William Froude

We Invented the Water Brake Dyno

Froude has been designing, manufacturing and supplying engine test equipment since William Froude invented the water brake dynamometer in 1877 at the request of the British Admiralty to produce a machine capable of absorbing and measuring the power of large naval engines. The group we have today has evolved from the original business named Heenan & Froude. 

A brief timeline of our history:

  • 1877 - William Froude invented the hydraulic (water brake) dynamometer
  • 1903 - Heenan & Froude company transferred to a location in Worcester, UK
  • 1937 - Heenan Group had 5 factories and comprised 7 engineering companies
  • 1952 - Hofmann Prüftechnik GmbH, formally Kleinsorge Company, started the production of roll test rigs
  • 1968 - Heenan Group acquired by Redman Engineering - company renamed as Redman Heenan Froude Ltd
  • 1974 - Froude Engineering Ltd - Test Plant Division of the parent company was located at Gregory's Bank in Worcester
  • 1983 - Consine Dynamics joined Froude Engineering Ltd
  • 1987 - FKI acquired Froude Engineering Ltd
  • 1995 - Froude acquired Hofmann Prüftechnik and Brush Automotive Test
  • 2002 - Froude Hofmann acquired Go Power Systems & Bennett Controls
  • 2007 - Froude Hofmann became part of Harris Watson Holdings PLC
  • 2008 - Froude Hofmann opened offices across the globe
  • 2015 - Froude forms joint venture with TeSys Engineering in South Korea creating Froude-TeSys
  • 2016 - Froude Inc (Novi, MI USA) and Froude Limited (UK) continue the Froude engine testing product line as the chassis dynamometer business is sold to Tesys Co. along with the Hofmann name.

“Froude” originates from the renowned English engineer, William Froude (1810-1879). An Oxford University graduate, his initial experience was in railway building before he turned his attention to Naval Engineering. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a colleague and friend who frequently consulted Froude about the design of the Great Eastern. From his extensive research on ship hulls, Froude established the Froude Number, which is still used today in the development of marine vessels as the hydrodynamic equivalent of the Mach Number. It is during this period that he invented the hydraulic (water brake) dynamometer to test engines for large naval ships. His son, Richard Froude, joined forces with Hammersley Heenan to form Heenan & Froude in 1881 and the Froude dynamometer was introduced on a commercial basis. The company gradually extended its product portfolio to include tests on ship engines, cars and aircraft.

Froude's experience in this market spans over 130 years. The corporate headquarters and manufacturing center is based in Novi Michigan USA, with a manufacturing and support center located in Worcester, United Kingdom. The worldwide company focuses on the design, manufacture and supply of AC dynamometers, eddy current dynamometers, hydraulic dynamometers, low & high speed dynamometers, controllers & data acquisition software, and ancillary equipment.