Chapter 7

Post war growth

The move back to Glover Street had taken place in 1946. Evode had grown into the space available but, as the company became larger, there was now a critical shortage. The increase in the volume of orders together with the new range of products being made were beginning to create production problems. Office accommodation was situated in an old house and the horse stables which had been built around 1920 for the original shoe factory owners. Only Dr. Simon had a small office to himself large enough to contain a desk, a filing cabinet and a safe. A number of alternative sites had been examined over the past three years including a wartime ordnance factory in nearby Stone, airfield buildings in the village of Hixon which was relatively near and others within a ten mile radius of Stafford. It is possible that some of the sites inspected were not suitable for purpose or that a Board of Trade Development Certificate could not be obtained. An offer for land in Crayford in Essex was not accepted.

The possibility of Evode moving out of Stafford must have created great concern for Stafford Borough Council because, being aware of the situation, the company was offered a nine and one half acre site, a former brickworks, freehold, in the parish of Marston, Stafford. This was in Common Road, opposite to the common itself.

As has previously been pointed out in order to “Anglisise” Angiers American formulations it was necessary to introduce, as far as possible, raw materials which were available in the UK. This caused problems and a considerable amount of work for the laboratory technicians and required a considerable period of development to establish and prove that the resulting products could perform as they were intended to do. The upshot of this work was to develop an adhesive based on Neoprene rubber which was stable and effective. Thus Evo-Stik 528 Impact Adhesive was introduced to the market. It was now an accepted fact that “sewn on” soles were now being replaced by those which were “stuck on” using products similar to those produced by Evode. Due to this the turnover of the company had improved by 45%over the previous year.

The activities of Evode Roof Waterproofing Contracts Department were steadily improving. Dr Simon always inspected the sites of any very large roofing contracts with Mr. Colin Williamson who had been appointed the manager of the department in 1948. The large variety of roofing structures being inspected and accepted for coverage by the company required careful choice of waterproofing specification and Dr. Simon`s early experience in Germany with bitumen emulsions resulted in the Evode “built up” system acquiring a first class reputation.

The increasing sales of the new adhesives developed by Evode into the shoe industry led to the appointment of Mr. E. H. Beaumont in September 1951 to launch these products into other industries. He came to the company with a considerable technical knowledge of the adhesives industry and a wide experience of marketing to the industrial sector. He concentrated his activities on promoting Evode adhesives into the motor car, shipping, building clothing and leather industries and any others in which the use of adhesives could be contemplated. He also travelled to Europe to investigate potential uses of Evode products there.

In October of that year an agreement was reached with Dr. Egon Meyer for Evode to manufacture, under license, a range of specialised paints and chemicals. These products had been patented in Germany, in particular a metal primer which the company called “Evoled”, which was claimed to give a major advantage over competitors in the field.

It was also in this year that Evode Industrial Division was formed.

On 17th. January 1952 fire destroyed a two storey building at the entrance of the Glover Street factory. The ground floor contained a large number of rolls of bitumen impregnated hessian whilst the upper floor, which housed the laboratory, had stocks of inflammable adhesives, paints and solvents. Fortunately most of the technical records stored in the laboratory survived the fire but a considerable number of valuable pieces of equipment were destroyed. Nevertheless, within 24 hours, the laboratory had moved to temporary accommodation in a building on site known as the “Tile House”. It is believed that a steam boiler was once housed in this ornately tiled building. It was probably used to drive machines used in the original shoe factory.

The 19th. AGM was held on 18th. February and the Chairman placed on record the gratitude owed to Mr. J. J. E. Forman for the efforts he displayed ensuring that the fire suffered by the company had not spread to the more vulnerable part of the factory where adhesives were made. At the same meeting the capital of the company was increased to £50,000 by the creation of 42,900 shares valued at £1.00 each.

The Board of Trade issued an Industrial Development Certificate on 17th. December allowing Evode Ltd. to develop land in the Borough of Stafford at a site covering 64,750 square feet to erect a factory, offices and a laboratory. This site was, of course, located in Common Road where the Evode factory was established.

In January 1953 Dr. B. S. Jackson joined the company as a chemist and he went on to become head of Evomastics Ltd.

On 25th. March 1953 a conveyancing agreement between Evode Ltd. and Mr. T. B. Follows was signed for the purchase of 9 acres and 37 perches of land in Common Road, Stafford for the sum of £6,500. This plot of land had formerly been a brickworks and on site were two disused kilns, a brick chimney and various derelict buildings.

