Did you know we’ve been manufacturing lifts for over 160 years?

We are the oldest service lift manufacturer in the UK, our Managing Director Ian’s Great, Great, Great Grandfather’s Uncle was the original George Johnson. He started business around 1850 as a builder.

George Johnson was an inventive character and set out to design a manually operated hoist to reduce the tedious job of carrying bricks up a scaffold during building construction. This hoist was first produced around 1860 and apparently caused several strikes by site labourers seeing their jobs at risk.

George Johnson

With the success of his venture into the lift field, George turned his hand to the design of a range of lifts and dumbwaiters. These were all hand operated with many models available for carrying anything from a dinner plate to a fully-grown man.

The original factory in Battersea employed many staff, all the lifts were handmade mainly from timber by skilled carpenters and the engineering components hand forged. The first machine to arrive was a treadle operated lathe, it was the talking point of the factory. The company had its own transport in the form of a horse (provided by George’s brother) with a choice of three horse vans and they even had a stable onsite.

In around 1870 a steam engine was bought to power all the machinery, superseded by a gas engine in 1904. Finally, during the 1930’s electric power arrived, and modern machinery was purchased.

In 1866, Mr Johnson introduced his nephew to the business, Mr Littlechild, and gradually handed over George Johnson Lifts to other younger members of the family. To date there are still three members of the family managing, operating and financing the current business. Several of the staff and engineers have been working for George Johnson Lifts since they left school and we pride ourselves on our history and reputation within the lift industry.

George Johnson Lifts - History