Our Heritage

NABIC roots date back to Manchester in 1864 - the Victorian age of steam and breath-taking industrial advancement.

NABIC is an acronym for National Boiler Insurance Company and came into existence due to of a rising tide of boiler explosions which were causing extensive damage to commercial properties and considerable loss of life. 

For instance, in 1854 there was a boiler explosion in Rochdale which killed ten people. The inquest ruled that the incident was caused by neglect – one safety valve was inoperative and the other had been over-weighted to “stop the boiler blowing off”. This incident was one of many that took place across the country in the industrial heartland of England which had the biggest concentration of steam boilers in the world and started the unstoppable process of making working environments’ safer.


The NABIC Company was born out of a necessity to insure commercial activities and they employed highly skilled engineers to carry out the inspections. So it was no surprise that the new Company was also keen to look kindly on any new inventions which would help safeguard boilers. In 1863 John Smith patented a fusible plug for boilers and NABIC bought the rights in 1864 for £2000 and this provided the base for the company to grow.  


NABIC commenced manufacture ensuring the quality of the fitting and offered customers a 10% reduction in premiums if they fitted them. NABIC set the trend as fusible plugs were so effective and other companies followed their lead and told their customers to request NABIC ! so the name became the industry standard, a modern day ‘Hoover’ for the boiler industry and still carries gravitas today.


Time Line

  • 1864 NABIC founded
  • 1873 activities extended into engine inspection and insurance against breakdown
  • 1896 merged with Vulcan Insurance Company
  • 1923 Insurer Alliance took control of NABIC
  • 1946 Donald Brown acquired - Brownall  (brand)
  • 1960s Owned by Sun Alliance
  • 1996 NABIC bought by Delta Group from Royal Sun Alliance
  • 2001 MBO from Delta Group (products manufactured out of St Helens )
  • 2008 Acquired by Crane Ltd – part of American multinational, Crane Co
  • 2015 NABIC production moved to new manufacturing site in Hitchin




1854 A Key Flash point

On the 9th September; a serious explosion at Rochdale killed 10 people. On the 19th September mill owners, manufacturers, scientific men and eminent engineers met at Manchester Town Hall and formed a voluntary association for the prevention of steam boiler explosions. (It soon became known as the Manchester Steam Users Association).

List of Boiler Fittings and Articles Useful to Steam Users and Engineers
Published 1914

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