Origin of SATAKE in Europe

henry simon.jpg (5375 bytes)Prior to 1878 all milling of cereals was accomplished on millstones but, in that year, Henry Simon introduced the first roller milling plant to his process design. Henry Simon, an accomplished engineer and mechanical genius, had become aware from an early age that the old processes of milling flour by the use of millstones had many disadvantages and that the roller milling system offered many possibilities. In 1878 he founded his business and built the first such plant in England based on the 'Gradual Reduction' milling system, in Manchester.

In 1881, Henry Simon built the first completely automatic roller flour mill in the world for McDougall Brothers, a predecessor of Rank Hovis. The benefits to be gained by this new process gained rapid acclaim within the industry and by 1892 Henry Simon had over 400 mills in operation using the 'Simon' system in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, India, South America, Australia and Japan. Within the space of two decades he had revolutionised the milling of wheat by his system.

old rollermill trans.gif (17387 bytes)Thomas Robinson & Son was established in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 1838 as timber merchants, joiners and carpenters. It was not until 1882 that they appreciated that flour milling machinery was an ideal opportunity for further expansion of their company. With existing pattern shops, foundries, fully equipped fitting and erection shops they had considerable advantages. In 1884 Thomas Robinson & Sons announced that they could equip a complete flour mill with their own make of machinery.

Henry Simon Ltd became a private limited company in 1897 and Thomas Robinson & Son in 1880. During the early years Henry Simon had his machinery manufactured to his designs in Europe. He opened his first factory in 1902 at Stalybridge in Cheshire. This was followed in 1915 by the acquisition of the milling engineering business and factory of Briddon and Fowler in Bredbury Cheshire. These factories, and the office in Mount Street, Manchester were brought together on one site in 1926 when the new offices and factory were built at Cheadle Heath Stockport. simon factory.jpg (6574 bytes)

Sample page from Henry Simon Sectional Catalogue c1920

Rollermill price list from 1914

Both Henry Simon Ltd and Thomas Robinson & Son Ltd expanded indefinitely for over a century, dedicating a high percentage of their production to the export of cereal milling machinery. Consequently their plant and equipment can be found in most countries. These two well established cereal milling engineers merged together in October 1988 to become Robinson Milling Systems Ltd. The business was acquired by the Satake Corporation in 1991 to form Satake Robinson UK Ltd, later Satake UK Ltd.

The UK Division was formed in 1998 and the business was moved, together with ESM (UK) to newly acquired premises in Bredbury. The move coincidentally brings the UK company back to where it manufactured flour milling machinery 85 years ago.

Satake Europe Limited was formed on 1st March 2010. This brought the european operations in line with other Satake operations worldwide.

The historical roots of Anglo Japanese cereal technology transfer and co-operation however go back much further, Riichi Satake, founder of the group in 1896, was cogniscent of many of the early oat process designs in equipment developed by Douglas and Grant in Scotland. Henry Simon introduced his roller milling system to the Japanese market in 1898 when he built a plant in Nagasaki, his first in Asia.

Further reading:

In Search of a Grandfather: Henry Simon of Manchester, 1835-1899
by Brian Simon

This biography seeks to reconstruct Henry Simon's life, from his early school days in Germany to his death as a highly respected Manchester citizen in 1899. It brings Henry Simon to life and presents him as an all-round citizen and family man as well as a scientist, engineer and true innovator in all he attempted.

Published by:
The Pendene Press
11 Pendene Road
Leicester LE2 3DQ
Tel: 0116 270 5176

Modern Rice-Milling Technology
by Dr. Toshihiko Satake

An informative and comprehensive reference book detailing all aspects of modern rice milling.

Published by:
University Of Tokyo Press - 1990


book_small.jpg (10317 bytes) New book by Glyn Jones



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