|Osborne Refrigerators Ltd|
Tel: +44(0)1243 267711
Fax: +44(0)1243 265853
Osborne Refrigerators Ltd - A Brief History
The company is founded on 5th February 1960 and incorporated on 2nd March 1961.
Situated in Merchant Street and later West Street, Bognor Regis, Osborne Refrigeration and Engineering Ltd starts producing specialist refrigerators for fish storage and chilled bottle shelf units for the licensed trade. The decision to use polystyrene panels for insulation as opposed to polyurethane foam is made, which will have far reaching consequences in later decades when polyurethane foams are shown to have serious environmental implications. In March 1966, the factory is relocated to the current site, an old wood yard in Rose Green Road.
The range of refrigerators expands to include units for general storage of food and drink. Towards the end of the decade, the company is the first to introduce the idea of glass door refrigerators to the UK. The display of chilled bottled beer in pubs and bars is born. In 1976 the company name is shortened to the simpler Osborne Refrigeration Ltd to stress the nature of the company as a manufacturer.
Budweiser arrives in the UK, helping to revitalise the British chilled beer industry. Osborne are perfectly placed to supply specialist screen printed refrigerators for Budweiser and the new glass doored refrigerators for the likes of Bass. The company earns a well deserved reputation for the exceptional build quality, reliability and performance of it’s products. The resulting boom in sales requires greater production capacity and a series of extensions to the factory is begun. Over the next two decades the factory floorspace is increased fourfold, with huge investments in new plant and machinery. The fleet of delivery vehicles is increased to cope with the demand and separate office facilities are also constructed within the site.
The company continues to expand, exporting units across the world to markets including Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. In August 1991 Osborne introduce the new “ozone friendly” refrigerant, R134a, and by December become the first company in the UK to roll it out across the entire range. The rest of the industry are soon forced to catch up. In 1994 the company name is altered to Osborne Refrigerators Ltd. The change, although subtle, is designed to highlight the company’s role as a manufacturer rather than refrigeration engineers. The increased requirement for storage space leads to the purchase of adjoining land to provide an increased warehousing facility. On the main site, the offices are relocated to their current position, providing an improved office environment, a proper product showroom and an open plan area to the rear which can be utilised for exhibition planning and product photography as well as storage. This new building also incorporates a purpose-built test room, used for research and development of new products and comparative testing of competitor’s products.
2000 – 2008
With the increasing prevalence of cheap, low-quality imports, Osborne continue to concentrate on quality and value for money rather than cheapness. The company’s excellent reputation is further enhanced by the longevity of it’s products. It’s clear that large numbers of refrigerators originally supplied in the mid eighties and early nineties are still going strong, a record frequently not met by the rest of the industry. As the decade rattles on, the company continues to invest in research and development as it seeks new areas for expansion. Osborne Refrigerators Ltd remains as one of the few “British” manufacturers still actually wholly based in the UK and are proud to be so.
Those shrewd property investments over the preceding decades pay off dividends. The sale of part of the site allows for the construction of a completely new factory and offices and investment in cutting edge manufacturing plant. Designed with the environment in mind, the new offices make best use of natural light, cutting the lighting bill alone by some 80%. The most important decision was to keep the new investment here in the UK. Osborne Refrigerators have no plans to go the way of so many "British" companies and maintain only a shell sales presence in the UK whilst moving all production abroad. That, somehow, wouldn't be British!
50 years ago, Osborne Refrigerators was born and, to celebrate our Golden Jubilee, we launched the eCold range of low-energy cabinets.
Osborne Refrigerators continue to expand the milk chiller range, become the leading British manufacturer of specialist milk-storage cabinets for use with coffee machines.
Late in 2012, we began construction on an extension to the factory, to give us additional warehousing capacity and to allow room for more manufacturing plant.
The factory extension continues (taking advantage of some more decent weather)
2014 - present
The additional space was quickly used. A new press brake was installed in 2014, followed in February 2015 with a second
Several new cabinets were launched during 2014 and 2015, including the 125P double sided retail cabinet and the reduced height 280E which completed the undercounter eCold cabinet range.
Osborne Refrigerators Ltd is registered in England No. 685143
Registered office: Rose Green Road,
Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 3EG
VAT No. GB 192 9195 25
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Site last updated: 04/07/2017 update log