History

About Avery Berkel

Avery Berkel has a rich heritage, and has always been associated with trust and honesty. We have worked with the industry since 1875 and understand the changing nature of our markets, constantly evolving to deliver exactly what the customer wants. Our visionary performance has been one of firsts, technical advances and design triumphs.

Today, we’re an international business with a great world-wide reputation. Avery Berkel is a name known and trusted throughout the globe. No-one else has a history of making such a wide range of quality, innovative products with a continually changing focus on our customer’s requirements. While we are proud to have an impressive global reputation, we take great care to look after and support our local markets.

It is because our products have always given an honest weight that we have a global reputation for trust. Think of any food or ingredients that need to be weighed and we weigh them.

  • We lead the industry through technology and software development.
  • We have an impressive range of products that will suit any retail environment from large supermarkets to small independent specialists. 

The Soho Foundry

The Soho Foundry

'Weights and measures are undoubtedly one of man’s greatest and most important inventions’

What makes us different?

No-one else has a history of making such an innovative range of quality, affordable weighing products. It is our heritage that has driven our innovative spirit as we constantly adapt to meet the needs of a changing world. This unique quality ensures that we lead the industry in providing visionary weighing solutions to the retail sector.

About the Foundry

1996 marked the 200th anniversary of the Soho Foundry and the 100th year since it became the base of W & T Avery, now the headquarters of world renowned Avery Weigh-Tronix and Avery Berkel.

The history of the Soho Foundry shows the development of industry itself, starting from the beginning as a steam engine factory operated by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, to its present day use for the design and development of the most advanced electronic weighing equipment in the world. Although the nature of its products have changed dramatically, the site has remained a centre of manufacturing excellence and innovation.

The Soho Foundry officially opened on January 30th 1796. In 1762, the Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton, decided to build Soho Manufactory on a site about two miles from the present day Foundry. It was one of the most advanced factories of its time, Boulton and his partner John Fothergill manufactured a wide variety of products, including steel jewellery, buckles, buttons, silver plate articles etc. Throughout this time, although Boulton was prospering, one of his major problems was the need for more power than was available by harnessing the adjacent steam in order to drive the machinery at the factory. One of the solutions he had in mind was the use of steam power.

The origins of the Foundry: Boulton and Watt

At the same time, James Watt the Glasgow engineer was experimenting with his improvement in the efficiency of the steam engine and succeeded in developing a model that could drive rotating machinery. In 1768, on a return trip to London, he stopped off in Birmingham and met Boulton who asked him to send regular reports on the progress of the experimental engine. Sometime later Watt’s partner in London, Dr. John Roebuck, got into financial trouble. Roebuck owed Boulton a large sum of money, and the industrialist agreed to take a share in the engine patent as payment for the debt.

In 1775, Watt and Boulton entered into a 25-year partnership to build parts for, and to assemble, Watt’s engine at the Soho Manufactory. They charged a premium to customers who brought the engine, which amounted to one third of the saving in fuel made by their engine, compared with a common one. The engines created great interest, and enquiries and orders soon began to arrive at the Manufactory.

However, the partners realised that when the original patent expired in 1800, the payment of premiums would vanish; they saw that they would have to make and sell complete engines on a large scale if they were to continue in business. The Manufactory was unsuitable and the tools were inadequate, so they decided to build entirely new premises dedicated solely to engine construction. In 1795, Watt and Boulton bought the land for a foundry, and in a very short time the needed buildings were constructed. On January 30th 1796, the Soho Foundry was officially opened.

The new Soho Foundry

The New Soho Foundry