Negotiations commenced to obtain a lease on the whole of Glover Street site which was successfully concluded. The transfer of raw material etc., commenced in April 1946 and by the end of July the move back to Glover Street had been completed. With the end of hostilities many of the raw materials which were unavailable during the war now came onto the market. This provided Dr Simon with the opportunity to increase his chemical product range and one of these was paint remover which was in great demand for the removal of compositions applied to factory windows to provide an effective blackout. It was in 1947 that Lotus made a radical change to their shoe manufacturing process by introducing synthetic rubber soling materials which required a synthetic rubber adhesive to ensure a satisfactory bond was achieved to the side upper.
Dr Simon realised that the manufacture of these adhesives would require a Works Chemist to be responsible for the production and Mr Elias Peake joined the company in March 1948. A considerable amount of engineering world had to be carried out on the production equipment as well as the modification of the American Formulations in order to utilise and continental raw materials. The production of Evo-Stik 528 commenced in early 1949 and became a household name in its use for bonding Formica sheeting to wooden furniture. The year 1949 also saw the appointment of the first licensing agreement to manufacture and distribute Evode products abroad and this was negotiated with Emmanuel Walden in Finland. In later years many licensing agreements throughout the world were negotiated and these provided substantial royalties.
The continued expansion resulted in the Glover Street factory having insufficient space and the possibility of seeking a site to build a factory was being undertaken in 1950.
It was stated by Dr. Simon at a meeting of Directors on the 11th January, that negotiations had commenced with the North West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority with a view to the company acquiring a lease of the whole of the Glover Street premises. An offer of a 5 year lease had been received at a yearly rental of £700 and this would be accepted by the Company.
At the thirteenth A.G.M. held on the 21st January 1946, two proposals were passed, that Mrs. Isobel Bostock and Mrs. Diana Bostock be appointed Directors of the company, it was also agreed at this meeting to appoint Mr. John Forman as a Director of the Company Business was steadily expanding and it became urgent to return to Glover Street.
By the 27th July 1946 the move back to Glover Street had been completed. In a meeting of the directors held on the 13th September it was stated by Dr. Simon that for the past few months the Company had been unable to occupy all of the Glover Street premises. During the war buildings had been used by the Ministry of Supply to store materials used by the Universal Grinding Wheel Co. of Stafford and they had not complied with the Ministry Directive to vacate the premises by the end of June. Dr. Simon reported that there had consequently been a considerable shortage of manufacturing and storage room which had greatly hampered progress of the company such that an old stable had had to be utilised for manufacturing.
Dr. Simon had received a promise that the final 200 tons of stores, belonging to Universal, would be removed from Glover Street on the 14th September. Dr. Simon said that the position was becoming 'most serious' that we could not move into the buildings as he was worried that if there were further delays our own products, which had been stored outside, could be damaged by frost. He stated that our solicitors were now looking after our interests in this matter. (Universal Grinding Wheel commenced the removal of materials on 26th August 1946, and of the 700 tons stored in the building, 500 tons had already been moved to their own factory, the balance of 200 tons was to be taken to Kidderminster.
The list of employees, and weekly wages paid in 1946 showed that there were three office staff, eleven polish and chemical production workers, six waterproofing applicators and three salesmen. The hourly pay varied between 10d and 1/1d and those men working on waterproofing contracts were earning well above average pay due to the long hours worked. The net work force wage bill for the week was £73.2.7d. The balance sheet signed by John Forman and Dr. Simon showed several motor cars at cost less depreciation to the value of £240 Taxation was pretty stiff and amounted to £2,600 whereas the debtors were £14,800 several times the amount they were only a year or two previous. The current assets were over £21,000.
Dr. Simon then gave a resume of the company's progress to the 5th September 1946.
He stated, that the sales of polish had considerably decreased this year and Chemicals sales had sharply increased. When Government restrictions were lifted in January 1945, most buyers of polishes immediately purchased large quantities which were only being disposed of slowly. One of our wholesalers, the Danish Bacon Company, to whom we had supplied about £10,000.00 worth of polish in one year during the restriction period, let us down when the controls were removed. Dr. Simon had thought that as Danish Bacon Company had branches all over the country, they could do us a lot of good. Unfortunately their Branch Managers refused to co-operate. Our own major wholesaler had placed no orders at all for polish in 1946.
