Dowty Equipment of Canada - Synopsis

Dowty Equipment of Canada - North Plant Ajax
Original photo in the Dowty archive at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub
Dowty Canada - Publication
Dowty Canada - Publication
Dowty Canada - Publication

During the Second World War, factories were set up throughout Britain, Canada and the USA.

Dowty Equipment (Canada) Ltd. opened its first office in Canada in October 1939 and moved from Montreal to Ajax, near Toronto, in 1949, following landing gear orders from Avro Canada.

Twenty-eight different aircraft type were fitted with Dowty equipment, which included 12,900 sets for the Hurricane, over 90,000 other undercarriage units, including the Lancaster Bomber and more than a million hydraulic units.

After the Second World War, Dowty applied his new approaches to hydraulics to wider fields including motorcycle forks, hydraulic pit props and a prime support system, industrial pumps, and hydraulic control systems.

In 1954 a group holding company, Dowty, was formed to hold Dowty Equipment; the Canadian operation generated 50 per cent of the total turnover.

In the mid-1980s, Dowty Equipment of Canada became Dowty Aerospace Landing Gear – Toronto.

At this point, both landing gear activities at the plant in Ajax recommenced with the development of the Canadair Challenger landing gear and subsequent derivatives of that aircraft.

At the same time, Dowty Hydraulics activity and Dowty propeller overhaul activities were performed at the Ajax plant. In 1995, TI Group (the owner of the Dowty group of companies at that time) merged the landing gear interests of Dowty with the landing gear interests of the Snecma group of France (primarily an engine and aircraft equipment manufacturer).

This created Messier-Dowty, with 50-50 French and English ownership. In 1997, Snecma purchased the English interest in Messier-Dowty making the company 100% French controlled (and 97.5% owned by the French government).

In 2005, the Snecma group merged with the Sagem Company of France to create a new entity called Safran.

The Messier-Dowty company continued unchanged.

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