Chapter 10

End of an era

It was evident that, within the Stafford community, Dr. Simon was an extremely busy person as, during the course of his life, he was the President of the Stafford Chess Club and the Stafford Chemical Society, he was Chairmen of the Stafford Rangers football club and he was responsible for founding the Cement Admixtures Association in the UK. All of these offices he thoroughly enjoyed, as he did travelling around the world to visit the companies which he had established as licensees or were owned by Evode. On one occasion, after attending a meeting at Drecona Industries in Canada, he was the proud possessor of a certificate stating that he had travelled at Mach II returning to England on Concorde. On the same flight he met Sir Arnold Weinstock, who was at that time Chairman of English Electric Ltd. which had a considerable presence in Stafford.

The company was always interested in innovative ways of applying adhesives in professional markets. To this end Evode co-operated with Crossley Carpets of Halifax to develop a product called Silvaseam. It was a hot melt adhesive which was applied in a thin film onto an aluminium foil and was used to bond sections of carpet together. A low electric current was passed through the foil to soften the adhesive film which would then stick to the carpet. In this way many acres of floor covering were laid in diverse locations. It was as an offshoot from this development that Evode Coatings Ltd. was formed.

The situation concerning the company`s involvement with overseas activities continued to develop. As previously reported, Dia-Prosim decided to withdraw from the licensee arrangement in France and Evo-France was formed. In order to compliment the activities of this company the Evode Group acquired another company in that country which was Societe Chimique Emfi, SA, based in Hagenau in eastern France. This company would manufacture and distribute Evode products in that country, the technology being applied from Stafford. The Group Board also took the decision to withdraw from the market in West Germany and sold off Batu Chemiewaren KG.

The development of products within the laboratories produced a host of technical information on both adhesives and sealing compounds. Dr. B.S.Jackson, who was the Director of Research for Evode Holdings, put together and published a book which was an amalgam of papers written by the development staff. This was called “Industrial Adhesives and Sealants”.

Despite the fact that Dr. Simon was responsible for the appointment of all of the overseas licensees and, in 1968, had come to the conclusion that a dedicated Laboratory was required to oversee their requirements, headed by a person responsible for liaising directly with their personel, the decision was reached between the MD of for liaising directly with their personnel, the decision was reached, between the MD of Evode Export and the chief chemist of Evode, that this activity should be taken away from the Licensee Laboratory and Evode Export and the Evode laboratories would assume responsibility. Consequently no single person would be in direct contact with any of the licensee companies and their technical requirements would have to be dealt with as time permitted by the Evode laboratories.

At this time royalties in the region of £100,000 were being realised from these companies. It is an unfortunate fact that the relationships between the licensees and Evode, which had previously been of the highest standard, quickly deteriorated, these overseas companies taking the attitude that their activities were no longer important to Evode. The chemists who had staffed this dedicated laboratory were dispersed throughout the company.

Evode AG was formed based in Switzerland to handle financial arrangements in Europe. For similar reasons Evode GmbH was formed in West Germany.

Evode Waterproofing Systems Ltd., which had been formed in 1972 with its main office on the Common Road site, was moved, in 1977, into a property which was leased from Servomatic Ltd. in St. Albans Road. This company became Evode Roofing Ltd, and launched a new product called “Tekurat”. At the same time the Evode Vel-Tex Ltd. company was renamed Evode Joint Sealing Ltd. and Evomex SA in Mexico was sold while Furniglass Ltd. was acquired. The products made by this company were partially contributory to those already in the Evode range, these being wood dyes, varnishes and wood polishes.

A house magazine edited by Dr. Barry Jackson was published between the time January 1969 and August 1980. This publication carried information about people who had joined Evode and their positions within the company, overseas visitors, whether from licensee companies, agents or associates, which company within the group they were visiting. The activities of existing employees was described including the visits made overseas by Dr. Simon and others and the territories and companies they visited. Launches of new products were described and orders received by the company for existing products, from whom and where these products would be used. The details included in these publications have proved invaluable in putting this history together.

Dr. Simon was a convivial person, well known to and well liked by his large number of employees. Although his life deteriorated during this last year he maintained a working involvement with all companies which, for some years, had been under the overall management of his son, Andrew, who joined the company in 19-- as Corporate Planner and he was now Chief Executive of the Group.

It came as a shock to learn that Dr. Simon died, aged 78, from pancreatic cancer on 8th. September 1978.

The funeral and Thanksgiving service were held at the Borough Hall, Stafford, the town in which he had spent half of his life, on Friday 15th. September. He was extremely proud of his British nationality and the award of the C.B.E. with which he had been honoured by the country of his adoption.

At the funeral service the eulogy for Hermann Simon was presented by his long time friend Mr. Frank Winfield. This is such a moving and forthright address, expressing the personality and outlook of Dr. Simon throughout his life and the attitude he adopted to his family, friends and fellow workers, it is fitting that it is reproduced in its entirety as part of the biography.

After the service held at the Borough Hall his body was buried in a grave located at the Crematorium, Blackheath Lane, Stafford.

Following his death there were also many tributes and obituaries which appeard in widely diverse publications including the Stafford Rangers football programme for Tuesday 12th. September, for which he acted as Chairman many years previously. The daily “Times” paid tribute to him in the publication of Thursday 14th. September. As previously reported the company house magazine, The Evodian, had been produced for many years and in the publication for February 1979 a “Farewell to a Founder and Friend” was included.