History of ADDIS
Part of the home since 1780…
Here at Addis we believe that housework should be less of a chore and more ‘matter-of-fact’ – a simple task with no effort. We want to make life easier which leaves time for the things that really matter. That’s why we do what we do!
As an international, independently owned company, we have a proud 230 year old history of design, manufacture and supply of housewares. The ADDIS brand still stands today, as it has for previous generations, for value, quality and innovation.
Our UK-based design and manufacturing is complemented by state-of-the-art facilities in Europe and the Far East meaning we are well placed to continue brand development, deliver outstanding service and ensure customer satisfaction.
Our time begins in 1780 when William Addis founded the company.
William Addis was the inventor of the toothbrush and he developed the first prototype from bone and horsehair for his personal use.
Realising the commercial potential of this everyday item production soon began in premises at Whitechapel, east London.
In 1796 production moved to larger premises and staff increased to meet demand with rent costing £34 per year. As a result in 1840 ADDIS moves to larger premises in Radnor Street, Hoxton.
By the 1860s ADDIS became one of the first manufacturers in the UK to use an automated manufacturing system and in 1869 the first ADDIS toothbrush handle to be made by machine was produced.
Addis began exporting products abroad to the US in the 1880’s By 1890 William Addis (3) dies leaving his business to his three sons. 1893 Robert Addis (1) commences production at the London Brush Works and in 1913 ADDIS started exporting brushes all over the world, but mainly to the British Empire, and employed 84 people.
The First World War had began and ADDIS supplied troops with toothbrushes creating a national ‘habit’ of teeth cleaning. Following the First World War, in 1919 Addis purchased the production premises in Hertford and the factory was ready to start production in early 1920 and by this time Addis was supplying Boots with a straight handle & good value toothbrush to retail at 1s (5p).
Addis fits out Queen Mary's famous dolls-house with miniature brushes which can still be seen at Windsor Castle. By 1926 ADDIS was producing 1.8M toothbrushes per year and in 1927 the first plastic handle toothbrushes (celluloid) was produced and brushes filled with bristle mechanically.
The Second World War began with some 1,000,000 brushes supplied to the armed forces. By this time Addis employed 650 people and the first injection moulding machines purchased. As a result in 1940 the first nylon toothbrush was launched (under the Wisdom brand) and in 1947 the last bone handled toothbrushes were produced.
It was at this stage that the introduction of plastic into manufacturing led to the launch of ADDIS kitchen plastics and brushware ranges in 1955 and in 1959 the company's first TV advertising campaign commences.
Upper Bank Works (on the outskirts of Swansea) was purchased and production began in September 1965 and in 1969 saw the first sales of WISDOM to grocery multiples. In 1980 ADDIS celebrated its bicentennial under the chairmanship of Robert Addis – the 10th generation son after founder William Addis (1).
Addis Housewares is founded as an autonomous sister company within the Addis Group Ltd. In 1996, the company, privately owned for 216 years over 10 generations, sold the company to its management in a management buy out (MBO). Alongside this the Wisdom brand was sold.
In 1999 EMSA GmbH acquired Addis Housewares Ltd and 2006 saw the relocation of offices assembly and warehouse/distribution to Bridgend