The Hirst Companies were originally founded as a family business by Mr Sidney Hirst in 1938. From it's early years the company was initially involved with arc welders followed by stud welding. By 1949, the Company was also involved with high current low voltage power supplies for the chemical and metal refining industries.
In 1960, the Company set up a division specifically involved with magnetics. By the 1970s many of the company's machines and instruments had become industry standards.
The 1970s saw the commercial introduction of rare earth magnets such as Samarium Cobalt and in early 1980s the introduction of Neodymium Iron Boron Permanent Magnets. These materials require much higher fields for magnetising and their introduction occurred at a time when a revolution in shop floor manufacturing processes was taking place.
In response to this Hirst Magnetic Instruments commenced a major programme of development into new products not only to cope with the materials but also to permit electronic communication and control on the shop floor.
The company moved to its present location in May 1996, where the factory was formally opened by the Olympic Athlete and local MP Sebastian Coe.
Hirst Magnetic Instruments Ltd. has maintained itself at the forefront of developments within the magnetics industry. They are active members of the U.K. Magnetics Society and have won numerous sponsorship awards at Regional, National and European levels to maintain their industry leading development work. In particular, they were a leading member of a 3 million ECU research project into Pulse Field Magnetometry (PFM), This 5 year project, started in 1998, with other European magnet manufactures and academic institutes has given Hirst an unrivalled knowledge of the PFM technique which they continue to develop for industrial applications.