Dr. Simon now felt it was time to start manufacturing more of his own chemical products. He informed the Directors that we had recently obtained an allocation of vegetable oil for the manufacture of paints, and in his opinion there was an excellent market available which must be exploited, and as soon as production could move into the other buildings we he would be able to make paints which were currently selling at 45/- per gallon as against 15/- to 20/- before the war. "There is an enormous field for these," he said "which has only to be developed.". Dr. Simon also stated that the Company had done at least double the business with Lotus Ltd., and that we should endeavour to make Lotus Cream in jars. If, however, jars were not available he proposed going ahead with tubes. In the Directors report for the year the company achieved a credit balance.
Letter from Dr. Simon to John Forman at Lynton Cottage Hotel Lynton Devon:
31st July 1946
I am glad that you were able to leave for your holidays on Friday morning as I am afraid the nervous strain to which you would have been exposed on Friday afternoon would not have been any good for you. Within half an hour of a cloud-burst, the Paint Remover shed (alias stable), as well as the Mellitol room were completely flooded. Some water penetrated from the back into the polish shed and each time a lorry went by it sent waves of water into the polish room.
However, you need not worry as we were able to move all the powders in time and all the cartons in the polish department are nicely stacked up about one foot above floor level. I used for this those wooden stacks left behind by Lotus and I arranged with them that we should retain the stacks. In spite of this I was unable to get much sleep during Friday Night but fortunately on Saturday morning I found that most of the water had gone, and Mr. Buchanan pumped away the remainder. He has now seen for himself the seriousness of the situation and steps have already been taken concerning the provision of proper drainage.
Since yesterday we have been manufacturing Mellitol and all outstanding orders together with 6 cwts for one of Mr. McPhee's customers will have left by tomorrow.
You will be pleased to learn that Winstanley will retain the 250 gallons 'brown' paint remover. They followed our advice and will mix it fifty-fifty. I n this way we shall be able to dispose of the 'brown' quality we have in stock as it cannot be mixed with Craigie or Industrial Engineering's quality. The latter firm has just ordered another 200 gallons. This material and the 110 gallons still to be supplied will be despatched during this week-end and next week we have to commence with the further delivery of 250 gallons for Winstanley. This firm does not want anything but the 'white' material. By the way, they require a quotation for 10,000 gallons to be supplied by the end of this year.
Except for a 35-cwt order for pastes for the Ministry of Works, Leeds, there is nothing much to report. On Saturday last our local M.P. had a look round our place and I hope we shall receive some help in getting the remaining de-requisitioned.
With kindest regards
Letter received by Dr. Simon in 1946:
It may amuse you to know that I still quote you as the only Managing Director I know who, after I had phoned Stafford re the non-arrival of some drums for a demonstration, loaded his Limousine with further drums of cement additive, drove all the way down to Aldernam reservoir, and we were able to give the demonstration in the afternoon! Not only was I impressed but also all the London Transport officials who were there. It is a great pity there are not a few more men like you.
I do wish you every continued success
Letter received from the War Office:
The War Office
27th November 1946
Dear Mr. Fishburn
Further to our interview on 13th November, I discussed your materials with Lieut-Colonel Costelloe and gave him the letter from Brigadier Greenwood. The Colonel has replied direct to this letter and also agreed to a note being put into D.F.W. Technical Bulletin concerning your product.
I might say for your information that the Bulletin is circulated to all Works Services Officers in this country and abroad.
signed.....F M Perks
COPY JKT:MAT:48 (E.10)
Messrs. Evode Chemical Works have produced an Aluminium paint which has a bituminous base and which can therefore be applied to surfaces previously covered with tar or bitumen and to concrete, roofing felt, etc. This paint requires only one coat to give an adequate result although on new work, to give proper cover and waterproofness, a priming coat of ordinary bitumen should be used. Application can be by brush or spray and on a good surface it is claimed that one gallon will cover 100 - 110 yards super.
C.E. Western Command has carried out some experiments in connection with brightening up war-time camps where huts have previously been painted with bitumen. For this purpose, this material seems to recommend itself and a further note on the result of such tests will be published later. and particulars can be obtained from Messrs. Evode Chemical Works Ltd., Glover Street, Stafford. The price will, of course, vary according to conditions but it is understood to be in the order of 30s a gallon.
