"Press on; nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
The Cook Guiding Principles
Having grown up in a family of farmers in Harworth, Nottinghamshire, William Cook senior – the founder of the business – walks to Glasgow to become an apprentice sawmaker. He soon establishes his own saw factory.
A second small factory is started in Washford Road, Sheffield, making crucible steel castings for collieries
The Glasgow works is handed over to relatives by marriage and William Cook’s two grandsons, William and Andrew, concentrate their attention on the Sheffield works. Crucible melting in clay pots over coke fires continues after World War Two
Electric induction melting installed at the Washford Road works
The Company, still very small, floats on the London Stock Exchange
A new works is constructed on an elevated out-of-town site in Sheffield. Today this is the William Cook group’s headquarters and houses one of its main manufacturing plants
Andrew Cook, the present Chairman, takes control of the Company and begins a period of rapid expansion and refocusing on new markets. By 1986 sales reach £10m
Following a series of acquisitions, sales reach £120m. During this period, many famous names in the steel casting industry are taken over by William Cook, including Weir Foundries, George Blair, Lake and Elliott and Lloyds Burton
A hostile takeover bid threatens the independence and very existence of the Company. After a long battle the bid is finally defeated by Andrew Cook, who takes the Company private with venture capital assistance
Andrew Cook buys out his venture capital partner and restores the Company to 100 per cent family control
Andrew Cook sells the defence business to clear all debt
Andrew Cook buys back the defence business and begins a £20m programme of capital investment to become a world leader in advanced manufacturing
William Cook Rail is established at the modernised Leeds plant, which is later expanded to include bogie and coupler overhaul.
Andrew Cook is knighted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
William Cook Cast Products opens a new precision foundry at the Sheffield plant.
Cook Defence Systems opens a new machine shop and other facilities at the Stanhope plant
William Cook acquires ADA machining services, expanding the group’s heavy machining capability.
William Cook acquires a Chesterfield-based steel foundry, increasing the company’s total number of manufacturing sites to five.