Colin Stanwell-Smith speaking at the Float Conference 2016

Colin Stanwell-Smith speaking at the Float Conference 2016

Colin's Story

The name Floataway was coined and registered by Colin Stanwell-Smith in 1999 while the product was being developed. Colin used all his experience to design and engineer the Floataway float tank from the ground up. That experience included an Honours Mechanical Engineering degree at Bristol, England and a graduate apprenticeship at the British Aircraft Corporation where Concorde was getting ready to fly for the first time.

Then for twelve years he joined the technology division of PA Consulting and became Chairman of Senior Consultants there. PA brought together a fine collection of technologists and scientists who pioneered many of today's high-tech products. In 1983 Colin started out as an independent technology consultant with his own company Cosine Ltd and developed many products for other companies. In 1992 he won the coveted Design Effectiveness Award. The Floataway tank was not the first manufacturing project, Colin also designed a range of furniture for children, a go-faster pedallo, a radio linked security system, a small hay baling machine and pioneered the first use of fibre optics in conservation lighting while he was the lighting advisor to the National Trust in England. He also found time to lecture on product design and mechanics at Britain's foremost design university, Brunel. However all of these were part time exercises. In 1999 Colin dropped all other projects, sold his house and concentrated all his time and resources on developing his own design of float tank, first testing the materials and engineering requirements and then making by hand the first full size patterns from which the moulding tools were made. The first prototype was completed early in 2000, truly a millenium product.

At that stage all the money was gone but Colin had achieved his goal, he had invented or "discovered" the classic float tank shape which is still the same today. In that Millenium year eight were sold, enabling the fledgling operation to move from a friend's barn to a factory unit, and in the next year sales doubled allowing a further move into larger premises in Hingham, Norfolk, England.

Floataway's strength, as a small company in a global market, is in its technology roots. The product still has the same inspired shape but the technology keeps improving and new design challenges occupy Colin and his son Toby who has joined the team. Toby has a first class honours degree from Brunel University in Industrial Design. Responding to customer requests floataway has also designed float rooms, first rectangular and now the circular "floataround" for larger spaces and is active in the area of special needs floatation tanks.

In 2001 Floataway signed up its first agent in Spain, and Susi Fernandez has gone on to sell many tanks there. Now there are Floataway agents active in many more countries.

Floataway is still a small company and can give personal service. Scott Field built and installed many of the early tanks since joining Colin in 2000. He saw the development of the tank from the first one sold. Also involved from the first experimental days, Gini Stanwell-Smith is now a Managing Director and handles all sales activities.

Floataway is now a major Floatation manufacturer, possibly the largest in the world, and offering the most beautiful float tanks.