IN THE MATTER of Trade Mark Applications Nos. 641030 (Class 2) and 641031 (Class 3) - "DOVE"- EVODE CHEMICAL WORKS LIMITED
On 7th January 1947 Dr. Simon was granted British Citizenship.
At a meeting of the Directors held on the 28th February 1947 Dr. Simon stated that turnover for the first quarter of the new financial year ending December 1946 was £20,000 approx. This compared with about £50,000 for the previous financial year but even so, Dr. Simon, felt that the net profit was not entirely satisfactory and consideration would have to be given to increasing the selling prices. The resignation as Company Secretary of Mrs. D.I. Wood, who had joined the company in 1932 and was appointed a Director and Secretary in 1937 was accepted. During the whole period of service she had shown sterling qualities, particularly the loyalty displayed during the period when Dr. Simon was away. She would still remain a Director and was presented with a tea service by Dr. Simon. During the very difficult time during Dr. Simon's internment Mrs. Wood had taken on the responsibilities of managing the Company which also included becoming involved with the manufacture of polishes. Dr. Simon also announced that Mr. H.E. Hadley, who had recently joined the Company, would be appointed Secretary. The proposal that Dr. Simon be appointed as Chairman of the Company was unanimously agreed.
In March 1947 Mr. C.V. Lawton, Dr. Simons first assistant, returned from service with the Royal Air Force and became quickly involved in setting up a small laboratory. Dr. Simon was very anxious to exploit the market for paints and the manufacture and development of his formulations were undertaken by Mr. Lawton.
Dr. Simon had produced special paints in Germany with outstanding weather and chemical resistance properties. He felt there was a big market for them in the UK. In considering the future of the Company and planning for it's growth, Dr. Simon was aware of the many advances that had been made during the war in the fields of synthetic rubber and plastics chemistry. He realised, from discussions with personnel at Lotus Ltd., that the shoe industry was going to face problems in sticking the many new plastics which were now starting to be marketed. In particular shoe soling materials manufactured from synthetic rubber and resin compositions could not be satisfactorily used in con junction with the currently available adhesives. Dr. Simon was aware that in the U.S.A. work on synthetic rubbers had made impressive progress during the war. In order to exploit this knowledge it would be necessary to form an association with an American adhesives manufacturer.
The actual introduction of adhesives into the company arose after the Bostock's, (of Lotus Shoes), read an article about the advent of new synthetic rubber soling materials. They influenced Dr. Simon regarding the need for new adhesives. They had their own manufacturing subsidiary in Vik Supplies and they saw Vik Supplies as the means of supplying adhesives to the whole shoe industry. Unfortunately Vik Supplies were not set up to manufacture highly inflammable adhesives safely. These were the adhesives of the future and were known as contact adhesives and were seen to have considerable potential in the shoe making industry. They would enable production line techniques to be used for the first time.
In early June it was learned that an American Company - Angiers Products Inc. of Massachusetts - were seeking a British company to manufacture their adhesives under license. Following discussions between Angiers and Evode it was agreed on the 30th June 1947 that adhesives, initially for the shoe trade, would be manufactured and solely distributed to the shoe trade by Vik Supplies Ltd. The agreement was signed in September. Following the signing of the agreement information on formulations, manufacturing procedures etc. started to arrive in Stafford from Angiers. Plans for constructing a two gallon churn to produce adhesives were passed onto a local Engineering Firm and in December Mr. C.V. Lawton produced the Companies very first adhesive.
The rubber used was scrap crepe soling obtained from Lotus. The first attempt to produce a Rubber Solution was a total disaster. The strips of rubber 1" x 6" - were much too large and eventually, as the solution thickened, they became jammed between the mixing arms inside the churn and the load on the electric motor caused considerable damage which was too costly to repair. The problem was partially corrected by installing a more powerful electric motor and fitting the churn with a car starting handle which could be used to provide human assistance whenever the electric motor could not turn the mixing arms. A number of rubber solutions were produced in this manner for trials at Lotus. An application was made to register the trade mark “Evo-Stik”.
During the Directors meeting held on 9th August 1947, Mrs. Wood was granted a car allowance of £1 per week which would come into effect from 1st September 1947. At this meeting Mr. Hadley withdrew his resignation and this action was duly accepted. Powers of attorney for proposed trade mark applications for Mellitol in Argentina, Brazil and Portugal were approved. Mr. Fishburn resigned his position as General Manager to the Company as from 31st December 1947.
