About Jones OF OSWESTRY- HISTORY
IN THE BEGINNING
After leaving the army, returning from national service, with an exemplary record, glowing testimonial and a great deal of enthusiasm, Frederick Richard Jones set out in business in his native Shropshire. Being in a rural situation his first venture was in the local manufacture of farm gates and agricultural products, but to a quality not easily achieved in those post-war years.
QUALITY - THE CORNERSTONE
Number one in Frederick Jones’ philosophy continued to be quality, which was the cornerstone of his thinking and one which he maintained throughout his business life. This was to prove a major factor in his ongoing success and still manifests itself in the Company consciousness to this day.
This insistence on quality, coupled with a hard work ethic, resulted in steady growth of the company which eventually moved into an enlarged factory at Smithfield Works, Ellesmere, Shropshire, as Frederick Jones Limited.
Frederick Jones was never one to miss an opportunity. He identified that there was a shortage of quality standard manhole covers in the construction/merchant industry and was soon into production, manufacturing manhole covers to fill this gap in the industry. The covers were heavily marketed and became very successful.
THE FIRST PRESSED STEEL GALVANISED MANHOLE COVER
In 1968 the company pioneered and produced Europe’s very first Pressed Steel Galvanised Manhole Cover which was the first ground-breaking innovation from the Jones stable - many more were to follow.
In the early 70’s, the inclusion of Frederick Jones’ son into the business meant the company re-registered as Frederick Jones & Son, and continued to flourish with continued expansion in sales and product development.
Eventually, insufficient space at Ellesmere prompted the company to seek larger premises to aid expansion and bring essential production facilities in-house; especially galvanising.
MOVE TO OSWESTRY FACTORY
So, in the early 70’s the Company moved lock, stock and barrel 8 miles to their present home on the edge of Oswestry on the Shropshire/Wales border. It wasn’t long before the galvanising tanks were duly installed, allowing them to control finishing standards up to the high levels demanded by the management. This further enhanced their reputation as a quality manufacturer.
REPUTATION & RANGE
Like their range, the Frederick Jones & Son reputation continued to grow and a whole new set of products materialised, encompassing Access Cover Systems, Drainage Units and Channels. This new range quickly gained impetus and further innovations followed.
SPECIFIER FRIENDLY MANUALS
Recognising that quality products need the right kind of back-up, prompted the introduction of their specifier manuals. These early ring bound manuals were jam packed full of data and information designed to be user friendly and continued to convey a quality company and products
In the mid 70’s the then revolutionary heavy duty, post galvanised, steel SuperLintel was launched, it was to prove a long term winner setting new standards of strength and durability.
The heavy duty system was not only Hot Dipped Galvanised after manufacture but also ‘Duplex’ coated for added life expectancy.
With the strictly controlled in-house galvanising plant and the use of specially selected steel, the ultimate post galvanised finish could now be achieved - a facility uncommon at the time. This product finish was batch tested and certificated as the ‘Ultra-Galv’ process which had a minimum of 2000gms zinc coating, far in excess of BS 729, which provided the specifier with a longevity of product unequalled in the industry at the time – and now becoming more increasingly specified.
SHAPING UP TO THE FUTURE
As well as a 4mm to 6mm steel plate and quality zinc coating, all products offered standard and bespoke answers to numerous one-off shapes and situations. To underline the quality aspect, the company introduced a heraldic logo to further enhance the principal of quality and became known as simply, Jones of Oswestry.
SERVING THE SPECIFIER
During the mid-80’s and early 90’s, the company cemented relations with a growing number of clients by providing excellent service, products and technical backing, with increasingly exceptional bespoke Lintels and cover types and systems, which led to the company acquiring a “noticable” pedigree.
Jones have been responsible for many “Ground Breaking” advances in the industry over the company’s fifty year history, all highlighting the “Jones Pedigree” for quality and advanced product development. These quality issues and product developments were always looked at with initial scepticism by the industry but were in every case eventually accepted as the correct principals - principals copied - but rarely equalled.
FIRST PNEUMATIC ACCESS COVER
The earliest assisted lift cover developed to facilitate ease of frequent access for operatives, was developed into the petro chemical industries for garage forecourt usage. It provided the ideal solution for tanker drivers and local operatives who were continually lifting heavy covers to gain access to the filler caps. Thirty years in advance of the current H.S.E. guidelines for manual handling.
HEAVY DUTY POST GALVANISED STEEL SUPERLINTEL
First to develop a heavy duty steel lintel, hot dip galvanised after manufacture to a minimum of 2000gms (including both sides) which exceeded the galvanising standard of BS 729. Together with the “Duplex” coating, which was applied as standard it created a longevity of lintel unequalled in the industry. The “Superlintel” is synonymous with quality, heavy duty, design potential and a life span – now required by current legislation.
A EUROPEAN FIRST
The first European pressed lid access cover, which was hot-dip galvanised to ensure maximum corrosive protection. At the time of its development and distribution in 1968, it was far in advance of any other lid. Subsequent developments created many pressed lid types including the “Suprasteel” range - possibly the most recognised pressed cover across the UK - and the only pressed galvanised access cover available for many years.
FIRST RECESSED COVER FOR BLOCK PAVING
“Suprabloc” was the first recessed cover design for the new product introduced into urban renewals “Block Paving”. Suprabloc created a new cover type – copied many times, but never surpassed in quality or finish.
First to provide minimum 2000gms for all designated products. A process developed with specially selected steel and a controlled galvanitic process for unequalled longevity of products. Now of even more importance - 25 years after it’s introduction - the quality standard now being sought by the construction industry.
FIRST CONTINUOUS DRAINAGE
“Aquaslot” was another first for block infill cover types - designed for unobtrusive drainage of decorative paviour schemes.
FIRST TREE SURROUNDS
“Arborslot” was designed specifically to continue the aesthetics of block paviours up to the base of the tree, together with the provision of adequate irrigation of the root system.
FIRST LASER PROFILES
The “Ventraflow” range was the first to offer the hard landscaping specifier the ability to design product types and patterns in steel for any design - especially curved on plan.
A WORLD FIRST
Jones were the only company to accept the challenge by the London Electricity Board to design, manufacture and maintain the massive single leaf, hydraulically operated worlds first access covers for their sub-station in Leicester Square, London; which was subsequently opened by Her Majesty The Queen.
R.T.Z. ACQUIRE JONES
By the early 90’s the company was acquired by the R.T.Z. Group, but primarily the Catnic Building Components company within that group. The founder, Frederick Jones handed over the reigns and retired.
The products of Catnic and Jones complemented themselves and initially prospects of even greater developments were expected. However, changes within the group were to follow with firstly Caradon acquiring the Building Components Division of R.T.Z. and then subsequently Corus Steel.
Between acquisitions, Jones’ products and principals were stagnating. Through the acquisitions Jones was not seen as an exciting prospect, and was sold to a smaller steel based company outside the group. But without the knowledge of the construction industry, and by now the many professional staff having left the company Jones temporarily lost it’s momentum and it’s links with the “specifier” was gradually eroded.
The Steel Company which owned Jones went into receivership in early 2003. On September 16th 2003 Jones of Oswestry was acquired by two members of the original professional management team - who had left Jones’ some years previous to establish a company which eventually employed the majority of management originally at the ailing Jones. This total original management team is to again provide the specifer with what they came to expect from Jones for most of its fifty-year history - Quality and Service. After a major investment into new plant, office equipment, computers and factory refurbishment, Jones of Oswestry’s management is bursting with enthusiasm and brimming with re-kindled confidence.
With the continued backup of one Europe’s fastest growing groups - Jones is set to achieve new heights of service and product excellence.