Abacus Lighting
A commitment to innovation still defines our business today.

History of Innovation

The UK’s first dusk-to-dawn lighting system
The UK’s first dusk-to-dawn lighting system
In 1965, Abacus was was responsible for switching on the UK’s first major installation of photoelectric dusk-to-dawn lighting.

Lights out... the frangible lighting column
Lights out... the frangible lighting column
Abacus created the first ever frangible lighting column designed to shear at the base on impact.

Landmark moments. Development of the first hinged raising and lowering column in the early 1960s
One of Abacus’ landmark moments
Development of it’s first hinged raising and lowering column in the early 1960’s.

Research and development is a core part of our business; and we’ve never been afraid to invest in exciting new projects - safe in the knowledge that our experienced, expert people have done the groundwork to make them profitable.

Five decades of innovation: a handful of landmark moments
  • The creation of our base-hinged raising and lowering columns in the 1960s remains one of Abacus’ landmark moments. In the 1970s, British Rail adopted the next generation of hydraulically operated base-hinged column for all its station carparks, platforms and sidings. Look for them when you next get the train - they’re still going strong!
  • In 1963, Abacus secured the prestigious lighting contract for the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, manufacturing and installing 250 steel lighting columns, 330 lanterns and 11 miles of underground cabling.
  • In 1965, Abacus switched on the UK’s first photosensitive, dusk-to-dawn lighting - a revolutionary energy-saving technology.
  • In the early 1970s, Abacus tapped into a lucrative market selling our patented ABC modular constructions as specialised farm buildings for cattle. The products were best sellers both at home and overseas until new government grants in the 1980s put an end to that line of business.
  • In 1972, we launched the first illuminated anti-vandal bollard - now a design icon that has been much copied, but never bettered.
  • In 1977 came one of the key turning points in Abacus history - the birth of our lighting design department. It started as just one man and a drawing board - today it’s a large team and all the very latest computer-aided design technology.
  • In 1979, we worked with the University of Nottingham to create the first lighting software of its kind - at a then-considerable sum of £3,000.
  • Our heavy investment in R&D during the 80s and 90s turned us from a lamppost manufacturer into a full-service lighting solutions company.
  • During the upsurge in the mobile phone industry in the 90s, Abacus installed many of the steel telecoms masts for the likes of O2, Orange and others. Around the same time, we were also responsible for pioneering the first UK trolley-shelters for supermarket carparks.
  • And more recently Abacus invented and developed the world’s first telescopic mast - the ideal solution to restrictive planning laws in built up areas like those around the Lord’s cricket ground in London. No-one else in the world manufactures them.