As befitting a company founded in Rochdale and operating to this day from Bolton, it all started with the mills. The air in the mills had to be kept hot and humid to prevent the thread breaking, and as a result rooms were poorly ventilated, and the air was often thick with cotton dust. Seeing a need to improve the air quality for both the product and the workers, in 1858 Rochdale man James Howorth set up James Howorth & Co Ltd, manufacturing apparatus for humidifying, ventilating, heating, air-conveying, dust control and drying applications within the textile industry.
By the 1900s, the firm was specializing primarily in producing air conditioning and humidifying equipment, Then, in the late 1950s, Sir John Charnley, the world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon, recognised the necessity of providing an aero-microbiologically clean zone during surgery to avoid wound sepsis from airborne contamination, Charnley’s hip replacements were a success, but many patients were suffering from subsequent infections from the major surgery involved.
Recognising the high post-operative infection rates, Sir John Charnley was put in touch with Hugh Howorth, whose company specialised in clean air solutions for a number of industrial processes, including the brewing industry. As a product of their meeting, Howorth designed an airflow system to filter air and direct sources of infection away from the patient, which was installed at Wrightington Hospital in 1962, with a dramatic reduction in infection rates.
With what was known as ‘the Charnley-Howorth airflow’ in place, post-operative infections after orthopaedic surgery were considerably reduced and Charnley, along with other pioneering surgeons in the UK, were able to develop the hip replacements now used in millions of patients.
Since 1962, the Howorth Exflow Ultra Clean Ventilation system has been installed in over 2500 hospitals worldwide. The company is now also a specialist turnkey contractor serving the healthcare market and designs and manufactures specialist containment equipment for the pharmaceutical industry.
Today, this expertise in engineering clean air is fundamental to our success in providing world class containment and infection control solutions, serving the global healthcare, pharmaceutical and wider industrial markets.