Desoutter Products Ltd

EAST PRESTON, 16th February, 1988.

This visit again was fully subscribed and a party of 25 first saw a video film depicting the history of the company. The Desoutter brothers, Charles and Marcel, were the sons of a watchmaker who came to this country from Normandy. When Marcel lost a leg in an air crash in 1912 Charles an engineer, designed a light metal limb – the first of its kind. This was very successful. The demand for artificial limbs created by World War I led to the establishment of Desoutter Bros, in 1914. The next step was the development of the tools needed for limb manufacture – principally die sets and pneumatic hand tools – and these took an increasing share of the business. Artificial limb manufacture ceased with the advent of the National Health Service in 1949.

The main factory, established in Hendon in 1924 remains, but there are now two other manufacturing units in the U.K.

Desoutter Products Ltd., carries out most of the machining requirements of the Group: it also is responsible for the complete manufacture of a small number of products, e.g. vacuum and dust extraction attachments. We were able to see the progress made in mass production tools during the last two decades from single and multi-spindle automatic lathes to NC machining centres. Sadly only a few of the oldest machines were of
British manufacture. We noted how few were the operators, in fact certain machines were run through the night virtually unattended.
It was not surprising to learn that further expansion is planned, on a new site recently acquired nearby.