top of page
Visitor count

This web site is devoted to the original Brush Electric Company of Cleveland OHIO, USA and its sister company the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Company of London, ENGLAND.  Both were formed in 1879 to exploit the patents and electrical dynamo and lighting system designs of Charles Francis Brush, a notable American inventor and entrepreneur.  


Both the American and British companies endured trials and tribulations during their early years - and on this site you can read reports from newspapers and magazines of the day.  Charles Brush seems to have been a remarkable high school and college student, constantly tinkering with different materials, magnets, experimental conducting and insulation materials and the manufacturing methods which caused great industrial enterprises to start up and enter the Electric age in the late 1800's.  National magazines in both Europe and USA wrote about the early years, and the competitive and litigation battles which occurred.  According to numerous contemporary evaluations of the day the Brush dynamos (generators) and arc lamps were best in class.  The Brush design and manufacturing standards were superior and the volumes of product produced and put into service exceeded any of the competitors. Many US and European towns and cities chose to purchase and install Brush electric lighting systems. 


In 1890 the American Brush company which owned the patents and manufacturing rights within the USA merged with Thomson Houston with whom there had been extensive manufacturing co-operation for some years prior.  Shortly therafter in 1896 Thomson Houston (including Brush within the USA) merged with the smaller New York based Edison Electric to form General Electric Company.  An 1896 chart of the many USA based companies that were consolidated is provided for review in the Americas section.  Within just a few years there was much consolidation as dominant industrialists and their bankers merged the smaller companies into their larger conglomerates.     

The Thomson Houston company also had manufacturing plants in Europe notably in Rugby, England.  The Anglo-American Brush Electric Lighting Company of London which had purchased the Brush patents and all manufacturing rights to markets outside USA remained independent and had established satellite manufacturing licensees in European countries (including Romania and France).

The Lambeth plant in London UK soon became insufficient for the volume of business gained and in 1889 the Brush Co. purchased a horse carriage and steam locomotive works in Loughborough in the English East Midlands region.  Manufacture continued for a time in both the London and Loughborough factories.  Subsequently, the Brush company moved all manufacture to the expanding Loughborough plant, where electric generators and control equipment were manufactured up to 2018. The Brush generation equipment is still manufactured today but all in the Plzen Czech plant, owned by the Baker Hughes corporation.

In the following pages you will find links to original documents and more recent reports prepared by students who have researched the company archives, the industrial pioneers of the day and the electrical machinery they designed, manufactured and installed throughout the world.

During the early 1900's Charles Brush moved into new engineering and materials fields joining with Dr Carl Linde to form Linde Air Products, which in turn became part of the Union Carbide Corporation. With his son Charles Francis Brush II as a partner the Brush Materials Company (which later became Brush-Wellman) was established for the mining and commercialization of the rare metal Beryllium.  The founder of the Brush companies remained a distinguished member of various scientific panels and industry bodies until his death in 1929.

Also included are more recent documents related to the modern Brush company whose Loughborough site celebrated their 125th Anniversary in 2014.  I hope you find these stories and articles both interesting and that they stimulate your mind to continue to seek and understand these innovations and their effect on today's society. 

If you have comments, or can identify and provide new material to add to this site, please click on the

"Contact & Comments" button to leave a note.  Thanks for visiting.

C. F. BRUSH - Family & Bio

Charles Francis Brush

The first Cleveland local newspaper reports of Charles Brush experimenting were in 1878.  He was noticed by an entrepreneur George Stockley, a former school friend, and allowed to use Stockley's telephone equipment factory to manufacture the first Brush hardware and prepare his patents.

You will find images of the early factory, contemporary reports on early Brush successes and magazine articles based on interviews given by Brush and his staff.

Brush anticedents and family tree.
The Brush Foundation

Here you can find materials on Charles Francis Brush’s parents and earlier generations of the Brush family.


Charles Francis Brush in 1928 created a charitable foundation, still active today.  The Brush Foundation has proudly pursued a single focus on reproductive health, family planning and reproductive choice. 

Charles Francis Brush III

Charles Francis Brush III, the grandson of the Brush company founder was himself a very interesting character, active in many fields.


He was a member of the Brush Wellman board and took an interest in the Brush company in the UK which he visited a number of times.





Charles Brush as a young man spent much of his spare time investigating magnets, electrical mechanisms and insulation materials.  He also hand made optical telescopes to study the stars.  He gained access to a Cleveland workshop to assemble the materials and patented both dynamo (generator) and arc light devices.  Recognizing the commercial possibilities, his friend George Stockley, owner of the Cleveland Telegraph company financed start up manufacture in 1878, using the Brush dynamos to charge up batteries which first powered the telegraphy and later the telephone system. The Brush Electric Light Company was registered in 1879 and the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Company the same year in London, United Kingdom.


Here for viewing and download if required you will find contemporary reports from local newspapers and technical articles in the scientific magazines of the day.  The growth and challenges of the Brush business were studied in later years and hopefully from these papers you will gain a sense of the significant contribution that was made to the industrial landscape of the day.


The American Brush company merged with Thompson Houston (Lynn, MA) in 1889 which in turn joined with the Edison General Electric Co. (New York, NY) to form the General Electric Company in 1892.  Original city Brush Lighting companies, established in cities to provide local electric power and light services continued to carry the Brush name during the first part of the 20th century.  


You will also find extracts from the History of General Electric. 


