Our Story

Robinson Seismic (originally Penguin Engineering Ltd) was founded in 1995 by the late Dr Bill Robinson.

For Bill it was a chance to capitalise on his expertise and technical developments in the areas of damping and seismic isolation.

Previous to this, he’d developed many experimental techniques in solid state physics, and also invented a number of devices to reduce damage to structures during an earthquake.

But it was in the development of seismic isolation devices where he really made his mark.

In the late 1970’s, after being first introduced to the idea of seismic isolation, Bill was immediately hooked.

After more research he then found out most isolators incorporated steel into their design to absorb earthquake energy.

But Bill was sceptical as to whether steel was the best tool for the job….

Naturally he grabbed a copy of the periodic table, locked himself in a room and searched for a superior metal matching all the criteria needed.

He discovered Lead was the perfect match, and went on to invent the now famous “Lead Rubber Bearing.”

Fast forward to now, and this incredible piece of kiwi ingenuity is used in over 8,000 buildings all around the world.


Finishing What a True Kiwi Pioneer Started…

Dr Bill Robinson
02 October 1938 – 17 August 2011


Although he is no longer with us, the legacy of Dr Bill Robinson will live on.

A true pioneer of earthquake protection and technology, he was always incredibly passionate about his work and inventions.

But most of all, the staff here at Robinson Seismic will always remember Bill as a warm, humorous and loyal person – whose presence filled the office.

Right up until the day of his passing, he was committed to increasing the use of seismic isolation devices in earthquake prone areas – not only in NZ – but around the world too.

It’s our intention to honour Bill’s memory by continuing his legacy of earthquake protection devices to make the world a safer place.

Check out Bill’s famous “Lead Rubber Bearing” and
more of our seismic isolation devices in our products section.