19 August, 2019

Reflections on the BFPA’s 60th anniversary year

17 May, 2019

By Sarah Gardner, The British Fluid Power Association.


Having now officially passed our 60th ‘birthday’ (7 April 1959) it feels appropriate to look back at the first 60 years. The story began when the first meetings took place among a new trade association – The Association of Hydraulic Equipment Manufacturers (AHEM) – and the then big names in the hydraulics industry; including Stein Atkinson Vickers Hydraulics, Keelavite, Automotive Products, Turner Manufacturing, Weston Works and Fawcett Preston.

AHEM was formed with an annual membership fee of £50 per company. Johnny Johnston of Stein Atkinson Vickers Hydraulics Limited was the founder chairman, and the aims of objects of the association were of course to further the interests of the hydraulics industry in all technical and commercial areas.

The very first Annual Dinner and Dance was held at The Dorchester, London on Friday 17 February 1961, and in the minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee on 22 March 1962 the following note can be found: “The Director reported that the First Annual Dinner and Dance of the Association held at the Dorchester on 17th February 1961 resulted in a financial loss of £11.7s. only. This loss was consequent upon the instructions of the Policy & Finance Committee whereby the Association paid the cost of the liqueurs and cigars; otherwise there would have been a profit of £9.19.6d.”

Records show that the Annual Ball has taken place at the Dorchester 53 times with the last being held in 2013. The BFPA Ball became established as the key industry social event, and over the years more than 400 guests have enjoyed its successful format including a reception, dinner and cabaret entertainment followed by dancing until the small hours. We are delighted to report that we will be celebrating BFPA’s 60th Anniversary Year with a Ball at the Dorchester on 19 June 2019 (see the BFPA website for more details and to book a table: www.bfpa.co.uk/events).

AHEM joined the newly formed CETOP (Comité Européen des Transmissions Oléohydrauliques et Pneumatiques) in 1962 during the AHEM Presidency of Francis Levetus OBE. Over the years several AHEM/BFPA presidents have been presidents of CETOP; including Francis Levetus, Eric Bowers, Leslie Worn and Malcolm Kelly – each time with a Secretariat. CETOP is the European Federation of Fluid Power trade associations and currently numbers 18 national associations.

A small group of pneumatic companies approached AHEM in 1985 to discuss the possibility of joining the association on the condition that there must be a change of name. The then chairman of AHEM, Brian Newman, recently recalled: “I was chairman when we attempted to change the Association’s name at a very eventful AGM from AHEM to either AHPEM (Association of Hydraulics and Pneumatics Equipment Manufacturers) or AFPEM (Association of Fluid Power Equipment Manufacturers) after we had invited pneumatic companies to join us. Both resolutions were defeated.” Subsequently, British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) was accepted at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 11 June 1986.




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