Jessop & Company

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Burn Standard Company Limited
Type Private
Industry civil engineering
Founded 1788
Headquarters Kolkata, India
Area served India
Key people Pawan K. Ruia, Chairman of Ruia Group
Products wagons, cranes, road construction equipment, engineering procurement construction services
Owner(s) Ruia Group

Jessop & Company Limited is a privately owned engineering company based at Kolkata, India.[1] It is part of Ruia group of conglomerate, which also owns Dunlop India and Falcon Tyres as well textile business.[2]


Jessop & Company Limited is India's oldest engineering company, established in 1788.[3]

The history of Jessop & Co. Ltd goes back to year 1788 when Breen & Company was founded in Calcutta. In 1820, Henry and George, sons of William Jessop acquired Breen & Company on behalf of Butterley Company, which was established by William Jessop in Derbyshire. These two companies were merged in 1820 to be renamed as Jessop & Company.[1][4] The company, during British Raj was a large engineering giant having its head office at 63, Netaji Subhas Road, Kolkata and large manufacturing facilities spread over 63 acres at Dum Dum[5]

The management of company was taken over by Government of India in 1958 and subsequently in 1973, the company was wholly taken over by the Government of India and Jessop became public sector undertaking. In 1986, with the formation of Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam (BBUNL), a public sector holding company under administrative control of two government ministries, Department of Heavy Industry and Ministry of Industry, Jessop became a subsidiary of the holding company.[1][6]


Jessop & Co Limited is accredited to have built the first iron bridge in British India over River Gomti, popularly known as Loha-ka-Pul at Lucknow built during year 1815-1840. It was ordered by Nawab of Oudh[3][5][7] Jessop's has also built one steam locomotive, delivered to the Nawab of Oudh in the 19th century[4]

The first steam boat to sail on Indian waters made in India was made by Jessop & Co. in 1819.[8] In 1890 it rolled out the first steam road roller for India.[8] It was also one of the pioneers to make heavy duty cranes.

It was part of the team that built Parliament House[9] during year 1921-27 in New Delhi.

In 1930 it formed a partnership company with Braithwaite & Co. Ltd., Burn & Company to form company named Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop Construction Company, for construction of first semi balance cantilever bridge of India, the Howrah Bridge,[5][8][9][10] the construction of which began in 1936 and completed in 1942. The same company Braithwate, Burn & Jessop also won contract for construction of Vidyasagar Setu in 1972 completed in 1993, first Cable-stayed bridge bridge in India.[8]

Further, in 1959, it manufactured the first Electrical Multiple Unit coach for Indian Railways.[8][9] In 1956 it supplied radial gate for Nagarjuna Sagar Dam later on in 1976 it again pioneered for manufacturing Caisson gates for Haldia Dock Project, first time in India.[8]

New cars used by the Kolkata tram system was delivered by Jessop in 2012.

Present status[edit]

The company's net worth eroded over the years and losses mounted into several hundred crores of rupees, as a public sector company. In 2003 Government of India, divested its stake in Jessop & Co. Ltd under privatization programme and sold its 72% stake to Ruia group owned by Pawan Kumar Ruia, who turned it into a profit making entity.[9][11] The sale of government share was objected to by staff but High Court later cleared the deal.[12]

The huge building and company headquarters since 1788 in heart of city near B. B. D. Bagh at 63, Netaji Subhas Road[13] was, however, taken over by Government of West Bengal as the company did not have funds to pay its dues to the state. The company now operates from its works at 1, Jessore Road, Dum Dum, Kolkata.

Today, Jessop manufactures railway coaches and wagons, cranes, road rollers and hydraulic equipment.[5] It is the only company in Asia which has an integrated test facility for testing power roof support and Hydraulic items.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b [3] Encyclopaedia of Indian Events & Dates By S. B. Bhattacherje
  4. ^ a b c [4]
  5. ^ a b c d e [5]
  6. ^ [6] Public enterprises survey, Volume 2 by Govt. of India, Ministry of Finance, Bureau of Public Enterprises, 01-Jan-1994
  7. ^ [7] Limca book of records by Bisleri Beverages Ltd., 1990
  8. ^ a b c d e f [8]
  9. ^ a b c d JESSOP: Rebuilding History India Today, 15 October 2009.
  10. ^ [9] Public enterprises survey, Volume 2 by Govt. of India, Ministry of Finance, Bureau of Public Enterprises, 01-Jan-1994
  11. ^ How Ruia turned Jessop around
  12. ^ [10] HC clears Jessop sale to Ruia Cotex, 9 July 2003
  13. ^ The Times of India directory and year book including who's who by INFA Publications, 2004 - History