Sunday, September 30, 2012

Watford Manufacturing Company Limited

 The Watford Manufacturing Company began in 1898 as Dr. Tibbles Vi-Cocoa Ltd. In 1899 the company purchased 30 acres of land in Watford and built the Victoria Works factory to make chocolate and cocoa. Dr. Tibbles Cocoa was marketed as a high-energy sports drink. Advertisements claimed of the cocoa: "it restores bodily vigour, raises drooping spirits and promotes happiness." The product was not without controversy, with claims that the cocoa "contained a fair amount of cocaine."

In 1903 a fire destroyed the factory, which was subsequently rebuilt with the new name of the Watford Manufacturing Co. The company developed other businesses on the site including the production of jellies, egg powder, baking powder and pudding powder. Pudding was a very important meal in the Victorian era. The lower classes did not eat pudding very often and it was seen as a frivolous luxury that few could afford. Only milk and sugar were needed to add to the pudding powder to make a very cheap and quick dessert.

Victoria Works factory burning down February 7, 1903

The Watford Manufacturing Company produced munitions during the First World War. Following the War, the company expected an increase in business and invested in the construction of a huge, new factory. However the business did not materialize. The new factory became a white elephant, was left unfinished and bankrupted the company in 1922.

The factory buildings remained empty until 1929 when they were taken over by the British Moulded Hose Company. British Moulded Hose relinquished the factory in 1977 and the building was demolished.

by Mark Matlach

Sales, Pollard, Lloyd & Co.

Sales, Pollard, Lloyd & Co. was a snuff and tobacco manufacturing company, originally established under the name Sales, Pollard & Co. at 72 Aldersgate Street, London in 1750. The business was one of the oldest tobacco companies in England and was renowned for producing fine rapee and scotch snuffs. Scotch snuff was fine-milled snuff and a more exclusive product, whilst rapee snuff was coarser and moister but cheaper and more popular.

In 1871 the company moved to new premises in Farringdon Road. It seems that at this time a new partner was taken on as the company name became Sales, Pollard, Lloyd & Co.

Cigar making in England commenced around 1830 and Sales, Pollard, Lloyd & Co. developed a reputation for producing fine quality cigars made from Havanna, Manilla and Sumatra tobacco. The company also made cut and roll tobacco of various sorts, including the "Golden Fleece" and "Golden Virginia Leaf" brands. In 1893 Sales, Pollard, Lloyd & Co. was acquired by a larger tobacco company called W.D. & H.O. Wills.

The Sales, Pollard, Lloyd overprint may also be found on the 1881 1d Lilac stamp.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sherwoods Paints Limited

Sherwoods Paints Ltd. was a paint manufacturing company established in 1777 in Barking, Essex, under the name Gross, Sherwood & Heald. The company produced a range of paints, varnishes, cellulose, distempers and mineral dyes. The paint factory was located alongside the River Thames and had a small quay from which a mobile crane could load and unload goods and materials onto low "spiritsail" barges.

Every kind of paint related product imaginable was stored on the shelves of the storehouse on the top floor of the Sherwoods factory. The tins and jars contained paints and varnish, the barrels probably held gums and resins for the production of paint.

At some point after the Second World War, the company name was changed to Sherwoods Paints Limited. In the 1950s Sherwoods was the first paint company to incorporate silicone as a water repellent into its paints.

Sherwoods Paints Ltd. traded until at least 1955.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barlow & Jones Ltd.

 Barlow & Jones was a textiles manufacturing company established by James Barlow in Bolton in c. 1850.

In 1874 the business became a limited company and was noted for its production of quilts, toilet covers, and towels.

By the end of the 19th century, the company had three cotton mills in Bolton and a warehouse in Manchester.

In 1964 Barlow & Jones Ltd. was taken over by English Sewing Co. Ltd. which is now part of Coats plc.

Barlow & Jones Ltd. promotional textile brochure, 1906

by Mark Matlach

Spratt's Patent Limited

Spratt's Patent Limited was the world's first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. The company was begun by James Spratt, an American entrepreneur, who had originally come from the United States to England in order to sell lightning conductors. Spratt observed  how London market porters would make chewy gristle meals for their dogs and decided that there was commercial potential for making and canning his own version of dog food.

Spratt's company was established in Holborn, London in 1861 and Spratt's “Meat Fibrine Dog Cake” was patented the same year. It was made from a concoction of blended wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and meat. Spratt was to remain secretive about the meat source for his product for the rest of his life. The “dog cakes” were initially sold to English country gentlemen for their sporting dogs.

