Early brakes were little more than wooden blocks with simple levers.
The development of vehicle braking as we know it today began when Walter Willson Cobbett Ltd realised their woven belting could be easily adapted and used as friction material to bring motor cars to a stop.
The first caliper-type disc brake was patented by Frederick Lanchester and used on the Lanchester 18hp.
The design, although successful, was not completely without fault as the disc pads were copper-based and wore out quickly.
The Motor Car Act of 1903 introduced new driving and vehicle braking requirements.
The Act made it compulsory for Britain’s cars to have two independent braking systems.
Front wheel brakes were first patented by P.L. Renouf and became available in England in 1905.
Mercedes-Benz tested a front wheel braking system later in 1906, but it wasn’t until 1909 that Argyll made front brakes available on production cars. However, due to a lack of customer interest this option was soon cancelled.
The early 20th century was responsible for some significant developments in the automotive industry, such as the production of Ford’s Model T.
Walter Willson Cobbett Ltd supplied 40,000 feet of gearbox transmission lining (later known as Mintex) each week for the UK based Ford.
On the site of a former gardening compound, Herman Kirchbach started to manufacture packing materials before moving into the business of brake friction in 1914.
Today, Coswig manufactures brake friction for trains and undergrounds around the world, including the London Underground.
Before entering new international markets Willson Cobbett Ltd changed its name to Scandinavia Belting Ltd.
With the aim of selling to the flourishing industry in the
Rhein-Rhur area, they registered a distribution company in Cologne, Germany with Paul Bauernfeind.
Later, in 1934, this company started its own production.
Malcolm Lockheed (formerly Loughead but he officially changed the spelling of his surname to match its pronunciation) developed and subsequently patented Fred Duesenberg’s original hydraulic braking system.
In the design, fluid pushes on a piston which forces the shoes into contact with the inside of the brake drum.
Chrysler used Lockheed’s hydraulic braking principles on their cars, but made additional improvements due to some initial design flaws. Lockheed allowed Chrysler to implement the system royalty-free, as long as he could
add their improvements to his
Chrysler-Lockheed hydraulic brakes were used on Chrysler cars built between 1924 and 1962.
The involvement with the Ford Model T was a great success for Scandinavia Belting. At the same time, Textar began moving into Europe and Mintex was registered as an official trademark.
Mintex continued to grow into a renowned British brake friction brand and Textar established itself in continental Europe.
At this time Presswerk AG (PAG) were manufacturing furniture related products in Essen, Germany. They were also commissioned to produce brake friction materials for the HermanKirchbach’schen Werke in Coswig.
As the successful supplier of brake products, Small and Parkes produced brands such as Don brake pads, which were fitted to commercial vehicles around the world and are still available today.
Both British and German aircraft flown in the Battle of Britain used linings from BBA, who began work with Girling to develop aircraft brake systems.
The Royal Air Force was equipped with Mintex HALO brake linings, whilst 80% of the Luftwaffe used Textar linings.
The Gloster Meteor was the RAF’s first jet aircraft in service that used Mintex brake linings. The powerful turbojet engines and Mintex linings produced a force to be reckoned with.
Approximately 4,000 Meteors were built with many serving the RAF for the next 30 years.
Stopping distances made their first appearance in the third edition of The Highway Code and have remained the same since.
Hundreds of thousands of copies of The Highway Code are still sold each year and it’s one of the few books in print that could lay claim to saving thousands of lives.
Under the brand name Pagid, the PAG company started to market their own friction products for commercial vehicles and trailer applications.
Over the following years, Pagid grew into a renowned brand name, not least known for its expertise in high performance and racing vehicles.
Dunlop were first to offer disc brakes accommodating the requirements of racing cars whilst Mintex supplied the
This braking combination was fitted to the famous Jaguar C-Type which had many successful racing appearances. A C-Type entered the Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss at the wheel and the Jaguar team took first, second and fourth place in the Le Mans 24 hour race.
A competition version of the Austin Healey 100, known as the 100S, was built in 1954. The 123bhp 100S was one of the first cars to be equipped with Dunlop discs and Mintex pads on all four wheels.
Stirling Moss drove the Mercedes-Benz W-196
(also known as the Silver Arrow) to victory at Aintree and became the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix in the World Championship era.
While Mintex was increasing its prominence within British motorsport, Textar was working alongside
Mercedes-Benz providing brakes for
their Formula One cars.
Adopting the brand name Cosid, Kirschbach’schen Werke continued to develop friction solutions for industrial applications and rail transport, becoming one of the most trusted products fitted to passenger trains.
The Triumph TR3 was the first mass-produced sports car to include disc brakes as standard. The TR3 was known for its superior braking ability, making it a firm motorsport favourite.
The first Jaguar production car to be fitted with Dunlop disc brakes and Mintex pads was the XK150. In tests the car was subjected to 100 stops from 100 mph with 60 second intervals. The pedal pressures were the same at the end of the test as at the beginning.
The Daimler Majestic, priced at £2,495 new, was the first British saloon to have vacuum servo-assisted Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels.
The handbrake was provided by fitting special pads to the rear brake discs which were operated by cables and rods.
In 1959 competition for the Formula One Championship was fierce. Stirling Moss had won two races, but his closest competitor, Australian Jack Brabham, was also consistently on the podium. Brabham drove the Mintex-equipped Cooper to win his first World Drivers’ title.
