development equipment for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

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