Salter Housewares (still trading under its original name Salter) is a British manufacturer of consumer weighing scales for personal and kitchen use, and other kitchen accessories. It is located in the UK, USA and Canada, and claims to have about 40% of the UK market and to be a leading brand in other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Chile and Portugal. It is a subsidiary of HoMedics, a US-based manufacturer of "personal wellness" products.
The firm began life in the late 1760s in the village of Bilston, England when Richard Salter, a spring maker, began making the first spring scales in Britain. He called these scales "pocket steelyards", though they work on a different principle from steelyard balances.
By 1825 his nephew George had taken over the company, which became known as George Salter & Co. George later established a manufacturing site in the town of West Bromwich, about 4 miles (7 km) from Bilston. West Bromwich Albion football club was formed from workers at this works site. From here the company produced a wide variety of scales including the UK's first bathroom scales. Other items were added to the range, including irons, mincers, potato chippers, coin-operated machines and the first typewriters made in the UK.
The business thrived throughout the 1900s, and by 1950 it employed over 2000 people, still in the same area and owned by the same family.
Late 20th century to present
In 1972 the company was purchased by Staveley Industries Plc and was split into separate subsidiaries: housewares, industrial, etc., relocating as required.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Staveley acquired more businesses world-wide to form a new "weighing group", including the Weigh-Tronix company of America, and in 1998 after a management buyout (MBO), this became the Weigh-Tronix Corporation, with Salter Housewares a part of that. The focus of the new corporation was increasingly towards industrial or commercial weighing, and in February 2002 the management team at Salter Housewares Ltd. bought the company out from the group to concentrate on its consumer businesses. The MBO was backed by Barclays Private Equity to the sum of £18 million (€28m).
The company grew rapidly for the next two years, and in March 2004 it was sold to HoMedics, a US-based manufacturer of "personal wellness" products, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of approximately 70% for Barclays Private Equity. In 2006, Salter Housewares USA and Taylor Precision Products Inc. (also owned by HoMedics) merged their sales, marketing and distribution operations.
The company has since closed its historic factory in West Bromwich. The site has been sold for redevelopment.
- "Salter History". Salter Housewares. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Salter 5 (improved)". The Virtual Typewriter Museum. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "George Salter and Co". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Salter Weighs In with €28m MBO". Barclays Private Equity. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Buy Out Exits - Salter Housewares". Barclays Private Equity. Retrieved 19 April 2011.