Since then we have established a heritage of technical expertise and design capability that has led us to where we are today. We were formed by two former Royal Engineer officers for the invention and production of concrete ‘pill boxes’, since then Bison has evolved in to a company at the forefront of the precast concrete industry.
The Company you know as Bison today began in 1919. The founders were two officers from The Royal Engineers, who saw potential military applications for precast concrete after their experiences in the First World War. The two founders, Mr J.G. Ambrose M.C., O.B.E., M.I.C.E was the commercial partner and Mr C.B. Matthews M.B.E., M.I.C.E. was the innovator in concrete technology.
Their first inroad into precast concrete was the development of the concrete “Pill Box” used on the Western Front. These were manufactured in two of the largest concrete factories in France using mass production lines.
The original factory was opened in Stourton, Leeds in 1919, specialising in the manufacture of precast reinforced concrete floors.
Following increased sales and demand, 1924 saw the opening of a sales office in London then a new factory at Greenhithe in 1925.
Our first marketing concept was "Speed and Strength".
1935 was a key year for us with innovation in design creating the Pneumatic Core. This innovation revolutionised the manufacture of hollow floors, not only were we the UK market leader we also held the world’s first patent for this type of flooring.
The 1930’s saw the growth of the cinematic industry, allied to this "L" section theatre balconies were designed and developed. This innovation has evolved to become today’s terrace units used in all football stadia including The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and the new Wembley Stadium, both of which were major contracts for us.
The outbreak of hostilities in 1939 promoted the founders to revert to their military experience and develop new precast solutions. Innovations included precast trench linings, mobile "Pill Boxes" and Mulberry Harbour components for the Normandy landings.
Following the Second World War demand for rapid rebuilding of factories, hospitals and government facilities incurred by war damage, promoted the benefits of precast floors and its inherent speedy erection.
With this steadily increasing demand new production facilities were required to cover the whole of the United Kingdom. Manufacturing facilities were opened in Falkirk in 1944, in Lichfield in 1947, and the new London factory at Iver in 1963.
Our ongoing development of building systems was recognised by the Queen’s Award to Industry in 1967 for its development of wall frame.
Investment of £9M occurred in 2001, the factory at Falkirk was replaced by a new modern and larger facility at Uddingston.
Further expansion and investment occurred in 2004 with the construction of a new £32 million production facility at Swadlincote, Derbyshire. Completed in 2005, this new factory is manufacturing Precast flooring in a carousel system, unique to the UK.
We have led the precast market within the UK by the introduction of mechanically insert lifting hooks. This system has a European patent; lifting hook technology is a huge advance in Health & Safety and also speed of installation.
We have supplied and continue to supply many of the most prestigious projects in the UK introducing a number of construction solutions. Our heritage allows us to lead the way in precast technology. Our virtues are economic sustainable products delivered in time, backed up by our own qualified and experienced, technical and on-site support.
We are looking forward to celebrating are centenary by serving our customers with more sustainable and high quality components for the future.