September 12th will mark the beginning of Harkness Screens’ 90th birthday celebrations. For our 90 years, Harkness Screens has been at the forefront of cinema screen technology, currently employing over 150 people in six different countries.
Founded by master draper Andrew Harkness in 1929, Harkness Screens soon became a leading force in the world of cinema. Just two short years after the company’s conception, the founder would sadly pass away, leaving the company to his only son, Tom.
It was under the guidance of Tom Harkness that the company would continue to develop a reputation as the dominant name in cinema screen production. In the early 1940s, Tom Harkness pioneered the use of PVC as a means to replace the heavy woven fabrics that had initially made Harkness a name in cinematic circles.
In 1952 Harkness was bought by the Rank Organisation and incorporated into Rank Audio Visual in 1960. Joining massive names in cinema such as Pathe and Odeon, Harkness found themselves located in the famous Gate Studios; and thus, in the epicenter of British movie making. Within a few years, Harkness had new neighbours, a start-up called Rank Xerox.
More key developments in cinema screen technology would come for Harkness. Creating a new cinema experiences with the placement of speakers behind the screens and kept up with the growth of cinema screens by developing the Perlux screen that provided a brighter and more vivid presentation.
The Perlux was Harkness’ first ever coated gain screen and propelled Harkness to become the world’s leading screen maker. By the mid-1990s Harkness had already begun developing the technology for 3D cinema screens. Predicting that there would be a demand for this technology during the multiplex boom, screen coating technology formed a major part of Harkness’ development of the Spectral polarised silver screen.
The Spectral screen helped to maintain Harkness’ status as the world’s leading suppliers of cinema screens. Harkness began to expand in late 1999, completing the purchase of a European competitor based in France. Following the expansion into Europe, Harkness then proceeded to open manufacturing facilities in the USA, India and China.
Harkness today continues to be a leader in screen technology, having had thousands of their large screens installed in over 130 countries. Always developing innovations in cinema technology, Harkness is currently developing screen surfaces for the future of laser projection systems.
“To be the CEO of Harkness during our 90th birthday celebrations is an incredibly proud moment for me personally.” Mark Ashcroft, Harkness Screens CEO, said, “When Andrew Harkness set up this company, I don’t think that even he could have imagined what we have gone on to achieve.
“Every time that there has been a key development in cinema screen technology, Harkness has been at the forefront of it, or at the very least, extremely close behind. Whilst we do intend to enjoy our 90th anniversary, we will not be slowing down.
“We are continuing to develop new technology that we believe will continue to revolutionise the cinematic experience. I really enjoy getting to travel the world and see what people think of our screens and it is extremely humbling to see the likes of The Rock and Kevin Hart present their latest projects on our screens at events like CinemaCon,” said Ashcroft.
“It’s been a tremendous amount of fun to go back through the history books and learn more about our founder and to find out more about the journey that has led us to be the leading cinema screen producers in the world.” Chief Technology Officer, David Harrison said.
“I’d always wondered what the faces of our founding fathers looked like and I’m delighted to say now that I have. Andrew and Tom Harkness can now be described as pioneers of cinema screen technology, but I scarcely think that even they couldn’t have imagined what we have gone on to achieve.
“We go to every major event in the cinema calendar and none of that is luck.” Harrison said, “For the past 90 years we have developed a reputation amongst the cinema industry and our screens are widely regarded as the best in the industry and we hope to be successful for at least another 90 years.”
Celebrating 90 years of innovation Harkness will be celebrating not only their own achievements, but also celebrating the last 90 years of cinema that has been projected onto their screens. Harkness aim to have a continuous input at the forefront of screen and presentation technology.
The 90th birthday celebrations will see several small changes to the Harkness brand. A new technicolour logo will be used on all branding and will represent the startling colours that Harkness screens have brought to cinema goers for the best part of a century.
There will also be an increased commitment to engaging with the movie goers. This will be done through the production of online content that will tell the Harkness story in more detail and tell the story of their hardworking and committed members of staff.
Company Name: Harkness Screens
Contact Person: Unit A, Norton Road
Email: Send Email
Country: United Kingdom