At the Directors meeting held on Friday 22nd August 1947 Dr. Simon reported to the meeting that Mr. Hadley found it necessary, after consultation with his doctor to resign from the position of Secretary to the Company through health reasons.
The Directors report for the year ending 1947 showed a satisfactory increase in the Credit Balance, and an agreement was made to pay a commission of 10% to John Forman on the orders of £510 which were received from Messrs. A G Linfield.
With reference to the shoe industry in Stafford, the official Stafford survey, prepared for the Borough Council in 1947 regarding the existence of Evode states:
"This diversity of industry has been increased by the establishment of a chemical manufacturer, in Messrs. Bostocks original works, by the Evode Chemical Company, whose products include polishes, and many other forms of polishes, etc., the manufacture of which employs some 50-60 persons. In a nutshell, therefore, Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Limited - the forerunner of Evode - was formed because a market existed for the manufacture of shoe polishes for the shoe industry, namely, in the case of Stafford, Lotus Ltd."
At a meeting of the Directors on the 9th February Dr. Simon reported that negotiations had been completed for use by the Company of offices at 10, Stratford Place, W1 as its London Office.
On the 19th February English Waxes Ltd. was incorporated and by agreement with the Board of Evode Chemical Works, would from March 1st 1949 handle the sales of Polishes, Creams, Adhesives and Cements to Messrs. Lotus Ltd. and its Subsidiary Companies.
At the 15th Annual General Meeting held in March Dr. Simon said that a Sales Manager - Mr. John Arnott - had been appointed for the Polishes Department and would commence his duties on the 1st of May 1948, also at that meeting he announced that a full time Chemist had been appointed and would start his duties on 15th March.
This was Mr. Elias Peak who had graduated as a Chemist from Manchester University He ran a Wolseley 14hp car which was quite a vehicle in its day! He was married and had two children It is probable that he saw the position advertised by Dr. Simon in Chemicals Journal in late 1947 for a Chief Chemist to organise setting up the manufacture of the Adhesives. (Cyril Lawton & Dr BS Jackson have written a note on their recollections of Elias Peak when he retired, in 1967, of ill health.)
His first assignment was to fly to America and sort out with Angiers what was wrong with the adhesives churn which we had built to their design. Mr. Peak returned with the correct engineering specification and a number of 250 gallon churns were constructed.
As Works Chemist Mr. Peak was responsible for the production of Angiers Adhesives formulations. However, he first had to carry out a considerable amount of laboratory work on these formulations in order to utilise raw materials available in this country.
In these early days of adhesives manufacture Elias Peak was able to provide enthusiasm and an ability to improvise his way out of many difficulties which frequently occurred. His relationship with many of the workmen which he employed was unique (even today he is talked of with respect by those who had worked with him).
During his time with the company he played a great part in helping to establish the Adhesives Division.
After the War, Dr. Simon had been visiting the Continent to renew his contacts with business acquaintances. He was confident that Evode now had many products in its range which could be exported, and it was only necessary to find enthusiastic agents who could carry out the selling and distribution. The first agent to be appointed was Mr. Tito Pereira De Sousa of Portugal to represent the company for the sale of Building Chemicals, particularly "Mellitol".
Dr. Simon had been aware for some time that it was important to have an office in London with a Manager who could make contact with architects and authorities responsible for overseas contracts. Mr. Eric Barnes was appointed Export Sales Manager and his aim was to ensure that companies carrying out building works overseas would include in their specifications Evode products. Such an arrangement would work very well with the Evode agents supplying the products named in the specifications.
At the Directors meeting on the 12th May 1948, the Secretary produced to the meeting the following service agreements:
|Mr. C L Williamson||Contracts Manager|
|Mr. A Keeler||Chemical Representative|
|Messrs. Howard Newman & Co.||Polish Agency|
|Messrs. Belfortax Ltd.||Polish Agency|
|Mr. E Peak||Chemist|
|Mr. R C McPhee||Area Manager North of England & Scotland|
|Mr. John Arnott||Sales Manager Polishes|
|Mr. L Hughes||Chemical Representative|
It was agreed that the value of £825 be written off in the accounts for Estawax.
Under 'The Companies Act 1948' Evode was registered as company number 265,896.
