Underneath the arches

The story of James Walker Group begins in the 1880s’ smoke and grime of a railway arch warehouse close to the River Thames near where Tower Bridge stands today.

Our founder was a Scottish engineer named James Walker, who worked abroad for many years before establishing a business in London to sell oils and engineering accessories to the masters and chief engineers of the ships berthed in the city’s docklands. He soon realised that the best way forward was to manufacture his own products and set out to improve the sealing efficiency of stuffing boxes on steam engines and pumps. The result was his innovative Lion Brand High Pressure Steam Packing. This product proved vital to the success of a new generation of high-efficiency steam engines and also set his company on the path to a future in materials technology and fluid sealing products.

James Walker in London
James Walker in Woking

Expansion at home and abroad

James Walker’s outstanding success attracted competitors thick and fast, especially when his original patents expired. But constant research, development and the resulting product improvements kept him well ahead of the field. He opened his first overseas depot in Antwerp, Belgium in 1910.

Lion Packings were marketed in the USA during the early 1900s, and in 1912 a James Walker depot was founded in New York.

A place in the country

By 1925 and with a workforce of 350, our London Docklands premises were bursting at the seams, prompting a move of production to the Lion Works factory in Woking. Today, the Lion House head office of James Walker Group still occupies a corner of the original site.

These were times of rapid overseas expansion, with production and demand well matched. Offices, depots and manufacturing facilities were formed in Paris, Rotterdam, Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington, New Zealand by the mid-1930s. The business scene was the same in the USA, where a James Walker manufacturing company was formed in 1933 to capitalise on the 21 year success of the New York sales depot.

James Walker in Cockermouth

Engineering plastics
and polymers

In 1948, our reputation for materials technology made us one of the first companies outside America to work with an outstanding ‘new’ polymer called PTFE. Today, the development of high performance elastomers and engineering plastics is a key factor in our solution of fluid sealing problems.

Global industry was now developing at a rapid pace, pushing the boundaries of existing technology in many areas. In the UK exploration and development was taking place in the North Sea oil and gas fields and new materials and products to meet these challenges were urgently needed.

Our scientists and engineers launched themselves into research and development programmes that were to set the seal on our company’s success through to the next millennium. We developed new fluid sealing materials, designed and tested the products that used those materials, then taught customers how to select and apply them to greatest effect.

High-tech markets

Our liaison with operators and equipment manufacturers in the oil and gas industry proved highly productive, characterised by our development and application of rapid gas decompression (RGD) resistant grades of elastomer. Other materials and products swiftly followed that provided sealing solutions to extend the maintenance-free working life of oilfield equipment, and enable operators to work more efficiently in hostile environments.

Special sealing products to aid the manufacturing of computer components then made us part of the electronic revolution.

Lionpak Range
Compression Packing

Railway times

As we entered the 21st Century, we looked to the future to seek out new challenges that would demand our particular blend of technological expertise, applications knowledge and manufacturing skills.

For many years the James Walker Group had contained member companies whose expertise included specialised anti-vibration products, railway track bed systems, and tension control fasteners and in 2004 another specialist in track bed systems joined the James Walker Group.

Customer-focused operations

In parallel with technical developments, the James Walker Group are constantly investing in customer service improvements and new production facilities.

Our flexible production techniques and automated warehouses ensure we meet the demands of modern industry across the globe. World class manufacturing plants and strict QA regimes, backed by value-in-service arrangements, enable us to win long-term partnering deals with major customers.

Critical Metallic Sealing
James Walker On-Site Services

Today and the future

We have over 50 production, engineering, distribution and customer support sites across the globe.

With new products and services constantly being added to our ranges, we are exceptionally well placed to serve all industries efficiently worldwide.

  • Merger of RotaBolt production with Bingley operation.

  • Divestment of Flemings Seals.

  • James Walker Thailand joins the Group completely.

  • Deconsolidation of Tines joint venture.

  • James Walker Middle East established.

  • edilon)(sedra Iberica joins Group completely.

  • James Walker RotaBolt form JV with Coretech in Taiwan.

  • James Walker Shanghai (China) Sealing Technology Ltd JV formed with Winner.

  • Jaeger Seals, Belgium, joins Group.

  • James Walker Inmarco (India) Industries PVT Ltd JV formed with Inmarco.

  • James Walker Brasil established.

  • edilon)(sedra forms JV with Tines, Poland.

  • Devol Engineering joins Group.

  • Closure of James Walker Engineering Services.

  • edilon)(sedra Iberica formed as JV in Spain.

  • DC Rowe, Australia, joins Group.

  • James Walker Group celebrates 125 years of success.

  • Acquisition of AM Technobeton BV.

  • Woking production transferred to Cockermouth.

  • Sedra, Germany, joins Group (now edilon)(sedra).

  • Townson joins Group.

  • James Walker Oil & Gas, Houston, USA, established.

  • James Walker Thailand formed as a JV.

  • James Walker Benelux formed from Belgian and Dutch companies.

  • Andersen & Ødegaard sealing division, Norway, joins Group (now James Walker Norge).

  • Rhesco joins Group (now James Walker South Africa).

  • James Walker Singapore established (now James Walker Asia Pacific).

  • C Haacke & Söhne, Germany, joins Group (now James Walker Deutschland).

  • James Walker Engineering Services established.

  • Tiflex formed in UK (incorporating Flexible Cork, Tico, & C&I).

  • C&I Supplies joins Group.

  • Tico Manufacturing joins Group.

  • RotaBolt and Keaflex Mouldings joins Group.

  • Edilon, Netherlands, joins Group.

  • James Walker Iberica, Spain established.

  • Flemings Seals joins Group.

  • James Walker New Zealand established.

  • Moorside Machining joins Group (now James Walker Moorflex, incorporating Metallic Industrial Components and Surrey Grinding Co).

  • James Walker Ireland established.

  • Production starts at Cockermouth, Cumbria, UK.

  • James Walker France established.

  • James Walker Italiana established.

  • Flexible Cork Co and Surrey Grinding Co joins Group.

  • Metallic Industrial Components joins Group.

  • James Walker Belgium established.

  • James Walker Nederland established.

  • James Walker Australia established

  • UK production and HQ move to Woking, Surrey.

  • James Walker depot established in USA.

  • James Walker depot established in Belgium.

  • James Walker & Co founded in London, UK.