This year the iconic Gripple wire joiner and tensioner is 25 years old and the renowned Sheffield company, which is proud to bear its name, celebrated grand style!
Gripple Limited commissioned the celebrated Sheffield artist Pete McKee for a large painting, and a young local sculptor, Ian Hudson for a two metre high stainless steel sculpture resembling a Gripple fastener. Not only that, the company held a huge party for the staff to thank them for their efforts.
Neither artwork had been seen by anyone at the company before they were unveiled at Gripple headquarters, and when they were revealed everyone who had gathered for the ceremony, including many staff, were thrilled. The painting was the largest the artist had ever produced and showed more people than any other and the sculpture was dramatic and a stunning representation of a Gripple tensioner.
At the unveiling the men responsible for the ‘birth’ of the Gripple wire joiner told their story. Hugh Facey, who invented the device and is now Gripple chairman, and Brian Shawcross, who helped Hugh to develop it during his time as a senior engineer at Cheshire Engineering.
Hugh said: “This is a proud day for the company, and obviously Brian and me. We never predicted the enormous potential and success of the Gripple fastener. These wonderful artworks faithfully reflect Gripple – the sculpture for the company’s innovative heart and global spread and the painting for its people who own the company, to whom I offer my heartfelt thanks for their continued commitment and hard work. Now we are all working on the next 25 years!”
To commemorate this momentous year for the employee-owned company and, to thank the 350 staff for their hard work and dedication, each received a paperweight which, in addition to a digital image of a Gripple tensioner and their own name, displayed the number of years they have worked for the company! And, to celebrate in style, there was a staff party with live music, games, drinks and food.
To ensure his painting reflected the distinction which has seen Gripple achieve its success in the construction and agriculture markets across the globe, Pete McKee spent time at Gripple to absorb its unique spirit. Previously Ian had constructed an artwork using hundreds of the Sheffield-made devices. Both celebratory artworks will be displayed permanently at the Gripple HQ.