Letter from City of Westminster Housing Department 17th November 1948:
31 Charing Cross Road
'Evode' Insulating Paste.
My department have used your 'Evode' system for the repair of roofs, chiefly the roofs of requisitioned premises in the Westminster area for a period of eighteen months. During this time over 100 roofs have received the full treatment and some 250 partial treatment by your process. I am pleased to state that the use of your process has so far been completely successful in ensuring a watertight roof wherever it has been used under my supervision.
Director of Housing
Dr. Simon was aware that the royalties received from companies who would manufacture our products under a licensing agreement could be a very profitable venture.
In his visits abroad he was not only seeking to find suitable agents to distribute the Company products but also companies who were prepared to manufacture under licence.
The very first company to sign an agreement on the 16th December 1949 was Emmanuel Walden of Helsinki in Finland.
The royalties payable by a licensee were 5% of the invoice value of all sales of products covered by the agreement. A minimum royalty figure of £1000 was payable in the first year rising to £3000 in the 5th and subsequent years. This agreement continued for 15 years.
On 14th June 1949 Evode Limited Certificate of incorporation was issued to the Company.
At the 16th Annual General Meeting held in June, Dr. Simon reported that business during 1948 had been on the whole satisfactory. In the case of the polishes section of the Company, conditions were not so satisfactory. Changes would have to be made to the Sales Policy, to improve the position, in arranging distribution to the retail trade and not adopting a wholesale only policy as hitherto. By agreement with Angier Chemical Co. adhesives production now started and was progressing very well. Sales of polishes were now being handled by English Waxes Ltd.
At an extraordinary General Meeting of the Company hold on the 14th June 1949 the resolution was passed that the Company name be changed to Evode Ltd.
On the 2nd November 1949 Mr. Ted Wojtulewicz joined the company Ted was the first Polish national to join the company (and by 1955 the Bituminous Emulsion factory was being operated entirely by a Polish labour force.)
He began working under Reg Moseley in the Shoe and Floor Polishes Department, and he found the job to be hard manual work!! Nothing was mechanised at all, hundreds of tins were laid on the table by hand, the only piece of mechanised equipment was the polish filling out machine which was probably 20 years old then, and often broke down. The polish was made electrically, heated in 30 gallon kettles, and the molten waxes were stirred by broomsticks, (Ted used to mix the floor and shoe polishes by broomstick!!)
There were 18 or more elderly ladies employed to lid and pack the polish and it was a happy working atmosphere which Ted says he enjoyed for 14 months.
Although the move back to the Glover Street site had taken place in 1946, and Evode now occupied all available factory premises on site and there was a critical shortage of space. The increasing volume of orders together with the range of new products, were starting to create production problems. The offices were in an old house and horse stables which had been built around 1920 for the original shoe factory owners. Only Dr. Simon had a small office to himself which was just big enough to accommodate his desk, filing cabinet and a safe.
Over the past three years a number of sites had been examined which included a war time ordnance factory near Stone, Airfield buildings at Hixon and others within a 10 mile radius of Stafford. It is possible that some of these locations were not suitable or a Board of Trade Industrial Development Certificate could not be obtained and it very nearly came about that an offer for land near Crayford in Essex was accepted. The possibility of Evode moving out of Stafford must have created great concern to Stafford County Council who eventually offered a 9½ acre former brickworks freehold site in the Marston parish of Stafford.
The anglicising of the Angiers formulations were causing considerable problems and Mr. Elias Peak together with Mr. Ken Wood, who was his laboratory assistant, had a very difficult time trying to overcome many problems arising from the use of English or continental raw materials.
The most serious defect with the Angiers contact adhesive formulation (probably SH 12) which was based on "Nitrile" rubber, was that it was prone to gellation on storage and could not be stored with any confidence. Before this defect was resolved it required a considerable amount of development work to reformulate the Angiers product to utilise a different synthetic rubber - "Neoprene" -. The new formulation was given the laboratory number 528.
A press review at the end of 1950 of the progress made by local companies makes reference in the Lotus Ltd. article to the old fashioned "machine sewn" shoes being replaced by "stuck on" upper and soles using synthetic rubber adhesives. The press review for Evode Ltd. states that turnover has increased by 45% over the previous year and 1950 proved to be a very successful year.
Evo-Stik Impact Adhesive was introduced to the range.