In 1943 Shorts was nationalised and later denationalised, and in 1948 moved from its main base at Rochester, Kent to Belfast. In the 1960s, Shorts mainly produced turboprop airliners, major components for aerospace primary manufacturers, and missiles for the British Armed Forces.
In 1989 Shorts was bought by Bombardier, and is today the largest manufacturing concern in Northern Ireland. Prior to that merger, the authorised capital share by the owner was: HM Government, 69.5% (majority share); Rolls-Royce Ltd, 15.25%; Harland & Wolff Ltd, 15.25%.
The company's products include aircraft components, engine nacelles and aircraft flight control systems for its parent company Bombardier Aerospace, and for Boeing, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
The Short Brothers business started in 1897 when Eustace Short (1875 – 1932) bought a second-hand coal gas filled balloon, and, with his brother Oswald, started a company to develop and manufacture balloons. In 1900 the two brothers visited the 1900 Paris Exposition ('World's Fair'), where they saw the balloons of Édouard Surcouf (of Société Astra), who had developed a method of constructing truly spherical balloons.
In 1902, the brothers started offering balloons for sale. They manufactured the balloons at Hove, Sussex, in premises above the acoustic laboratory run by a third brother, Horace (2 July 1872 – 6 April 1917). In 1903, when Horace left to work on steam turbine development with Charles Parsons, Eustace and Oswald moved their workshop to rented accommodation in London, then again to railway arches in Battersea, conveniently situated next to Battersea gas-works.