Grant started life in 1951. Peter Ward, a Cambridge University economics graduate and Olympic three-mile runner who had a hobby for repairing mechanical singing birds and from this, created his first invention, the water bath. Grant’s first product was born.
Cecil Chapman, a Cambridge graduate joined Grant to help Peter in his venture. Cecil and Peter worked together improving the products, making them and despatching them, always guaranteeing the of highest quality went out the door.
Cecil embarked on a work philosophy that still runs through Grant’s DNA today. He had strong beliefs about building a business that provided employment and a great working environment for people in more rural areas.
This was the year that temperature recorders became commercially viable and Grant began selling these to customers. The records came in many shapes and sizes with everything from vacuumed flasks to chocolate tempering recorders.
By 1964, Grant had grown to 51 employees. Success was ever-increasing and Grant became known for more than just water baths. Also in this year, Grant introduced two free mini buses for employees to be collected from home to work and returned again.
Through further success and continued growth, the need to have the factory and office under one roof was essential from an operational perspective. Grant had out grown its office and moved to a new location in Shepreth, Cambridge. It’s still our HQ today!
Grant continued to grow, with exports making up for nearly half of Grant’s sales. That year Grant also developed the most accurate water bath ever, it was the most sensitive and stable bath invented in the UK to date.
In 1983, we saw the birth of the Squirrel datalogger, this was developed using state-of-the-art microprocessor technology. The Squirrel name came about from the concept of gathering and collecting data, liking it to something that we all know squirrels do, they gather and collect their nuts!
Grant took 50% ownership of Eltek, to work in partnership to design and manufacture highly customised and built to order data loggers. And where necessary, Eltek provide customised software to support these bespoke designs.
Cecil Chapman retires after 34 years as Managing Director and becomes Chairman. John Barker, the very first employee then becomes Managing Director.
In partnership with Professor Bryan Sykes at the Genetic Group, Oxford University, Grant developed a product called the Autogene, one of the first ever polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplifiers. The PCR technique allows the amplification of specific DNA sequences, an invention by Kary B Mullis, who as a result won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.
Grant joined up in partnership with YSI an Ohio based company to develop a multi-parameter water monitor for the UK National Rivers Authority, now part of the Environment Agency to deliver a water quality logger that analysed water quality.
Grant teamed up with Kerry Ultrasonics to develop and manufacture ultrasonic water baths for the laboratory market. From this, a range of ultrasonic water baths were developed and added to Grant’s product portfolio.
Grant made its first shaking water bath with two different motions in one single product and were awarded a patent for it. The OLS shaking bath allowed users to choose between orbital and liner shaking motions.
Ludo Chapman is appointed as Managing Director, following on from John Barker’s retirement after over 44 years with Grant, with a few gaps in-between those years!
Creative Cuisine was born from the need of a highly renowned professional chef who wanted to poach salmon in a water bath. As a result, Grant entered into a new market, the world of sous vide. Today, we have gained a strong reputation in the chef community and sell our sous vide products to professional and home chefs.
Grant become a 50% shareholder in Biosan LV, a Latvian based company. The partnership between Grant and Biosan LV has gone from strength to strength with Grant providing manufacturing expertise, along with producing the product range named as Grant-Bio.
Grant achieves world first CERN by providing a custom heating system for Max Planck. In the same year, testing records for the Optima baths reached 20,000 hours of continuous operation.
Linda Harvey is appointed as Managing Director. In this year also, Grant opens a regional office in Pittsburgh, USA to expand our global presence.
Ludo Chapman is appointed as Chair to the Board, having previously been Grant’s non-executive Director and CEO over a 20 year span. Ludo brings a wealth of knowledge, industry expertise and has established a strong reputation in helping companies with their strategy thinking and planning.