Click on the circles below to find out what we've been up to each decade from the CENTURY and SILKOLENE days right through to FUCHS today.
Walker Brothers Oil was founded by John and William Walker. The business came from the discovery of commercially exploitable deposits of crude oil in the seam of a local colliery.
Business as usual.
Business as usual.
The CENTURY trade name commemorates the turn of the century, when Walker Brothers Oils moved from the original Cobridge site to a new one a quarter of a mile away from Hanley.
Dalton & Company was founded by William Dalton. They manufactured and sold veterinary products to local farmers. Later, Mr Dalton realised there was potential in selling lubricants for farmers’ machinery and began developing oils for the motor industry.
Shortly after, Mr Dalton was joined by his two sons Frank and Cecil Dalton who serviced as chairmen of the company.
Initially Dalton & Company bought in oil for resale, but commenced their own blending operation at Strutt Street in Belper (next door to the post office).
Mr & Mrs W Dalton lived in a semi-detached house next to part of the premises, opposite the post office.
Walker Brothers Oil became William Walker and Sons (Hanley) Limited and until the end of the Second World War the company principally traded in the Midlands and North of England supplying lubricants and associated products to local industry and, in particular, local mining companies.
Following rapid expansion, Dalton & Co commissioned a new oil refinery in Derby Road, Belper, where the company stayed until June 2000.
When the main business moved, Mrs Dalton moved to a house in the new premises.
Rudolf Fuchs, founded the RUDOLF FUCHS company in Mannheim. The company imported and sold high-quality Pennsylvanian refinery products, and began the development of a regional motor oil business.
The RUDOLF FUCHS company started in-house production of lubricants.
Dalton & Co realised the potential of establishing a re-refining service for used aero engine oils.
During World War Two, twenty million gallons of used engine oils were re-refined for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, thus conserving supplies of these vital strategic materials.
After the war, the capacity of the refinery was turned over to the production of high quality lubricants and the development of re-refining as part of their basic lubrication programme for commercial customers.
William Walker had two sons – William and Sampson. Sampson Walker was made Managing Director, a position he held until 1947.
FUCHS lubricants start to be promoted at German automobile race tracks.
Stoke-on-Trent was formed by six towns (Stoke-upon-Trent, Hanley, Burslem, Longton, Fenton and Tunstall) which developed independently of one another. As people started to move freely between the towns, there was confusion over road names as there was a lot of duplication (for example, there were 12 High Streets!)
In 1955, the council decided to rename many of the streets and a booklet was published outlining the change in street names.
Clarence Street was renamed as Sampson Street in honour of Sampson Walker. Brook Street was renamed as Century Street after the large CENTURY oils plant on the road.
In 1956, Walker Brothers became a public company under the name Walkers (Century Oils) Limited.
The name was later changed to Century Oils Limited, and finally to Century Oils Group Limited in 1976.
Death of company founder Rudolf Fuchs. The FUCHS company continues as a family business.
Following an enquiry from a South African Diamond mine for a product to improve their diamond recovery techniques, Dalton & Co decided to investigate the production of petroleum jelly. After detailed research, a plant was commissioned and the first supplies of a medium-quality jelly were shipped to South Africa in 1961.
Dalton & Co were the first plant in the UK to manufacture pharmaceutical and cosmetic quality jellies in the UK. The ‘Silkolene’ name was born as Dalton & Co’s range of petroleum jellies.
FUCHS took the first steps towards becoming an international company with the founding of subsidiaries in France and Spain.
CENTURY acquired Snowdrift Lubricants Limited, a company trading principally in the South and South-West of England and manufacturing a range of products including engine coolants and automotive lubricants.
CENTURY acquired Amicoil Limited, and started to move into the waste oil reclamation business. Amicoil Limited operated a small re-refining plant in Uddingston, near Glasgow. CENTURY’s decision to move into the waste reclamation business was fuelled by the possibility of base oil supply shortages due to worsening situations in the Middle East adn the long term effects of introduction North Sea oils.
Following on from the acquisition of the re-refinery in Uddingston, Baybrooke Chemical Services Limited and its subsidiaries were incorporated into CENTURY to establish a national network for used oil collection.
CENTURY started the construction of a second refinery in Dartford (Kent).
CENTURY acquired Sterckx et Cie SA, a lubricant manufacture and distributing company based in Brussels. They also acquired A P Oil (Europe) SA, with a view to extending European business.
CENTURY also established A P Oil (UK) Limited to supply wholesale lubricant base oils and other raw materials around the UK.
CENTURY was the largest independent lubricant company in the UK, and one of the largest independent lubricant producers in Europe. For the tax year ending March 1976, CENTURY sales were over £14 million.
FUCHS celebrates its 50th anniversary. Happy Birthday FUCHS!
Following on from Dalton & Co’s expertise in synthetic aircraft fluids technology, the UK motorcycle market was next to be conquered. The Silkolene brand fully entered the motorsport world with Silkolene rally teams and a long-term sponsorship agreement with Honda UK’s motorcycle race team.
Dalton shareholders sold to the FUCHS Group.
Dalton & Co officially changed their name to Silkolene Lubricants Plc on 29th May 1990.
FUCHS acquires CENTURY OILS.
1st January 1996: Silkolene Lubricants Plc and Century Oils are incorporated under the name of FUCHS Lubricants (UK) Plc.
Richard Halhead (later to become MD) started at FUCHS in 1997 as Financial Controller.
TT winner Norman Burgess joins FUCHS.
As of 1st January 1998, FUCHS became responsible for the FUCHS Group’s world wide motorcycle business. FUCHS officially forms the Silkolene Motorcycle Marketing Centre.
The CENTURY “Agricent” products are relaunched as FUCHS AGRIFARM – a specialist range of products designed for the agricultural industry.
FUCHS becomes the UK’s first company to achieve quality standard QS9000.
The first FUCHS Lubricants (UK) Plc website goes live – with 9 pages!
FUCHS SILKOLENE scored a hat trick with motorcycle sponsorship, sponsoring three major winners:
Major construction work commences at Hanley for a finished goods warehouse extension, a new packaging warehouse and raw materials warehouse extension.
FUCHS Petrolub AG becomes the world’s largest independent lubricant supplier, with sales of 900 million Euros and 4,000 employees.
Belper site closed and employees are transferred to the Hanley plant.
Work begins on a new petroleum jelly plant
FUCHS aquires the Ovoline Lubricants business from North East based business Brett Oils Ltd.
FUCHS 75th anniversary. Happy Birthday FUCHS!
Sales have increased significantly, with sales revenue of 1.2 billion Euros and 60 operating companies worldwide.
FUCHS opens the new head office of FUCHS Lubritech, Kaiserslautern.
FUCHS acquires the Shell CASSIDA food grade lubricant business.
FUCHS invests in five brand new liveried trucks to join the fleet. The significant investment of over £70,000 per truck is reflective of the continued growth in business we’re seeing at FUCHS.
Brand new VELVETONE Hygiene range is launched.
As of 1st January 2013, the FUCHS Lubritech UK division was transferred to FUCHS Lubricants, enabling us to provide the full portfolio of lubricants to our customers from one site.
Latest news for 2013: !st June 2013, the new website goes live!