The History of Our Tubular Heaters
The beginning of our story starts when electricity was only just being rolled out into domestic homes. In 1901, Mr Eric Cole was born in Rochford, Essex and would grow up to work for his father’s business working as an electrical and wireless engineer and would be the driving force behind its growth.
In 1924, the pair were approached by Mr Verrells, who was interested in wiring appliances to the mains circuit. This seemed impossible at the time, but Eric managed it and E.K Cole Ltd was born thanks to investment from a number of people including the owner of Peter Pans’ Playground in Southend (now known as Adventure Island).
Twenty years after its launch, by 1945 EKCO Domestic Products employed 8,000 people and specialised in manufacturing mains and portable TVs, radios, radiograms, tape recorders, car radios, electric heaters, thermovent heaters, electric blankets, and much more.
The production of the Thermotube tubular heaters began in 1948 in Malmesbury, Wiltshire and continued there until 1960.
Following some financial difficulties, Philips Electrical Industries became the owner of ECKO in 1967 and it was split into three different companies, but Philips were interested in the Thermotube heater and considered it a flagship product so all three of the businesses worked together to build, test and manufacture the Thermotube.
The Birth of Thermo Products Ltd
Harlow Group Ltd bought the rights to the Thermotube from Philips in 2001, leading to the formation of Harlow Contract Manufacturing Ltd in 2001 and its renaming to Thermo Products Ltd in 2003. In 2005, the Harlow Group was involved in a management buyout and Thermo products Ltd was split away from the main group of companies.
In 2018, Thermo Products Ltd was acquired by LL Potter and Sons Ltd and the company moved again to Taplow in Berkshire on the same site as Potters – allowing the two companies to work closely together with technology, manufacturing and skills.
The Thermotube Today
Thermo Products has been able to continue to develop the Thermotube to this day and the tubular heater is its flagship product, providing a cheap way to provide heat output for a range of environments.
Tubular heaters are made from lightweight extruded aluminium tubes to provide both lightness and strength as well as heating up quickly. They can be used solo or above each other in a ladder effect with no more than 4 tubes.
It is ideal for providing background heat in environments such as loft conversions, garages, conservatories, sheds and greenhouses. Costing less than 1p an hour to run, it is a cost-efficient way of providing portable heat, something every British home desires.
It continues to be manufactured in the UK to this day and as well as being cheap to run, is also a cheap investment with prices starting at just £20 per tube.