Rownson, Drew & Clydesdale was an engineering and manufacturing company which specialised in making elevators, conveyors and mechanical handling equipment. The company was formed in 1821 by Joseph Rownson and Henry Drew and a factory was established in Kings Cross, London.
Rownsons installed specialised handling equipment at many UK ports. In 1909 the company manufactured the Donald elevator, which was used to carry bananas to and from ships’ holds.
In the 1920s, Rownsons diversified into package handling and warehousing. These activities were put on hold by the Second World War as the company began producing gravity roller conveyors, some of which went into ordnance factories. The end of the war saw a move into conveyor systems for large dairies.
Baggage handling equipment for airports was Rownson’s next key product. Installations were made in many of the major airports of the world. A system to handle both incoming and outgoing baggage, totalling more than 1,000 feet of conveyor and handling 1,800 items of baggage per hour, was put into Cairo airport in 1964.
Rownsons merged with William Douglas & Sons in 1966, to form Douglas-Rownson Ltd. The new company moved to a huge new factory in Basingstoke and in 1975 Rownson’s Kings Cross factory was closed down. The company is now part of Baker Perkins Ltd.