Blyth company celebrates 50 years of research and development

A North East company which helped put  Edmund Hillary on Everest is celebrating its 50th anniversary

Rebecca Johnston with some of the breathing apparatus Drager UK has produced
Rebecca Johnston with some of the breathing apparatus Drager UK has produced

The company which invented the breathing apparatus used by the men who first conquered Everest is celebrating a milestone.

Dräger in Blyth, Northumberland, marked the 50th anniversary of its UK operation yesterday with a VIP reception to show off its past and present successes. More than 600 business leaders were at the company’s headquarters to see a display marking decades of innovative research in medical and safety equipment.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “One of the products on show will be the original breathing apparatus used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay which was instrumental in helping them reach Everest’s summit in 1953. This jewel from the Dräger archive was designed and manufactured in Blyth.”

And that’s not the only success from the company, which boasts an impressive record over the years.

Dräger was also the first company to invent a version of the breathalyser and the regional police chiefs attending the event were able to see how the technology has changed over the years.

On show were some of the original devices as well as today’s more sophisticated equipment such as the Dräger Alcotest 6810 which is currently used by police forces across the UK.

A spokesman for the company said Dräger still remains at the forefront of global safety and medical solutions and is at the forefront of the war on drugs.

Its latest drug testing machine - the Dräger DrugTest 5000 – is the first and only drug detection kit to receive Home Office approval earlier this year.

Experts at the company are also behind the Dräger Polytron 8000 range used to detect toxic gas levels in industrial settings such as oil rigs or chemical plants.

International CEO Stefan Dräger said the aim was to increase UK sales from £75m to £130m over the next seven years.

Dräger’s Managing Director in the UK, Mike Norris, said: “We are extremely proud to be celebrating 50 years of business in the UK. The spirit of innovation has been at the heart of our company since its inception and that fact remains as true today. Our products make a real difference to people’s lives - saving and protecting them on a daily basis.”

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