In 1850 James White (1824-1884) founded the firm of James White, optical instrument maker in Glasgow and was involved in supplying and mending apparatus for Thomson's university laboratory and working with him on experimental constructions.In 1900 The company was incorporated as a private limited liability company, Kelvin and James White Ltd which acquired the business of James White. Lord Kelvin became a director and his nephew, James Thomson Bottomley, joined the firm.c.1904 A London branch office was opened which by c1915 had become known as Kelvin, White and Hutton Ltd.
1913 Kelvin and James White Ltd underwent a change of name becoming Kelvin Bottomley and Baird Ltd.1937 Aircraft instrument manufacturers. "K.B.B." Instruments.
1941 A collaboration was entered into with Henry Hughes and Son, resulting in the establishing of Marine Instruments.
1947 As a result of the success of this collaboration, the two companies amalgamated as Kelvin and Hughes.