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Simpson

The Company


Scotsman Alexander Simpson began making shaving brushes in Clapham, London in 1919. In 1929 the company exhibited in the British Industries Fair. The listed address was 53 High Street, Clapham, London, SW4. Listed brands included "Bajer".[1]

After his factory in London was destroyed in the 1941 Blitz, Simpson moved his company to Nimmer Mills, Chard, Somerset. Exhibited at the 1947 British Industries Fair. Listed brands included "Bajer", "Simie", "Alexsim", "Simbal", and "Wee-Scot".[2] A 1963 issue of Gentlemen's Quarterly mentioned ivory-handled Simpson "of London" brushes and the motto "may not need replacing in your lifetime". [3]

The Nimmer Mills incarnation of Simpson shared production facilities with the Coates company. In 1990 the two companies entered into a receivership agreement from which they were purchased by David Carter and Francis Woodhouse.

Following the retirement of the elderly business owners, Simpson's was purchased in June 2008 by Progress Vulfix, an Isle of Man based manufacturer. On 18th May 2010 the Coates company was purchased by TGS Products Ltd of Hungerford, England.

There seems to be some confusion about whether "Simpson" or "Simpson's" is proper. The company uses both forms in different contexts, and so does this article.

Product Info

Badger & Blade Reviews

Pre-Vulfix Lore


In December 2010 Gary Young joined B&B. He states that he is the great nephew of Alexander Simpson, and had interesting stories to tell about the pre-Vulfix days in Somerset.

The Coates-owned Nimmer Mill, mentioned above, can still be found at postcode TA20 3AD. The buildings are in private ownership, but it is possible to walk nearby. Some history of the site is covered by Murless and a parish history. The local rural museum may contain some of the original factory equipment, but 50% went to a Mill in Devon.

"I can say hand on heart that no other brush manufacturer ever used the power of water to manufacture their brushes!! We were unique." post

Traditional glue recipe: Boil some pearl barley until the sugar dissolves. Strain this off and then reheat slowly until it turns into a syrup. Let it cool for a few minutes and then dip the knot into the syrup. Leave for 24hrs and you will have as strong a bond as when the brush was first made. This lasts for years!

English Heritage hosts some pictures of the interior of Nimmer Mill from just after it closed: A B. There are also pictures from a 2000-era restoration project.

Brush Lore


"The Colonel name come from Colonel David Durie who was the Colonel of the Somerset Light Infantry in World War 2. One of Great Uncle Alex's and my grandfather, Tom's, oldest friends. It was classed as 'Military style' because it was normally purchased alongside one of our 'military club' hairbrushes (we also owned Coate's hairbrush business which was in existence since 1847). The 2 companies of Simpsons & Coate's amalgamated after Great Uncle Alex moved the shaving brush business in Somerset (UK) when his factory was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in 1941." post

"The KH stands for Key Hole (pretty obvious if you look at the handle shape!). The Duke's are actually named after Alex Simpson (it was his family nickname!). The old KR7 is named after the house that one of the staff lived in (7 Kents Row - in Somerset where the mill used to be). Wee Scot is actually not just after it's size but because of a name connected with the family. The X2 is one of the brushes named by my Grandfather - after my birth!" post

"The Eagle was not aorund when the original family owned the business so it has only been made since the early 90s (I think!!)" post

References

  1. ^http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/A._Simpson, citing catalog p152.
  2. ^http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/A._Simpson, citing catalog p252.
  3. ^Gentlemen's Quarterly, 1963, vol. 33, p34, part of "Hints On Easier Shaving".

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