Engineering Insights: 21 case studies by practising engineers

History of ICI and Orica

In Britain, by the early part of the twentieth century, the chemical industry was going through a boom time and large scale amalgamations were starting to take place. These were driven by the need for close co-operation between the many companies, each with specialized expertise, with the aim of combining knowledge to solve inter-related problems to produce new chemical products before competitors.

One particular amalgamation started in 1926 when United Alkali Limited combined with Brunner Mond to form Imperial Chemical Industries, which then was the largest manufacturing company in Great Britain. In all, five companies became part of this great merger, the others being the British Dyestuffs Corporation, Nobel, and Kynoch. Subsequently, ICI also acquired the Salt Union to supply the large quantities of salt needed in dyeing, soap-making, metallurgy and refining [1].

ICI Australia was formed in 1928 as an outcome of the British mergers, being owned before that by Nobel Industries which had bought a local explosives supplier, Jones, Scott and Co. ICI Australia was renamed Orica in 1998 after it's British parent company divested itself of its shareholding in Australia [2].

'Engineering Insights' download

The following publication was produced by ICI Australia in 1983 to show examples of chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical instrument, and mining engineering. These are grouped into 'Development', 'Project' and 'Operations' categories.


[1] W.H.G. Armytage
      A Social History of Engineering,
      Faber and Faber, London
      Fourth Edition 1976
      ISBN 0 571 04864 1, p. 263.

[2] Wikipedia, Orica