The company that became GKN was forged in the first fires of the Industrial Revolution. And through the two-and-a-half centuries of its remarkable life, GKN has proved a master of Industrial Evolution. From a single blast furnace fuelling a tiny iron works on a remote Welsh hillside, GKN was built by a group of men - and one woman - into a world leader. Not just once or twice, but many times, it has changed shape and direction to hold its place at the forefront of the engineering industry. When iron gave birth to the worldwide railway boom in the early 1800s, GKN was there. It was among the first to seize the opportunities created when steel superseded iron in the 1860s. After the First World War, GKN moved into the 20 th century's greatest new industry - automotive. Late in the century, when aerospace began to be transformed by the use of new materials, GKN was at the leading edge. Geographically too, the company has evolved.
As the balance of economic growth has shifted, from Britain in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to America, continental Western Europe and Japan in the 20 th and on to the emerging powers of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe in the 21 st century, the group has moved with it and frequently ahead of it. Today, the businesses that comprise GKN reach from the US to the eastern shores of Japan, from northern China and India to South Africa, Latin America and Australia. GKN is a truly global corporate citizen. This is its remarkable story.