Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,052 pages of information and 231,597 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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January 1947.
November 1952.
June 1953.
October 1953.
December 1953.
August 1962.

of Addis Brush Works, Hertford, Hertfordshire. Telephone: Hertford 71. Cables: "Addis, Hertford" - as Addis Estb. 1780. (1929)

Ditto Address and Cables. Telephone: Hertford 2471 - as Addis Ltd of Hertford. (1947)

1780 William Addis founded the company. He was the inventor of the toothbrush.

1880 William Addis retired from the business. His son William Addis II took over.

1914 The company was growing and exported around the world (mainly into the British Empire).

1919 Purchase of production premises in Hertford.

1920 The factory was ready to start production early in the year.

1923 Addis fitted out Queen Mary's famous dolls-house with miniature brushes which can still be seen at Windsor Castle.

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Tooth and Dental Brushes. Bone and Celluloid Tooth Brushes, Nail Brushes, Dental Plate Brushes, Corn Rasps, and Paper Knives, etc. (Brushware Section - Stand No. PO.10) [1]

1940 The first nylon toothbrushes with plastic handles and plastic bristles were launched (Wisdom).

WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito

1947 British Industries Fair Advert: 'Famous for fine brushes for 167 years'. 'Wisdom' the new toothbrush. Also other Addis toothbrushes; denture brushes; nailbrushes. (Brushware Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1270) [2]

1959 The company's first TV advertising campaign commenced.

1964 Upper Bank Works (on the outskirts of Swansea) was purchased - production began in September 1965.

1994 Addis Housewares was founded as an autonomous sister company within the Addis Group.

1996 The Company, privately owned for 216 years over 10 generations, was sold to its management in a management buy out.

1997 Addis took over Jani-Jack Limited and formed the Addis Commercial Division, servicing the needs of institutional catering and related markets.

1999 Merger with EMSA Werke, Addis Group Ltd became a subsidiary of EMSA Holding AG.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Addis Website
  • Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6