Driver Southall began life over 100 years ago as Separate companies, Geo Driver and Sons and Southall and Smith.
Southall and Smith started by manufacturing automatic weighing machines for free flowing products like tea, coffee, baking powder and flour.
Between 1920 and 1928 Southall and Smith Ltd. were acquired by W. and T. Avery and continued to produce filling machines and automatic weighing machines for powdered products.
A Brief History of Southall and Smith Limited – Extract taken from booklet entitled “Your Career With S & S Limited”
In the year 1902 an Engineering firm in Birmingham, which was later to become Southall and Smith Limited, took out a patent for a machine capable of weighing and packaging Sheep Dips. It was on the basic design of this machine that machines for the automatic weighing of such commodities as Tea and Flour were later developed and manufactured.
The reputation of Southall and Smith machines soon spread overseas, and as a result, the Standards Departments in Germany, France, Russia, Sweden and Holland were visited and certificates obtained permitting the use of automatic weighing and packaging machines in the countries concerned.
In 1910 due to the need for increased production it became necessary to expand the Works, and the company moved to its present site at Villa Street, Hockley.
During the 1914/1918 War, special machines were designed for filling shells, fuses and all types of cartridges. It was after the war that Southall and Smith became a Limited Company, and the range of machines produced was expanded to include the manufacture of check weighing machines, high speed measuring machines and chocolate wrapping machines.
When war came again in 1939 Southall and Smith were asked by the Ministry of Supply to design and manufacture new types of special purpose machines, many of which have since gained an International reputation.
In 1959 W. and T. Avery acquired Geo Driver and Son Ltd and in 1966 that company was merged with Southall and Smith Ltd to form Driver Southall Ltd.
Driver Southall then continued manufacturing checkweighers, weighers and vibratory conveyors at its site in Tame Bridge, Walsall.
At this time Driver Southall employed over 250 workers and was supplying machinery to large companies such as Cadburys, McCain’s, Tetley, Typhoo, Lyons Bakeries, Quaker Oats and many more.
By the end of the 1980’s GEC (Owner of Avery at the time) decided that it no longer wished to continue manufacturing packaging equipment. Over the next few years it then sold off the packaging parts of it’s company, including Driver Southall Ltd.
Driver Southall was then purchased by a few senior employees and continued to manufacture and develop weighing machines at their premises on Maybrook Industrial Estate in Walsall Wood. Driver Southall continued to supply new machines, spare parts and provide maintenance to its many customers throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the World.
In December 2010 Driver Southall became part of the Unitech Group. Now based in Burntwood Staffordshire, the company continues to sell Checkweighers, Metal Detectors and Vibratory Conveyors to the Process and Packaging Industry throughout the world.
With over 100 years of heritage and history Driver Southall still prides itself in providing its customers with the best service available, from the design and specification of the machine to the after-sales care that it provides. We are also proud to say that our machines are entirely manufactured in the UK with fabrications, machined items and design work all completed at our site in Burntwood.