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Oil companies under the lamplight: Fuchs

Fuchs is the biggest independent lubricant manufacturer in the world.

The company is strong in research and development, which enables it to continually create new products. In fact, 70% of Fuchs’ sales come from lubricants that it has developed over the past five years.

The business supplies products for industrial and automotive applications, as well as specialist sectors that include the manufacture of wire rope and pharmaceuticals. Fuchs offers its customers a 24-hour helpline, along with other forms of technical support.

The history of Fuchs involves three different companies. The first company originated in Cobridge, Staffordshire, in 1874, when William and John Walker founded Walker Brothers Oil after finding crude oil in their local coal mine.

In the year 1900, the name of the firm was changed to Century Oils and the company moved to a new site nearby. By the 1920s, the company was supplying lubricants throughout the North of England and the Midlands. In 1976, Century Oils was the UK’s biggest lubricant business, having acquired several other companies along the way.

The second company was created in 1908 when William Dalton of Belper, Derbyshire, founded Dalton & Company, a business that made and sold veterinary products to farmers. Dalton later began to develop and sell lubricants as well.

Rudolf Fuchs of Mannheim founded the third company in 1931, an oil importing firm that then became a business that produced lubricants.

By the 1960s, Dalton & Company had developed the Silkolene brand of petroleum jellies, while Fuchs was becoming an international company. In the 1980s Dalton & Co’s Silkolene brand became popular in the motorcycle world and, in 1989, Fuchs bought the business, which altered its name to Silkolene Lubricants Plc in 1990.

In 1991, Fuchs bought Century Oils and, in 1996, both Century Oils and Silkolene Lubricants Plc were incorporated to form Fuchs Lubricants (UK) Plc.

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