In the 1850s, Joseph Lucas established a company in Birmingham to sell general pressed metal merchandise including plant pot holders and buckets. In 1860 Joseph’s son Henry joined the business which became Joseph Lucas & Son.
The company began to manufacture lamps for ships, later moving into oil and acetylene lamps for bicycles.
In 1898 the firm was incorporated as Joseph Lucas Ltd. and started making automotive electrical components such as alternators, windscreen wipers, horns, lighting, wiring and starter motors.
During the First World War, Lucas made shells and fuses, as well as electrical equipment for military vehicles.
After the War the company expanded rapidly, branching out into products such as braking systems and diesel systems for the automotive industry and hydraulic actuators and electronic engine control systems for the aerospace industry.
Following the Second World War the company continued to grow by acquiring a number of its competitors, and the business became Lucas Industries.
In 1996 Lucas Industries merged with the American Varity Corporation to form LucasVarity plc. In 1999 the company was bought by TRW, an American company which specialises in satellites, defence and automotive parts.