William McGeoch & Co acquired their Warwick Works in Birmingham in 1887 and almost immediately began manufacturing lighting fittings for the new Atlantic flyer – ‘SS City of Paris’ – being built on the Thomson yard (later to become John Brown’s) at Clydebank.

Their range included some curious designs of lampholders which were in common use before the Edison-Swann type of lampholder became the industry standard. It was the heaviest and most robust lampholder on the market. The brass tube used for the body was thicker and the binding rings more solid than any other make. The porcelain used for the insulated interior was the best available.

However, important as they were in the functional sense, lampholders were not the main priority for the Admiralty and McGeoch cleverly set up their newly acquired Warwick Works to manufacture a whole new range of watertight electrical equipment required for the safe wiring of ships and in particular for the connection of electricity supplies to and from the main switchboard. These included pendants, brackets, plugs & sockets, switches, control panels and many of the original patterns designed by the Admiralty.

Some of these fittings also found use in railways, tramcars and motor buses as can be seen in the archive poster below.

Many of these patterns, with modifications in some cases, are still in use today despite the increasingly sophisticated equipment that has been developed since those pioneering days.

Click poster for enlarged view.