Reid and Sigrist

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Reid and Sigrist was an English engineering company based at New Malden in Surrey.[1] It later acquired sites at Desford and Braunstone in Leicestershire. Initially it developed and manufactured aircraft instrumentation and pilot selection aids but later diversified into flying training and aircraft design. During World War II the company was part of the Civilian Repair Organisation repairing, rebuilding and converting warplanes at the Desford site. Post-war it continued to manufacture aviation instruments and guidance systems but also diversified further to produce cameras and optical instruments. In 1954 the company was purchased and taken-over by the Decca Record Company.[2]


Reid and Sigrist Ltd was formed in February 1928 as a private company with £4000 capital.[3] The company was set up by Squadron-Leader (ret.) George Hancock Reid DFC and Frederick Sigrist, a joint managing director of H.G. Hawker Engineering Ltd, that would later become Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Ltd. The new company acquired the rights to the designs of Reid's previous company, Reid Manufacturing & Construction Company Ltd, which had designed and made precision aircraft instrumentation, most notably an aircraft turn and slip indicator, that Reid had invented and developed, and a pilot testing apparatus.
The company was initially located at The Athanaeum Works, The Vale in Hampstead, North London before moving to Canbury Park Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey and finally, in 1935, relocating to a new, purpose built factory at Shannon Corner, Kingston-By-Pass, New Malden Surrey. As the company expanded and diversified further sites were acquired at Desford Aerodrome and Braunstone in Leicestershire. The company ceased to exist as a separate entity when it was bought by the Decca Record Company at the end of 1954.

Aircraft instruments[edit]

The company's main product was aircraft instruments, with the most notable being a turn and slip indicator.

Aircraft production[edit]

R.S.3 Desford

In 1937 the company formed an aviation division at the New Malden, Surrey factory site.[4] The first product was a twin-engined advanced trainer, the R.S.1 "Snargasher" (1939) which was eventually relegated to company "hack" used primarily at the factory and Desford aerodrome.


After the Second World War the company was requested by the British government to produce the Reid camera based on the Leica patents and drawings which had been seized by the Allies. The first camera went on general sale in 1951 and the company produced cameras until 1964.

  • Reid III – based on the Leica III series with production of about 1,600 cameras from 1951.
  • Reid I – a simplified version and similar to the Leica E on sale from 1958, with a production run of about 500 mainly to the British military.
Reid II – a proposed model announced in 1959, a Reid III without the slower speeds.



  1. ^ Ord-Hume, Arthur (2000). British Light Aeroplanes 1920-1940. Peterborough: GMS Enterprises. ISBN 1 870384 76 8. 
  2. ^ "The Times". 9 February 1955. 
  3. ^ "New Companies Registered". Flight: 126. 23 February 1928. 
  4. ^ Gunston 1993, p. 250.


  • Gunston, Bill. Back to the Drawing Board: Aircraft That Flew, but Never Took Off. London: Zenith Imprint, 1996. ISBN 0-7603-0316-9.
  • Gunston, Bill. (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers: From the Pioneers to the Present Day. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-939-5. 
  • Jackson, A.J. (1974). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 3. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10014-X.