Prepared for innovation and invention

The creation of an industry

Benjamin Chew Tilghman invented the sandblasting (air blast) process in 1869 and filed a patent in the USA. He formed "Tilghman's Patent Sand Blast Co." at Gray's Inn Road, London and in 1879 moved the company to Altrincham. This company later became Tilghman Wheelabrator, and eventually Wheelabrator Group. Our head office is still in Altrincham, in the UK.

1930s wheel brochure


Wheelabrator accounts 1898

There's quite a bit of confusion about just who invented wheelblasting and the first blast wheel.

Peik's Patents

Some would say that Louis D. Peik, of the American Foundry Equipment Co., invented wheelblasting with a patent in 1933.

As the machine threw an abrasive by a wheel-like device, the term "Wheelabrator" was born.

In 1933, the new Wheelabrator machines were launched with great success, and in 1935, Tilghman's in the UK started to build licensed Wheelabrator machines.

In 1945, American Foundry changed its name to American Wheelabrator & Equipment Company. In 1966 it acquired 40% of Tilghman's, and the company became Tilghman Wheelabrator - which then became fully owned by American Wheelabrator in 1973.

Badische Maschinenfabrik in Durlach

When Louis D Peik registered his patent for a blast wheel in the 1930's, we can only guess that he hadn't been made aware of the BMD "Gusssputzmaschine" patent some 40 years earlier.

"For the cleaning of castings, a turbine wheel serves; which turns at high speed and propels from the middle sand, stone, granulated iron and other such materials... to clean the surface of castings."

(Take a look at the patent documentation below.)

Badische Maschinenfabrik & Eisengiesserei (or later BMD) is a former DISA, and therefore former Wheelabrator company.