Smith, Major & Stevens, or SMS Lifts was a British lift/elevator manufacturer that existed from 1770 until 1930. SMS made electric, hydraulic, hand powered and belt driven elevators. It was one of the three predecessors of The Express Lift Co. Ltd. of Northampton, England; the other two were General Electric Company (GEC) and Easton Lift Company - though these two companies were the ones that led to the foundation of Express Lift.
Smith, Major & Stevens had begun in 1770 as a small engineering firm at 69 Princess Street in Leicester Square, London. In 1878, Archibald Smith & Co. was founded as a hydraulic and general engineering company based in Leicester Square, London. The company was renamed to Archibald Smith and Stevens in 1880 and at the same year the company opened their Janus Works in Battersea, London. Archibald Smith and Stevens started producing hand powered, belt driven and hydraulic elevators. By 1880, the company had produced 400 hand operated elevators, 126 hydraulic elevators, and 26 belt driven elevators.
In 1909, Charles George Major joined Archibald Smith & Stevens and the company was renamed to Smith, Major & Stevens. SMS relocated their factory from Battersea, London to Northampton in Northamptonshire.
SMS had offices in Northampton and London, as well as branches in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Ipswich, and Glasgow, Scotland.
The old factory, Janus Works, was originally located in Bridge Road in Battersea, London. When the company became Smith, Major and Stevens in 1909, the old Janus Works was closed and moved to a new premise in Northampton, where the factory would be used by The Express Lift Co. Ltd. until its closure in the late 1990s. The new factory was known as Abbey Works.
Smith, Major & Stevens had third-party agents or distributors located in several countries, some of these were:
|Bombay Elec. Co. Ltd.||India|
|Brown & Co.||Sri Lanka|
|H. Moult||New Zealand|
|Hume Hermanos||Argentina and Uruguay|
|Jessop & Co. Ltd.||India|
|Major, Stevens & Coates Co.||Sydney, Australia|
|Morrison & Co.||Chile|
|Myslis & Horsfall||Perth, Australia|
|Newton & McLaren||Adelaide, Australia|
|S. McLaughlan & Cie.||Brazil|
|Scott Harding & Co.||British Hong Kong|
|Stewart Raeburn & Co.||Myanmar|
|United Engineers Ltd.||Singapore|
|W. Bain & Co. (S.A.) Ltd.||South Africa|
- Hampshire House, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
- Giffords Building, Auckland, New Zealand
- Vulcans Building, Auckland, New Zealand (modernized by Kone in the 1990s)
- Blacketts Building, Auckland, New Zealand (modernized by Kone)
- Durie Hill Elevator, Whanganui, New Zealand (1919, installed by H. Moult)
- 5 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore (1929)
- Some old Express Lift installations would often carry the name SMS Lifts on their brand badge. In this case, the elevators are branded as "Express SMS Lifts".
Notes and references
- 1982 Express Lift booklet (includes a history of SMS Lifts)
- Smith, Major and Stevens - Grace's Guide