100 years of manufacturing is a big achievement, one that Heatrae Sadia is celebrating a year late in 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Charles Hubert Smith and Commander Newhouse founded Electric Fires Ltd. Charles is credited with inventing the first mains electric immersion heater and went on to hold many other product design patents before his death in 1960. In 1926, the business moved to larger premises in St Georges Street, where it manufactured a range of electric fires, hot plates and hot water heaters. In 1934, the company officially changed its name to Heatrae.
In 1970, Heatrae moved to its current site, Hurricane Way, Norwich. It acquired Sadia Water Heating in 1974 to complement Heatrae’s existing range and three years later the business brought both brands under one banner as Heatrae Sadia.
By 1988, unvented water heating had been adopted in the UK, and in 1994 the first Megaflo cylinders were produced. Megaflo would go on to become one of the leading domestic hot water cylinders on the market today. Thousands of G3 qualified Registered Gas Safe engineers choose Megaflo, and it has become the generic name for a water cylinder.
Tragedy struck on 11 September 2009, when fire broke out just before midnight. 15 fire engines and 70 firefighters were needed to get the fire under control and extinguished. Many workers thought that was the end of the businesses when they were turned away the next morning. However, that was on Friday, and by Monday morning the factory was back in production and just one day was lost, thanks to the entire engineering team.
In 2012, the business provided packaged heating solutions for the athletes’ village at the London Olympics. Heatrae Sadia also made a chariot that took part in the Lord Mayor’s procession as the Olympic torched passed through Norwich on its way to the capital.
Over the years, colleagues at Heatrae Sadia have raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities, including Marie Curie and The Alzheimer’s Society. They have dressed up, climbed, baked and even held a circus in aid of good causes. They have supported university design students by running the Design Awards – encouraging the next generation of talent to design an innovative water heating product.
As the company embarks on the next century of Heatrae Sadia’s history, a new chapter is beginning, with the move of its Norwich operations to Baxi’s manufacturing site in Preston, Lancashire. As part of BDR Thermea Group, the Heatrae Sadia brand has the financial and technical backing that will prepare it for the energy transition and the drive for net zero carbon emissions in the UK.
For more information on Megaflo and Heatrae Sadia cylinders and electric water heaters visit www.heatraesadia.com