In 1910 William Vinten began manufacturing Kinemacolor projectors and the following year the company was formally incorporated. Based at 89-91 Wardour Street, in the heart of London's film district, the company traded as W. Vinten Cinematograph Engineers.
At the outbreak of the first world war the company workshops were taken over by the government. Vinten and his skilled team of engineers were invited by Sopwith at Kingston-on-Thames, west of London, to work alongside them in their aeroplane factory.
In 1915, the association with Sopwith led to a request from the newly-formed Royal Flying Corps for William Vinten to design and build a special cine camera for use in aircraft. Vinten developed the Model B - the first camera that could be operated while hung over the side of an aircraft. This was the start of Vinten's long and close association with the military as well as the film industry.
From 1928 Vinten expanded and moved to Cricklewood, in north London. The growth in the business mainly came from the revitalised film industry, which saw the business create specialised equipment for companies such as Kodak.
Around 1936 Vinten supplied a variety of equipment for the world's first "high definition" public television transmission tests from Alexandra Palace in north London. The Second World War created an increased requirement for reconnaissance cameras. Vinten's military contracts secured a world market presence for reconnaissance work. In the late 1940s the broadcast market began to flourish and Vinten developed the first telerecording camera, giving broadcasters a means of capturing and archiving live television.
In 1964 W Vinten Ltd relocated from Cricklewood to Bury St. Edmunds, to a new and large industrial site.
In 1988 Vinten split into two separate entities. W Vinten Ltd (now Thales Optronics Ltd) focused solely on reconnaissance equipment and moved into new premises. Vinten Broadcast Ltd remained on the same site, concentrating on camera supports for broadcast.
From 1989 to 1995 the Vinten Group began a series of acquisitions, this culminated in the Vinten Group plc changing its name and becoming the founding company of The Vitec Group plc.