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Company History

OBE A. Blanch

The company's founder, the late, Alvan B. Blanch OBE, 1916 -1991, started his working life as a farmer and agricultural contractor. Through his prowess at sheep shearing he became head demonstrator R.A. Lister Co. (famous for diesel engines), which even involved him in a televised display of sheep shearing for a very early BBC farming programme in 1938.

His really notable skill however was as an engineer who, by applying a fresh and often very simple approach to problem solving, was able to substantially improve many of the farm machines that he encountered. Alvan’s inventive talents clearly needed a more challenging outlet and so it was that in 1946 he started his first business - A.B. Blanch Ltd. to design and manufacture new farm machinery.

Then, after selling the original business, he founded Alvan Blanch Development Co. Ltd in 1952. The 'development' part of the new company’s name made its purpose clear, innovation to meet the challenges of farming that was then undergoing rapid transformation. As is implied by the new company’s name, its objective from the very outset was to develop innovative engineering solutions to meet the needs of farmers and agro industrialists. The design ethos was that no machine should be more complicated than functionally necessary and that the machines, while being easy to repair should be built to last for a generation.

Sales took off rapidly and those early design concepts for grain driers and feed mixers have evolved into the equivalent machines of today. A new factory was built on farmland and barns were converted into offices. The on-site farm became the test bed for all new products.

The opportunity to assist in the mechanisation of agriculture elsewhere in the world was grasped with enthusiasm and an export team was established, with Alvan Blanch himself travelling worldwide. He quickly recognised that agricultural traditions, dictated by culture, climate and economic factors varied enormously. Machinery should be just as varied - to meet the actual requirements in a country or region. He set his design team some very diverse challenges, leading to the creation of a range of products of extraordinary strength in depth.

This was the foundation to the company’s success in international trade that was given official recognition in 1969 when Alvan Blanch was honoured with the award of the OBE by H M the Queen. He remained at the helm of the business right up until his death in 1991.

OBE A. Blanch

Blanch of Crudwell