Thomas de la Rue, the manufacturers of “Formica” melamine based, laminated sheeting had been seeking an adhesive to bond this type of sheet to wood and agreed to carry out a number of tests using Evo-Stik household adhesive. After numerous practical trials requiring many formulation changes, lasting over several months Thomas de la Rue expressed satisfaction with the product. Evo-Stik 528 Household Impact Adhesive now entered the domestic consumer market with the recommendation that it was the adhesive to use with “Formica” sheet.

By the end of 1953 appropriate packaging and sales promotional material had been organised and, by agreement with Thomas de la Rue, Evo-Stik 528 Household Impact Adhesive would be distributed to retail and hardware stores using twelve major timber merchants.

During the latter half of 1953 building and site development at Common Road had been progressing. In the early months of 1954 the erection of the new factory had reached the stage that transferring the production of adhesives from Glover Street could now take place. The layout of the adhesives factory and the site development progressed as planned in 1955 and 1956. Product advertising was now also being increased in the national press and in the Do-It-Yourself journals.

In December 1954 the Board of Evode Ltd. and that of Vik Supplies Ltd. reached an agreement whereby selling the products made by Evode would be mutually beneficial.

Following on from the contacts in Europe made by Dr. Simon and Mr. Beaumont over the past years, five more companies entered into an agreement to manufacture Evode products under license. In Eire on 1 June 1955 Evode Industries Ltd. was incorporated.

At Common Road the completion of a further two buildings for the manufacture of polish products and those based on bitumen enabled their manufacture to be transferred from Glover Street.

The first range of products was manufactured in September. The press releases in the journal which covered this section of the industry, “Architectural Design”, indicated the growing usage of these types of products in the building industry.

At an extraordinary General Meeting held on 1st. March 1955 it was agreed to increase the capital of the company to £100,000.00 by the creation of 50,000 shares valued at £1.00 each.

In this year a number of new employees joined the company who were to influence the growth and progress. These included Mr. J. H. Briant with a brief to develop a range of mastics and sealing compounds, Mr. E. A. Duligal to introduce a range of decorative paints and speciality coatings and Mr, V. Vohralik who joined the company as an adhesives development chemist and later rose to become managing director of Evode Ltd.

At the 23rd. AGM held on 6th. March 1956 Evode Industries Ltd. was incorporated in Eire having a manufacturing facility in Swords, Co. Dublin. The principal shareholders were Mr. A. F. Buckley as the Chairman, holding 51% of the shares, Dr. Simon as the managing director and Mr. Godfrey Bostock. On 18th. April Evomastics Ltd. was incorporated and in July, at a meeting of Directors, it was resolved that capitalisation of £40,000.00 of the undistributed profit reserve of the company should now take place.

On 18th. April Evomastics Ltd. Was incorporated into Evode Ltd. This company was formed from the Mastics Division of Evode Ltd.

During the middle of 1956 the office and laboratory building at Common Road was completed and ready for occupation. Therefore equipment and the relevant personnel were transferred from Glover Street. The move was not in fact completed until the end of 1957.

In December of this year it was announced by Lotus Ltd. that Vik Supplies Ltd., which was a subsidiary company of Lotus, would assume a closer association with Evode Ltd. in order to broaden the range of adhesives which it offered to the shoe industry. The offices of Vik Supplies would be moved to the new administration building of Evode Ltd. in Common Road. This company came into existence in 1912 initially concentrating on the production of wooden heels for shoes. As time passed the company grew offering a wide range of rubber adhesives, solvent mixes, cleaners, activating solutions and toe puffs. After the end of the war, when Evode Ltd. had acquired and mastered the technology of manufacturing synthetic based adhesives, Vik Supplies relied upon the expertise of Evode to provide shoe adhesives capable of bonding the many new resin/rubber soling products now coming into use in the footwear industry.

On 1st. March 1957 the 24th. AGM was held in the newly built offices of the company. Reference was made to the company accounts for the past year and it was pointed out that, while company profits were substantially the same as the previous year, there had been a considerable increase in turnover. However these profits were offset by the increased costs of shift production and overhead expenses. The costs of the new buildings and machinery had been financed from the liquid position of the company funds and, therefore, expenditure in the forthcoming financial year would be one of consolidation.

As previously stated closer co-operation between Vik Supplies and Evode was now taking place and the staff and executives of this company were now housed in the new offices of Evode Ltd. Amongst them was Mr. B. C. Preece who had been a member of the staff of Vik Supplies for some time and continued to give similar devotion to Evode Ltd. for many years to come.