Piston Rings UK History

In the mid 1870s, the Carlisle Brothers already an established firm of ivory cutters had been approached by William Lockwood a brace bit maker who was looking for financial backing to produce a steam piston ring that he had invented.

The partners offered to buy the invention from him, whereupon he agreed to sell the patent to them and direct the manufacture of the rings. As a result, Lockwood & Carlisle was established in 1876.

The original patent for this ring was No. 3078 dated 13th August 1877 and was for a compound spring.

"The principal feature of the Invention consists in the construction and utilisation of a peculiarly formed spring for distending the piston rings" – taken from the wording of the original patent

With this and further patents the business grew progressively with the increase in steam reciprocating machinery for merchant shipping. Lockwood & Carlisle became a limited company in 1898, following the death of William Lawton Carlisle.

Standard Piston Rings was formed in Sheffield in 1893 producing cam turned rings from sand-cast pot castings.

Both companies continued to expand steadily and in 1909 Lockwood and Carlisle were commissioned by Harland and Wolff to produce piston rings and springs for engine number 400 (The Olympic) and engine number 401 (The Titanic). The low-pressure piston ring diameter for these engines was 97 inches in diameter!

Following an accident during the manufacture of these rings and continuing up until the 1950’s and beyond a superstition still lingered among the workforce about a turner named Wright who had sadly been killed when one of the rings for the Titanic had fallen and crushed him. On several anniversaries of the Titanic disaster the ghost of Wright was allegedly seen in the works by various workers.

During the 1939-45 war, every Liberty and Victory ship built – many in the USA – had Lockwood and Carlisle piston rings fitted.

These ships constituted the backbone of the merchant navy at that time along with the many Royal Navy corvettes, frigates and minesweepers which were also fitted with L&C piston rings.

In 1964 Torday Ltd were approached by L&C to chromium plate piston grooves after conditioning and the firm became Lockwood, Torday and Carlisle in the early 1980’s.

In 1997 Both L&C and Standard Piston Rings came together under the banner of Piston Rings UK as part of the Koncentra group along with Daros Rings in Goteborg, Sweden and the brand Daros Industrial Rings UK was formed.

At this time the firm relocated from the original Standard Piston Ring factory in Don Road, Sheffield to our current location in Rotherham

In 2010 Piston Rings UK was acquired from the Koncentra group of companies by Federal Mogul and continues to trade worldwide supplying industrial and large bore marine piston rings under its three famous brands.