Our History


Ramjet prototype developed

Living in a caravan park in post-war London, Dr Paul Hilton developed a sub-sonic ramjet intended for powering early helicopters and early models were tested on the back of a Landrover along the North Circular. The prototype was eventually tested at Cranfield Institute of Technology. Their verdict: although inefficient as an aircraft engine it would make an excellent undergraduate teaching unit. The foundations of the business today were laid.


The Ramjet teaching unit and Imperial College

PA Hilton Ltd was founded in 1959 for the design, development and manufacture of engineering laboratory teaching equipment. The iconic Ramjet Teaching Unit was developed out of a Nissen Hut on Southampton Airport and supplied to the prestigious Imperial College, London.


New laboratories and a worldwide presence

In 1968 PA Hilton moved into premises with laboratories in Horsebridge Mill in Romsey, Hampshire. It was soon designing, manufacturing and exporting teaching equipment worldwide for use by undergraduate engineering students who, having learned the theory in the lecture hall, expanded their knowledge into reality in the laboratory.


Paul Hilton’s role in engineering education is formally recognised

In 1993, in recognition of a life’s work in and the importance of his services to education in engineering, Paul Hilton received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, in its new incarnation as Brighton University


Another aspect of this extraordinary man

In 2002 Paul Hilton passed away and it was revealed for the first time that during WWII he had been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Paul was the pilot of a Halifax Bomber which, on its sixth mission was hit by fighters. The aircraft lost three engines and Paul ordered the crew to bail out, but one member had lost his parachute to the enemy action. Paul handed his parachute over and insisted he was left to crash land the plane over enemy territory.



Development of the business with acquisition of Hi-Tech Education

The company acquired the product range of a Salisbury based company Hi-Tech Education in December 2004, further broadening the product range.


Global leader in engineering education

PA Hilton today is responsible for cutting-edge research, development and manufacture of a portfolio of products which are at the forefront of engineering education. A team of more than 20 delivers this portfolio to universities and colleges in 160 countries across the globe through a network of local agents and representatives. Many of the lecturers teaching the trainee engineers of today learnt their craft using PA Hilton products and it is this longevity, versatility and value through quality which ensures the PA Hilton educational range maintains its position as leader in its field.