The month of May marked the beginning of the 80th year anniversary of one of Banbury’s largest manufacturing employers Norbar Torque Tools Ltd which was first incorporated as the North Bar Tool Company on 8th May 1943.
To celebrate this milestone, Norbar held a company-wide formal get-together with food and drinks in the modern restaurant at their Wildmere Road premises. Joint company founder William Brodey’s son, retired chairman John Brodey was present at the occasion together with his son retired Sales Director Philip Brodey, daughter Company Secretary Catherine Rohll, nephew and Director Neill Brodey and Managing Director John Reynertson. They were also joined by recently appointed Stuart Clarke in his new position as Commercial Director.
From left to right: Stuart Clarke, Philip Brodey, John Brodey, John Reynertson, Catherine Rohll and Neill Brodey.
At the event, grandson of William Brodey, Neill Brodey explained how activities in the early days of the company were centred around manufacturing torque tools for the Ministry of Supply from modest workshops in North Bar Place in Banbury town centre to satisfy the need for a dependable supply of bolt tightening tools for aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturers to use here in Great Britain during World War 2 rather than relying on imported American tools which had to come via vulnerable cross-Atlantic supply ships.
As the company gradually grew its sales and product range, in 1969 it was necessary for the North Bar Tool Co. to move to larger premises in Swan Close Road. The new factory was subsequently extended twice to cope with increased production needs.
In 1984 it was again necessary for the company to relocate, this time purchasing one of the former Cramic Engineering factories in Beaumont Road.
In time the need for expansion re-surfaced again so after looking at a number of possibilities in Banbury, the old Hella premises in Wildmere Road were secured by the Norbar group in 2012 and over a few years extensively refurbished and transformed to suit the needs of the business. The original 1970’s office block was demolished and a new structure built with a large picture window employee restaurant, a spacious reception foyer and a suite of dedicated offices and meeting rooms including a board room named after Bill Brodey. By mid-2016 all functions of the business had transferred into the new factory and head office buildings.
In 2017 the company became part of the Snap-on Incorporated family of companies with Brodey family members remaining and assisting with the running of the business, since then efficiency initiatives together with a steadily increasing employee count across all disciplines has kept pace with the continuing rise in demand for Norbar’s torque tools and equipment.
At the anniversary event, MD John Reynertson said that he predicts a continued strong future for Norbar product particularly with the new battery operated electric tool (the EBT) paired to the proven gearbox range designed, manufactured and assembled in Banbury over many years.