W. Canning & Co. was founded in Birmingham in 1785, originally as druggists and drysalters. The firm developed into an engineering company specialising in the manufacture of polishing and electroplating machines.
In 1914 the company had 350 employees and was making products such as polishing lathes, mops, buffs, laquer and circular brushes. Canning’s were incorporated as a limited company in 1920.
By the early 1960s, the company had diversified into the manufacture of motor generators and dynamos, at the time employing in excess of 2,000 workers. In 1974 W. Canning & Co. Ltd. developed a system for effluent recovery and treatment for the metal finishing industry.
In 1988 the business was taken over by an American company called MacDermid Inc.