Records of Kelvin Diesels Ltd, marine engine manufacturers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Administrative papers 1961
  • Financial records 1906-1985
  • Stock and trading records 1911-1987
  • Correspondence 1953-1981
  • Personnel records 1919-1971
  • Technical data records 1918-1986
  • Plans and sketches 1911-1968
  • Public relations records 1928-1987
  • Photographs 20th century
  • Printing blocks 20th century

Administrative / Biographical History

The Bergius Car and Engine Company was operating from premises at 77 Queen Street, Glasgow in 1904. In May of that year Walter Bergius was joined by David W Willocks in a venture to produce motor cars, in first floor premises at 169 Finnieston Street, Glasgow. The first Kelvin Car was produced within six months, making its first trial journey in December 1904, when it burst its cylinders and had to be taken back to the workshop. After three weeks spent re-designing and re-making the ignition gear and altering the cylinder pattern, the car was on the road again early in 1905. Three further cars were produced in 1905 and the Bergius Car and Engine Company exhibited at the motor shows in Edinburgh in 1906 and 1907. In March 1906  Walter Bergius's brother ordered a Kelvin engine to be installed in a 23 foot rowing gig, which had been removed from a large sailing yacht. This launch, Kelvin, was extremely successful in a number of races, as was its successor, Kelvin II, also designed by Walter Bergius. It was the success of these two launches, and the difficulty in sustaining a viable market in car sales, which sealed the future of the Kelvin engine as a marine engine. By 1929 The Bergius Company, oil engine manufacturers, had moved to 254 Dobbies Loan, Glasgow. After Walter Bergius's death, David W Willocks became chairman and managing director, retiring in 1954 after 50 years service with the company. By 1950 The Bergius Oil Company had become Kelvin Motor Launches, and by 1963 the company had undergone a further name change to become The Bergius-Kelvin Co Ltd. By 1973 the company was operating under the name of English Electric Diesels Ltd, manufacturers of the Kelvin Diesel marine motor. The company again changed its name to Kelvin Diesels plc, operating as a subsidiary of GEC and moved to new premises at Cardowan Way, Tannochside Park, Uddingston, Lanarkshire. In 2000  the company came under ownership of British Polar Engines Ltd and the company name was altered to Kelvin Diesels Ltd . In 2001 Kelvin Diesels Ltd moved to 133 Helen Street, Glasgow where they are still in operation. Sources: Glasgow Post Office Directories, and the Kelvin marine Engine's website found at


Records are arranged chronologically within series class

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Mr A Whitehead, Managing Director, Kelvin Diesels plc : 1996

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description compiled by Vikki Laidlaw, Hub Project Assistant, 09 March 2006.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

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This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History



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