Inventions in Transport from Bradford

Hepolite Engines

Hepolite was another Bradford manufacturing company, founded in 1907. Yet, instead of making cars or motorcycles, they made components (parts) of internal combustion engines. 

Parts for any vehicle in the world:

They made the widest range of pistons, piston rings, piston pins and cylinder liners in the world. They wanted to provide Hepolite products to suit any vehicle. 

This meant that they needed a huge number of designs and the company had a huge design drawing office to create blueprints for the production of an enormous range of products. The designers had to know about every new development and make sure their products kept up.


Hepolite could make any number of items for customers - from a single piston to thousands. This meant that they had to be very flexible and at one time the ring shop at St Johnís Works covered 90,000 square feet and housed over 500 production machines. Each week these machines made over one million piston rings.



Blueprint - a technical plan used in buildings or manufacturing

Component - a part of something larger

Flexible - able to change and do different things

Piston - cylinder-shaped part in an engine that slides up and down

Products - items made in manufacturing to be sold

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Comment on this page

  • Posted by Hazel Foster nee Garrett on 21/02/2017

    Hi Mark, thank you so much for your comment. My dad Billy Garrett would have loved to see that - I doubt he ever did. Tragically we lost him to Motor Neurone Disease in June last year (2016), having been diagnosed in January 2015. We met a number of his former apprentices at the funeral - you were probably not aware. I don't know if you remember him having children but my brother was born in 1972, my sister in 1974 and myself in 1976, during your time there! Many thanks! X

  • Posted by My Learning Team on 05/03/2015

    Thanks Neil for sharing your memories of Hepworth and Greenwood! It's great to have so many people sharing memories of the firm. This section is turning into an extra oral history resource!

  • Posted by Neil Greenwood on 04/03/2015

    My father John Greenwood worked at Hepworth & Grandage starting at 14 years old in 1929. He retired in 1980 after 51 years and I believe was the longest serving employee. I remember well the Christmas Parties in the 50's for all the kids, attended by both my sisters and myself.

  • Posted by My Learning on 20/10/2014

    Thank you Pauline and Mark for sharing your connections with Hepworth and Grandage!

  • Posted by Pauline Larter on 18/10/2014

    My dad James Donnelly worked at Hepworth and Grandage until about 1958. I always remember meeting him out of work on payday and walking home with him down Wakefield Road to Francis St.

  • Posted by Mark Coulton on 22/05/2014

    I was a student apprentice at Hepworth and Grandage from 1972 to 1977. What they taught me about engineering, work ethic and enjoyment was beyond measure and has stayed with me throughout my life. Grateful thanks to Mr John Pollard and Billy Garrett.

  • Posted by robert usher on 11/11/2009

    Piston ring production moved to Sunderland in the 60's. Rings were cast in either HG10, HG22 OR HG26. The HG10 was a high carbon steel & usually used for top compression rings. HG22 & HG26 were used for oil rings or chrome plated rings. Production lasted until the 90's. I worked in the sunderland factory from 68 until 85 ranging from machine op, planning eng, prod eng & finally design draftsman.

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