MADE IN SHEFFIELD: Tool firm making a name for itself

Reece Broadhurst inspects work at Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Reece Broadhurst inspects work at Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Eldon Tools is like thousands of small Sheffield companies, tucked away in an anonymous building on a city industrial estate.

But a few moments spent talking to engineering manager John London reveals a hotbed of innovation, experience, investment and entrepreneurialism – and a worthy holder of a coveted Made in Sheffield licence.

John London with Eldon's 3D printer and a prototype it produced. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

John London with Eldon's 3D printer and a prototype it produced. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

It might not be glamorous – most of Eldon’s business is making tool kits for the automotive trade – but it does it well.

The 30-strong firm, on Don Road, Brightside, has just opened a new warehouse, is set to spend thousands on new equipment and is on track for a record year.

The workshop is home to half-a-dozen automated machine tools, and a couple of manual ones, as well as a 3D printer.

John said they were riding high after completing their biggest order, for car giant Jaguar Land Rover. And, following a few sleepless nights and overtime, it was delivered early.

Steve Shannon working on one of the milling machines at Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Steve Shannon working on one of the milling machines at Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

He said: “If your car has been into a garage anywhere in the country the mechanic will have one of our tools.

“What we do is not glamorous to people who don’t like it, but I’m very proud and I think some of the others are as well.

“We’ve seen investment in a new building, new machines and apprentices, I must give Stuart Smith our general manager some credit for that.”

Eldon has a four-strong design team who come up with new tools – which are promptly copied in the Far East, John says.

Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

Eldon Tools, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 28th June 2017. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

“We register our designs in Europe but not worldwide due to the expense. But as soon as we bring something out, within six months there’s another version on the market.”

The company is owned by The Tool Connection in Warwickshire. In its huge catalogue, British-made items are labelled with a union flag but Eldon’s have an even more prestigious one: ‘Made in Sheffield’.

John added: “We’ve always been a member, I think it carries some weight. When you go abroad, it’s United or Wednesday or steel.”

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John London with a decanter stopper made for David Mellor

John London with a decanter stopper made for David Mellor

John London in the new warehouse at Eldon Tools, Sheffield,  Photo by Glenn Ashley.

John London in the new warehouse at Eldon Tools, Sheffield, Photo by Glenn Ashley.