Pressure Jet Markers Ltd (PJM) is the oldest line marker manufacturer in the country and has produced machines that have graced hundreds of major sports events over the last 60 years. Its history is a fascinating story of machines and innovations that were far ahead of their time.
Pressure Jet Markers was formed off the back of Peacock & Holmes Ltd who started making line-marking machines in 1951. The first was called the Holmes Jet Marker.
What made this machine different to its competitors was the deliberate omission of a transfer wheel. Instead it used a high-pressure jet to spray paint directly onto the grass – the first line marker ever to do so. This was done by a rotary pump driven by the rear wheels, which drew the liquid from the five-gallon tank, all of which was controlled by a hand lever.
In 1952 a third director and engineer called Hugo Varley joined the company, bringing with him much-needed investment and expertise. The three men decided to rename the company after its promising new product, and so Pressure Jet Markers Ltd was born.
In order to propel the company forward they moved to larger premises in Stamford Brook, Hammersmith, and worked on increasing the product range and raising the profile of Pressure Jet Markers Ltd. During this time the range expanded to include new line markers (both hand and tractor drawn), power pumps, hedge cutters, athletic hurdles and even starting blocks. They also started exhibiting at Hurlingham (the forerunner to IOG SALTEX) and their markers were receiving rave reviews – after seeing the machine at the 1953 show, the horticultural correspondent at the Times described it as ‘The most ingenious machine at the show’.
Things were going well for Pressure Jet Markers and in the late 50s they released the first power driven line marker. It was highly mobile, powerful and capable of carrying 30 gallons (135 litres) of line marking material. It was a revelation at the time, and though the price of £150 meant it was out of the reach of most clubs, councils and large organisations showed great interest in this labour-saving machine.
Throughout the 60s and 70s PJM expanded further, moving again to larger premises and turning their attention to a range of more budget friendly transfer wheel machines. It was during this period that one of the world’s finest transfer wheel line marking machines was born – The Dimple. The machine was a revelation, using a unique dimpled transfer wheel that was far superior at moving and distributing the paint from tank to pitch. It was made from a solid piece of cast iron and the extra weight aided the definition of the line it produced.
The Dimple machine’s quality was soon recognised and within a very short time it was being used at some of the country’s finest venues including Wembley, Wimbledon, and The Queen’s Club. It became the byword for marking quality and is still used at many Premier League clubs and other elite venues today.
In the 1980s a new motorised dry line marker was produced – the MDL1. It was an incredibly durable machine which could lay a line in the worst conditions, and had been designed to a very high specification. However with quality comes a price, and at £840.00 (the equivalent to around £2,500 in today’s money) the machine never really took off.
As the years went by, the Pressure Jet Markers and motor powered machines that had inspired the company were eventually retired. This was in part due to the ever-rising cost of the machines, but mainly due to the inconsistency of the paint available at the time, which meant the machines were never able to fulfil their potential. It can only be speculated how successful the machines would have been had they only had access to the paint of today.
So this left Pressure Jet Markers to focus on, and continually hone, its main products which were the class leading transfer wheel machines – The Linesman, The Prince and The Dimple.
In 2016, after 64 years of business the current directors, who had been there for much of the company’s life, were looking to retire. If no buyer could be found PJM would cease trading and the great company would be consigned to the history books. There aren’t many people in the sports equipment market who haven’t dealt with PJM, and over his 40 years in the industry our MD Mark Harrod was no exception.
At heart, PJM was still a small engineering company and with much of the industry’s line marking machines now made abroad there was little interest in them. However with our large manufacturing facility and emphasis on British engineering, Mark knew that we could find PJM a new home at MH Goals.
‘It would have been easy to absorb the company into MH Goals and simply lose the company name altogether, but with PJM’s distinguished heritage it just didn’t make sense.’
Their great product range is highly respected in the industry, so when we acquired the company we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. However, things needed to be brought up to date and so we introduced laser cut parts, zinc plating and improved powder coating to the machines, so you still get Pressure Jet Markers’ trusted design, with today’s quality manufacturing for ease of use and enhanced durability.
With the backing of MH Goals the future is bright for PJM and their great machines will be marking pitches for years to come.