Shoes need polish. The arrival of Spic & Span.


Shoes need polish and in 1932 Spic & Span Shoe Polish Ltd., was established in Glover Street Stafford.

During visits to Germany in the early 1930’s The Directors of Lotus Ltd met the owner of one of the largest polish manufacturers in Germany. Yankee Polish Company G.m.B.H. Of Hamburg. The owner was a Mr Adolph Axelrath, an American and he persuaded Lotus Ltd that shoe polish manufactured in their own brand tins and distributed to Lotus and Delta shops as well as other retail outlets would be a good business proposition.

On the 3rd June 1932 Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Ltd was Incorporated under The Companies Act 1929.

The factory and registered office of the Company was No.1 Glover Street, Stafford. The premises stood at the bottom of Glover Street and consisted of a dilapidated brick building about 60 foot long and due to subsidence the sloping roof sagged badly. At one end, a pair of green double doors was the only entrance. Affixed to one of the doors was a plaque, which read:

“Registered Office Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Ltd.,

1 Glover Street, Stafford. Telephone number 439”.

This building was rented from Lotus Ltd., and Mr Axelrath transferred polish manufacturing equipment from his Hamburg factory to Stafford and installed his nephew Charles Axelrad as Manager. Production of polish commenced in June 1932.

The first company meeting was held in London on the 24th June and those present were:

Mr G Bostock Mr B Ransome Mr F Bostock
Mr J Bostock Mr N Bostock Mr G Niclas

Mr Frederick Bostock was appointed Chairman and Mr Philip Lingwood was appointed Secretary.

Application of Shares for £1,000 fully paid shares

Lotus Ltd. 245 shares Shoe manufacturing company
Geoffrey Bostock 1 share Chartered Accountant
Benjamin L Ransome 1 share Clerk working for G Bostock
Frederick M Bostock 1 share Shoe manufacturer
James F Bostock 1 share Shoe manufacturer
Neville F Bostock 1 share Shoe manufacturer
Henrich Jolles 250 shares Shoe dealer
GG Niclas 250 shares Merchant
A Axelrath 250 shares Owner & Director of Yankee Shoe Polish Company

No photographs of the site are extant from 1932, however the photograph below shows the Glover Street site in 1970.

Spic & Span occupied the building above.

Although the long sloping roof looks dilapidated it is not much different from the state it was in during the 1930's.

Mr JJE Forman and Mr CV Lawton both quote the conditon of the roof as being dilapidated.


The next important step was the registration of a trade name and from July 1932 there was much correspondence between the Company Director and the trade mark agents many names were considered such as:

‘Pixie’, ‘Dixie’, ‘Lustre’ ‘Glitty’ ‘Appolo’, ‘Wizard’ etc.,

For one reason or another the trade mark agents found the name too restrictive or already registered.

Over 50 trademarks were considered and progress was further delayed by numerous attempts to use Spic & Span as part of the trademark but in the end the Company was advised to seek adoption of an original design of some suitable nature as its trademark.

This is the 2nd page of a carbon copy of a letter from Hazeltine, Lake & Company, dated 14th July 1932.

On 21st July 1932 the trade mark agents, Hazeltine, Lake & Company Ltd, filed an application for the registration of the word 'Dove' in Class 50 in respect of boot and shoe polishes.

In the meantime the artwork for the design of a dove as a trademark on the lids of the polish tins was proceding. It was requested that the art work also contain the words "For softness and shine."

The illustrated tin below shows the final design of the artwork with the 'Dove' logo at its centre.

The company was now very anxious to have all the legal requirements finalised. The following series of letters illustrating how matters proceeded.

The letter below must have caused considerable constertation amongst the Directors of Spic & Span Shoe Polishes and the 11th August 1932 must have seemed quite a set-back.

Hazeltine Lake were doing everything they could to expediate the granting of the Trade Mark 'Dove' and to avoid a "hearing" to have the objection removed.

It was therefore a considerable joy to the Directors of Spic & Span that Hazeltine Lake were able to report that they had obrained a withdrawal of the objection.

On the 7th September 1932 Hazeltine, Lake & Company advised Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Ltd. that the Trade Mark 'Dove' had now been included in the Trade Marks Journal.

This letter together with the copy of the entry in the Trade Marks Journal (number 2841, 7th September 1932) are shown below.