In the 1870s the company expanded, producing other items for dogs such as portable kennels, collars, chains, and clothing. Foods were also manufactured for poultry, game and other livestock. Spratt's had a factory in Aintree for biscuit production, a factory in Wisbech for canning and a dog food factory in Poplar, London. In the 1900s Spratt's dog biscuits were sold throughout Europe and the United States. Spratt's became one of the most heavily marketed brands in the early 20th century, with product recognition developed through logo display, lifestyle advertising, and support through devices such as cigarette cards.

In 1961 Spratt's Patent Limited was acquired by Spillers for £3.94 million. The acquisition enabled Spillers to increase its range of dog foods and gain a foothold in the canned section of the pet foods market.

Advertisement from 1955

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, September 9, 2012

C & A Modes Limited

C & A is an international chain of fashion retail clothing stores with its European head offices in Vilvoorde, Belgium and Dusseldorf, Germany. C & A currently operates nearly 450 stores throughout mainland Europe as well as stores in China, Mexico and Brazil; however, the company has always been a secretive, privately-owned corporation.

The business was founded by brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmejer who opened their first store in the small Dutch town of Sneek in 1841. The store pioneered sales of affordable ready-to-wear clothing. Many of Clemens and August Brenninkmejer's descendants were active in the company throughout its history. Indeed, for a time, male members of the family, upon reaching the age of fourteen, were given the choice of entering the family business or joining the Catholic priesthood.

From 1922, C & A Modes retail clothing stores were a major presence on the high streets throughout the UK. ”modes” means “fashion” in Dutch and this word was later dropped from the name in the UK stores.

In 2000 C & A announced its intention to withdraw from the British market. In 2001 the last of a total of 113 stores was shut down.

The Brenninkmejer family continues to own the C & A group and its success has led them to become the wealthiest family in the Netherlands.

I am unaware of the C & A Modes overprint on any stamps other than the 2d Wilding shown in the scan.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Napier Brown

Napier Brown's roots in the sugar trade date back to the start of the 20th century; the present Napier Brown was incorporated in 1924.

In the 1920's and 1930's Napier Brown was one of many city commodity houses specialising in sugars, dried fruits, pulses and canned goods. The company thrived in these complex and competitive markets, broadening their customer base and building a reputation as an independently minded and flexible trader.

Napier Brown helped the development of golden granulated cane sugar in the 1970s. This was made available to consumers as a more natural, healthy alternative to white refined sugar.

Organic cane sugars were introduced in the 1990's to meet a growing demand from food manufacturers. Organic granulated, caster and demerara cane sugars were supplied to both retailers and food manufacturers using product sourced from audited suppliers in South America.

Fairtrade sugars were launched in 2001, the first range using Malawi-sourced sugar in innovative packaging designs. Fairtrade premiums have gone back to Malawi, Zambia and Paraguay to fund local projects in villages, schools and health centres.

Napier Brown become a public company by listing on AIM in 2003 and was acquired by The Real Good Food Company plc in 2005.

by Paul Green

Kemball, Bishop and Co.

The company was registered on 28 October 1901, to acquire the business of chemical manufacturers of the firm of the same name. They were based at Crown Chemical Works, Three Mill Lane, Bromley-by-Bow, London.

During 1944, Kemball, Bishop and Co. with the Therapeutic Research Corporation of Great Britain and ICI worked using mould fermentation on the development and production of penicillin.

During 1958 the company was acquired as a subsidiary company of the American Pfizer Ltd., it operated under its own name until 1968 when it was fully amalgamated into Pfizer Ltd Laboratories. During 1968, the Bromley-by-Bow factory was closed and all production moved to the Sandwich site with a new plant opened at Ringaskiddy Ireland.

by Paul Green

The Congregational Insurance Company Ltd.

The company was founded in 1891 by the Reverend Samuel Antliff, Pastor of Ramsden Street Congregational Church in Huddersfield, with capital of £50,000. In the company's first year, 445 policies were issued insuring property for £906,000.

In 1895 the company moved to Bradford and made the first grant of £50 to a charity, the Congregational Church Aid and Home Missionary Society.

The Independent Insurance Company Limited was formed to enable Trustees and Officers of Congregational Churches to insure against liability in view of the Workmen's Compensation Act which came in to force on 1st July 1907. Later the same year it became The Congregational Insurance Company Ltd. The war halted business progress with nearly half the male staff joining the forces and the added burden of operating War Damage Insurance on behalf of the Government.

In 1956 the Congregational Insurance Charitable Trust is formed and disburses grants to churches, schools, colleges and community projects from payments made to it from the Insurance Company profits.

During 1972 the company becomes the Congregational & General Insurance Company Ltd.
Congregational & General Insurance Company Limited became Congregational & General Insurance plc. during 1981.

During Aug 2007 the 100th AGM was held, which put Congregational & General in the top 0.1% of UK companies still trading after a century.

by Paul Green