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50 years of pneumatics success - another golden anniversary for the forward-thinking Wright family

50 years of pneumatics success - another golden anniversary for the forward-thinking Wright family

Friday 24th September 2010

September 2010 marks a 50 year milestone in the continuing success story of Bradford-based Thorite, the biggest independent distributor of compressed air, vacuum and process products in the UK.

Thomas (Teddy) Wright, the father of current MD Stephen, is now a sprightly 79 year old, but back in 1960 he took the bold decision to open Thorite Pneumatics Ltd in West Street, Leeds, dedicated to the sale and repair of compressed air products.

As time progressed Thorite Pneumatics Ltd became synonymous with anything powered by compressed air, including air tools, spray guns, pneumatics and air-driven pumping equipment.

The Leeds company's success has led directly to the opening of Thorite Sales and Service Centres in Blackburn, Bolton, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Leeds, Rochdale and Sheffield.  The Bradford head office quickly completed its transition to stocking compressed air products and recent expansion culminated in the purchase of Hogg Pneumatic Solutions in North Shields in 2006.  Thorite employs 97 staff, of which each location (excluding the Bradford head quarters) has 3 internal sales personnel, with 9 product specialists available to advise their local key customers.

Each Centre provides compressors, compressed air servicing, compressed air products, process valves, hose and fittings, stocks of fast moving lines and system design services.

The Thorite customer base covers large industrial manufacturing, food processing, packaging and pharmaceutical concerns, plus a wide range of individual garages, spray shops, tyre fitters and general workshops.  Specialist compressors and related products are also supplied to dental practices, laboratories, museums and exhibition companies - they even help produce spectacular explosions and special effects on TV soap operas and dramas.

Thorite's National Distribution Centre holds in excess of £1.5million of backup stock, providing customers with the choice of trade counter collection, same day despatch or next day delivery services.  In addition, customer-specific logistics solutions are available, including machine build kits and Just-In-Time deliveries.  Customers can also order online, 24/7, using the e-commerce service at

Speaking of the 50 year anniversary, Stephen Wright, Thorite's Managing Director said: "1960 saw an important new direction for the company, which by this time had already experiences over a century of development under three generations of my family.  Founder Thomas Wright (1830-1904), my great-great-grandfather, began business as a Mill Furnisher in 1850, supplying essential accessories to the local textile trade.  From this starting point Thomas Wright Ltd, as the company was originally known, branches into Motor Factoring, opening a showroom and workshop in Bradford in 1945.  The supply of air compressors had figured in the Mill Furnishing business, but came to the fore through Motor Factoring, although it took my father's insight and enthusiasm for pneumatics as the coming force in industry to concentrate on what was then considered to be "new fangled" technology.  For many UK companies compressed air now represents the second or third highest utility cost in their plants, with 10% of all energy consumption being utilised in its generation.  I am very fortunate to have forebears who have each possessed the ability to spot opportunities in the market for the supply of high quality products and services.  I am enjoying carrying on this tradition immensely, with Thorite now a national brand which is as happy designing complex electro-pneumatic automated processing systems as it is providing a new energy-efficient compressor for the local garage.  My sincere thanks go out to all Thorite's customers, our highly skilled employees past and present, and especially to my family, for the success the company continues to enjoy."

EEF - The Manufacturers' Organisation -- The Carbon Trust - Accredited Supplier -- CHAS - The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme -- BCAS - British Compressed Air Society -- SafeContractor Approved
Click here to see the track record of customer ratings and reviews for Thorite at Referenceline, where reputations count