The company started its main growth in 1914 with a contract to supply the Morris Motor Company with electrical equipment.
After the First World War the firm expanded rapidly, branching out into products such as braking systems and diesel systems for the automotive industry and hydraulic actuators and electronic engine control systems for the aerospace industry. In 1926 they gained an exclusive contract with Austin.
Around 1930, Lucas and Smiths established a trading agreement to avoid competition in each others markets.
During the 1920s and 1930s Lucas grew rapidly by taking over a number of their competitors such as Rotax and C.A.Vandervell (CAV). During WW2 Lucas were engaged by Rover to work on the combustion and fuel systems for the Whittle jet engine project making the burners, this came about due to their experience of sheet metal manufacture and CAV for the pumps and injectors. In the 1950s they started a semiconductor manufacturing plant to make rectifiers and transistors.
Starting 1996 Lucas was brought and sold by a number of companies this ended with Eltra Lighting Ltd acquiring the license from TRW to use the Lucas name on products in the UK and Europe, this purchase sees the familiar green and white Lucas name return to the car spares shops shelves again.
By Paul Green