Below are published items about Brush and the early exploits prior to 1880 to give you just a taste of the immense changes going on in American society just 15 years after the end of the Civil War. 

1881 Brush Dynamo
1879 - Founding of Pacific Gas & Electric

UK & Europe

Formed in 1879 to manufacture and market the inventions of American Charles Brush, the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Company opened a factory in Lambeth.  This factory was just south of the river Thames, and close to the railway line which crosses Hungerford Bridge to terminate at Charing Cross station. Today the SHELL building and the London Eye are notable landmarks close to where the Brush factory site was originally built.

Gas street lighting began to be replaced across the UK and Europe and production and products quickly expanded, until in 1888 the Brush board of Directors began looking for a place to expand.  In 1888, among the current products were electric "streetcars" (trams) which needed passenger accommodations which at that time were wooden and resembled horse drawn buses and railway carriages. Also in 1888, the UK government were promoting local tramway systems.  The Henry Hughes "Falcon" Carriage Works in Loughborough, founded by Henry Hughes, was identified as an ideal partner with space to expand, good supplies of local coal for fuel and labour at cheaper rates than in London. It was purchased and in 1889 the assets were taken over by the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation.  It then became known as the Brush Electrical Engineering Company.  The Falcon Works and trademark were used until the 1990's.

The Falcon products included steam engines, lights fittings, lamps, dynamos and trams and railcars. In the "Coachworks" nearly 100 buses, plus some lorries were built using French engines until 1907.  Rail carriages were built that were used in the early 1900s on the Central London Railway and the City and South London Railway, both forerunners of the London Underground - Central and Northern Lines.


During World War I the Brush coachworks diversified into aircraft production, building Farman Longhorn, Avro 504C aircraft and Short 827 seaplanes, amongst others.  650 aircraft were built, also vehicles for the British War Department.  

A total of over 250 steam locomotives were built, but after World War 1 steam engine production finished and the company concentrated on transport-related electrical equipment, including tramcarstrolleybuses and battery-operated vehicles, plus electric motors and engine driven generators.  The coachworks built and fitted passenger accommodations onto many different chassis to meet a growing population mobility and expanding road network. Heritage railways still run Brush steam locomotives.

During World War II "The Brush" as it was known in the local community, again diversified into aircraft production, building 335 de Havilland Dominies for the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm.  Wing sections were built for Lancaster bombers and Hampden bombers fuselages were overhauled and repaired.

1951 - Nottingham Rd. Main Gate
1958 - BS140 type generator driven by Mirrlees diesel engine
New trolley bus for Nottingham Corporation ready for delivery
1970-DAX 70-84 generator for John Brown Frame 5 gas turbine drive

In 1957 the Brush group of companies, which by now included diesel engine builders, Switchgear and Transformers as well as the railway products, merged into the Hawker Siddeley Group to become the Brush Electrical Machines division of Hawker Siddeley (HS).  Production had expanded to various sites across the UK. 

After significant growth in export sales, in 1988 - the Brush Group was awarded the Queens Award for Industry - Export Achievement.

British Tyre & Rubber (BTR) in 1992, purchased the whole Hawker Siddeley group and many H.S. units were divested and rationalized but the Hawker Siddeley Electric Power Group which included the Brush Machines, Switchgear, Rail Traction, Transformers and Fuse-gear companies remained together under a unified management.  In 1996, these were bought by FKI and became the FKI Energy Technology group which in turn was sold by FKI to Melrose plc in 2008.

Under FKI ownership, during 1999 and 2000 Brush Turbogenerators acquired large manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic and The Netherlands to handle the international market demand.  Motors and Fusegear product units were transferred or disposed of. Brush main product became generators for gas and steam turbine rated above 10 Megawatt. 

The original Brush Traction locomotive works (part of the Brush Loughborough site) was still occupied by the traction business and remained in use for the rebuild, overhaul and repair of locomotives.  Since 2011 Brush Locomotives was owned by Wabtec a successor company to the Westinghouse Brake & Signal company from the beginning of the railway engineering industry in the late 1800's. George Westinghouse an 1800's contemporary of the Brush founder Charles Francis Brush was another early pioneer of the engineering industry.  Wabtec closed the locomotive plant in Loughborough in 2021.


Brush Switchgear and Brush Transformers are still manufacturing in the UK.  Brush Electrical Machines - Loughborough (UK) and Ridderkerk (Netherlands) manufacturing plants were closed in 2018 with all generation production now concentrated in the Plzen (Czech Republic) plant.   ,


The Brush Generators product was purchased (from Melrose) by Baker Hughes the international Oil & Gas equipment services corporation in 2022.



Year Established
First 3 phase generator and transmission system completed.
Redlands, CA


Queen's Award for Industry - UK EXPORTs


Channel Tunnel freight loco's. 58 units delivered over 10 years


Record production of over 220 DAX type generators delivered



For any inquiries, questions or to forward additional materials, please fill out the following WEBMASTER contact form. You will be contacted directly.

Success! Message sent

All the documents and images on this site have been collected over the last 50 years and recently scanned or converted for display here, strictly for research and the general interest of visitors.  Any items or images which are copyrighted are owned by the originator.


If you spot any mistakes in either content or layout, please let me know using the contact form.  Of course if you have material that can be added to the site, I will be pleased to hear from you. Documents should be PDF and images *.jpg formats.


Any mistakes or omissions are mine, but will be verified and corrected where required.




bottom of page