About Us
Essex Engineering factory

Essex Engineering is a traditional professional manufacturing business, employing around 35, a number which has remained constant in the business for over 50 years. 100% family owned and run, as near as is possible, as a family. We are renowned for the quality of our workmanship and our products.

The factory has bespoke computer software for stock control and traceability, has roving inspections and a person in each department with 18 plus years experience of making the same things. It is not likely to establish the conventional quality methods employed by the large organization.


The company started in 1935 as a small repair shop for mechanical gambling machines (One Arm Bandits) and pintables. During the War (1940 – 1945) it manufactured parts for guns and made precision tools and gauges. After the War, noticing a difficulty in supply of sewing machines simultaneously with examining a toy machine from America, it was decided to make a small cheap but effective adult version. Thus the Essex Miniature Sewing Machine was born and, after a rather shaky start, began to sell so well that by 1956 over 150,000 of these small chain stitch machines had been sold.

The company was asked to make a coin operated control to start a washing machine imported from Sweden and it produced a coin box, relay mechanism and coin slide which eventually was to sell by the thousand. The mechanical action, supplied by the customer, made the coin slide work in conditions of soap soil and humidity that would make other more delicate coin validators quite unreliable and by the late 1960’s, having developed a coin slide capable of bridging the change to decimal currency, over 60,000 mechanisms were sold in less that one year.

After this, during the 1970’s, the pool table took off in the British Public House and the company was to supply the coin operated launderette and coin operated pool table market right through to the early 1990’s and, with this there came an increasingly important export trade.

In 1990 it was decided that, in order to meet the needs of the world’s currencies and to be able to offer a mechanism which was flexible and which enabled the operator to change the vend price at will, a coin slide having 6 coin apertures that could be blocked off or opened up by the operator would be required. This was made and called the Straight Six and has sold widely throughout the world and has an enviable reputation. It is now being made to incorporate the coming Euro coinage.


Essex Engineering started to make copper cable clips and saddles for Pyrotenax Ltd in 1948 where they were used to install the company’s Mineral Insulated Cable (MICC) and cater for cable diameters from 2mm to 26.7mm. The popular sizes range from 7.1mm to 11.9mm diameter and now days are used to install soft core cable as well as MICC.

Pyrotenax was formed in 1937 when it purchased the patent rights for MICC from the French company Socie’te’ Alsacienne Me’chanique and supplied the cable to the Ministry of Defence during the war.

MICC is an electrical cable made from copper conductors running inside a copper sheath insulated by inorganic magnesium oxide and colloquially known as pyro. The cable is made by placing copper rods inside a copper tube and filling the intervening spaces with magnesium oxide, then drawing out the assembly into, say, cable 7mm in diameter with 1.5mm diameter conductors running in highly compressed magnesium oxide. The result is a cable that will withstand temperatures above 1000 degrees centigrade, is very bendable and can, in fact, be hammered flat and still conduct. It is much more resistant to fire than plastic insulated cable. It is therefore used when fire is a particular hazard and also when ionizing radiation is present, as in applications in nuclear reactors. MICC is produced covered with a plastic sheath coloured for identification purposes.

MCCP p- clips are for single fixing single cable runs and are suitable for fire alarms and similar installations. MCS saddles are for double fixing double cable runs. They are both made from copper BS1432 C101 with a Akzo-Nobel Interpon low smoke and fume powder coating in red, white, orange or black colour and are sold in packets of 50.


Essex Engineering has manufactured coin slide mechanisms for over 50 years. The coin slide has proved itself highly reliable and easily repairable, resulting in over 1 million finding their way onto coin slide operated machines throughout the world. Coin slides will work in the Namibian desert just as well as in a rain forest or an Eskimo's igloo. Coin slides are also, of course, totally free from any wiring problems allowing the device to operate anywhere - and use only the energy supplied (quite freely) by the customer!

The reason for the continued success in the coin slide market is that the coin slide mechanisms are incredibly reliable, and purely mechanical.

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Why buy from us

Great reputation, great service, great quality, with real people to help when you need us.


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