The financial resources provided by Cape Industry, following its acquisition of
Small and Parkes, meant further investment could be made enabling them to continue
The 220SE was the first Mercedes-Benz to be fitted with four wheel disc brakes, ahead of the 300SL (Gullwing) which had to wait a few additional weeks to have discs fitted.
An important step forward in the friction industry began when Small and Parkes, together with the Japanese
Nisshin Spinning Co Ltd, introduced British technology into a rapidly growing global market place.
This relationship was the start of an east and west partnership which continues today.
The London Underground chose Transport Brakes Ltd to meet their braking needs in 1967 – a relationship still going strong today. Becoming part of the BBA Group, they later marketed under the brand name Cosid.
Along with many other transport networks, millions of London Underground’s users rely on Cosid during their daily commute.
A further step was taken
to improve braking in the
early 1970s when motor manufacturers began switching from drum to disc brakes.
As most of a vehicle's stopping power is contained in its front wheels, priority was given to upgrading a vehicle’s front brakes first. This followed the trend pioneered by Dunlop and Mintex in the 1950s.
Prior to 1975, brake pads typically contained asbestos which was used as the friction material designed to slow down a vehicle. This date marked the era of products containing the carcinogenic material being banned and as a result new asbestos-free materials and brake pads started to be developed.
Despite the difficulties of replacing asbestos’ good thermal and friction properties, Abex-Pagid were at the forefront of developing asbestos-free friction formulations.
Based on their expertise with high performing friction materials they were able to produce the first asbestos-free semi metallic brake pad for Volkswagen.
In advance of a complete ban, asbestos started to be removed from braking materials. Replacements had to be found that could produce a friction material to provide braking performance and meet customer requirements, whilst eliminating the health risks of asbestos. Amongst those used were steel, wool and minerals such as graphite.
Driven by Germans Hans Joachim Stuck and Walter Röhrl, Audi’s entry into the Trans-Am series was courtesy of the manufacturer’s 200 turbo Quattro. Equipped with Pagid’s racing brake pads, the team won six out of 13 races in 1988. A year later, the partnership ended when new competition regulations stipulated that all cars needed to be two-wheel drive and powered by American engines.
What started as the Frictionless Engine Packing Company Ltd in 1881 celebrated its 100 year anniversary as a renowned friction manufacturer now known as Small and Parkes. The Manchester site produces brake friction for commercial and rail applications.
With the acquisition of Don from Cape Industries, BBA Friction increased its expertise and scope within the friction industry. Joining forces, the newly established Mintex Don Limited offered world-class friction solutions to the global automotive industry.
The Ford Scorpio was the first mass-produced car to benefit from an anti-lock braking system (ABS) which was fitted as standard.
As part of BBA Friction, Textar started to work with Nisshinbo Industries Inc. Cementing existing relationships between Small and Parkes (Don) and Nisshinbo Industries Inc, the technological exchange with Textar further enhanced the companies’ standing.
The 1990s witnessed the rapid development of friction materials. As the Group C era moved towards increased numbers of production based cars racing at the World Championship, TMD Friction became the brake supplier of choice for many motor manufacturer and brake providers. These include; Brembo, AMG, AP Racing, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, McLaren, Prodrive, Porsche and VW.
While the use of asbestos in some UK industries had already been banned it wasn't until The Asbestos Prohibition Regulations 1999 that the use of all vehicle brake linings containing asbestos was banned.
Following the sale of BBA Group’s automotive friction business, TMD Friction was born. TMD Friction grew into one of the world’s leading friction manufacturers and provided a home for Textar, Mintex and Don as well as Pagid, Cobreq and Cosid.
Driven by its activities in
TMD Friction developed the
first brake pad for the patented carbon ceramic disc brake for performance production cars.
Today, almost all road vehicles equipped with carbon ceramic disc brakes rely on TMD’s engineered
brake pads and extensive expertise.
In 2005, the job of stopping the world’s most powerful and fastest road vehicle, the Bugatti Veyron, was entrusted to TMD Friction.
What started as a small business back in 1910 is
now a trusted partner in friction formulations for rail and industrial applications around the world.
The Coswig site, home to the
Cosid brand celebrated its 100th birthday in 2010.
South African friction specialist, Dynotherm, became part of TMD Friction Group allowing the company to extend its technological scope to include sintered friction products that are found in heavy-duty vehicles such as those used in mining.
A new global player in the automotive industry was created when Nisshinbo Holdings Inc acquired the
TMD Friction Group in a friendly takeover.
The takeover cemented a working relationship dating back to 1964, making the combined friction business the second largest business division within Nisshinbo Holdings Inc.
With a 100 year legacy in braking dating back to 1913, Textar brake pads and linings have been fitted to everything from the Ford Model T to today’s 255mph Bugatti Veyron.
In advance of upcoming environmental legislation, TMD Friction became the first friction specialist to receive approval for a copper-free high-performance friction formulation.
The entire automotive industry will be switching to copper-free brake pads by the end of 2021.
Since 1878 friction development has seen some momentous events that have revolutionised the braking industry.
We can be sure that our braking heritage will stand us in good stead to meet the future mobility requirements and challenges of future generations.
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