Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. pioneered the introduction of the safety fuse for mining and military explosives.

William Bickford invented his “Miner’s Safety Fuse” in 1831 in Tuckingmill, Cornwall, England where he worked as a leather merchant. Mr. Bickford’s invention was not made for any material gain, but in the spirit of saving lives. The company’s founder, Joseph Toy, laid the foundations of the business that would dominate the fuse industry.

Company Timeline


Company founded by William Bickford in Simsbury, CT, producing the world's first safety fuse for mining saving hundreds of lives annually.


Primacord® detonating cord is trademarked.


Establishment of Ensign-Bickford Foundation supporting a variety of local causes.


Confined Detonating Cord is pioneered for use on the Space Shuttle.


Acquisition of AFB, the global science and technology leader in pet food palatability.


Acquisition of EnviroLogix®, a global market leader and manufacturer of fast, effective and easy-to-use analytical technology for every lab, in every field.


Acquisition of TiNi Aerospace, Inc., the foremost manufacturer of mechanisms employing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) materials used in solutions from deep sea to deep space.


Acquisition of Cawood, the UK’s leading specialist scientific group providing laboratory analysis, contract research and field services for the agriculture, food, infrastructure, and environmental sectors.