History of Colour in Machines

Engineers came together to seriously discuss the use of colours on machines at a meeting at the Royal Society of Arts in 1948, when H. Grimshaw gave a talk on Colour and Lighting on Machinery, 26th November 1948. Much later Robert F. Wilson, who was a founder of the British Colour Council, wrote a classic work called Colour in Industry Today in which he illustrate the use of colour on machines. Along with professor W. Wright he was one of the principal influences on the use of colour in industry. Since these father figures great advances have been made in the use of colour in industry. Abroad one of the greatest exponents was the Japanese philosopher of colour Akiko Takehara. In Italy the colour maestro is Ettore Sottsass.

The variety of colour in this plant helps to relieve

Photographer: Maciej Latocha
Contact: "Peie" at



BRITISH COLOUR COUNCIL Machinery Colours Safety Colour Code Pipe Identification Colours. (B.C.C. is now defunct)

BRITISH STANDARD 2929 Safety Colours for use in Industry. (1957)

BRITISH STANDARD 1710 Specification for Identification of Pipelines. (1960/1966)

BRAINERD, A.A. & DENNING, M. Trans. Am. Illum. Engineering Soc. 1941 1397-1413; Light & Lighting 1942 53 (3) 37.

Co.I.D. & B.C.C. Conference on Colour in Industry at the R.I.B.A. Nov. 1948.

CZELNY, K.T.J. (1971) Colour in the Motor Industry. The Colour Group (Great Britain) 2nd April 1971.

DELATOUR, P. Ingenieurs et Techniciens; Chim., Peint., 1952 15(2) 91, 93-4

GLOAG, H.L. (1961) Colouring in Factories. Building Research Station, London: H.M.S.O. (Factory Building Studies no.8)

GRIMSHAW, H. Colour & Lighting on Machinery R.I.B.A. Nov. 1948.

PECK, A.P. Printing Machinery for better seeing. Sci. Am. 1941 165 (8) 318-21.

TAKEHARA, A. (1984) The “Philosopher of Color”, Clino Castelli in Car Styling. Autumn 1984. Tokyo: Hokuto Tsusho. This is an article in Japanese, with captions to the colour illustrations in English. It explains the colour principles used by Clino Castelli in styling cars. It also shows his “matrix” system and his fibre matching device.

WILSON, R.F. (1960) Colour in Industry Today. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Copyright © 2005 Micro Academy.

Related Subjects
Areas of Knowledge
Help is available at any time. Simply click on 'Help' in the options listed above.