The origins of Rose, Downs and Thompsons date back to 1777 when John Todd established the foundry in Hull. Products at that time included cannons and parts for windmills which were the company's first introduction into the world of oilseed crushing. As the Port of Hull grew it also became one of the world's largest centres for the crushing of oil bearing seeds and Rose Downs and Thompson Ltd. became a major supplier to this industry. By 1820 the company had installed its first hydraulic press for expelling oil from Linseed.
In 1833 Mrs. Christiana Rose inherited ownership of the company. She employed Mr. James Downs, who was to become a partner in the company and in 1874 her grandson Mr. Campbell Thompson also became a partner and the company name became Rose, Downs and Thompson. The company was to trade under this name for over 100 years and became renowned throughout the world as a leading supplier of oil processing equipment.
The Downs family connection continued for over 140 years and Mr. Leslie Downs, the grandson of Mr. James Downs was the Managing Director when the company celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1977.
During its long and distinguished history the company has played a major role in many developments within the oilseed industry. For example, improvements in the processing of seed led to the Anglo-American Press patented in 1874. This became the prominent product until the advent of the Continuous Screw Press. Another first came in 1898, when the company designed and produced the world's first solvent extraction plant.
From the mid 20th Century the company was a part of various large corporate groups including the Power Gas Corporation and the Davy Ashmore Group. During these changes of ownership the names Rose and Downs always featured in the company name and Rosedowns became a brand name known worldwide.
In late 1988, Rosedowns became part of the Belgium based De Smet Group, which was founded in Antwerp just after the Second World War. Within the group Rosedowns concentrated on oil milling and rendering equipment and in particular mechanical screw presses.
In 2004 the ownership of the De Smet group changed and soon afterwards the group joined with the Ballestra organisation to form the Desmet Ballestra Group. This change gave the group a greater presence in the growing Bio Diesel market, as well as strengthening it in the areas of soap and oil based chemicals.
Today De Smet Rosedowns remains at the forefront of the screw press industry, supplying new Rosedowns presses and replacement parts and upgrades for all makes and types of presses.