Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,111 pages of information and 233,643 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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December 1953.
July 1960. The new Antler Airstream.

Antler brand luggage was made by J. B. Brooks and Co in Birmingham.

1920 The son of J. B. Brooks introduced luggage to his father's company, with leather covered wardrobe trunks for ocean liners, and, as the automobile grew in popularity, with 'motor trunks' which were strapped to the back of a car. He was keenly interested in wildlife, hence the stag's head and the brand name Antler.

1922 British Industries Fair Advert for Antler Quality Leather Goods. Also Manufacturers of Travelling Requisites, Fitted Dressing and Suit Cases, Leather Bags, Holdalls and General Canvas Goods. Fancy Leather Goods. (Stand Nos. J.60 and J.92) [1]

1929 British Industries Fair Adverts for Antler products: Hand Bags; Seat Sticks; Trunks; Cases and other goods. Including: Picnic Cases, Fancy and General Leather, Vulcanized Fibreware, Travelware, Steel Stools and Chairs. (Leather Goods Section - Stand No. P.23) [2]

1930 Another major milestone when Antler launched the first ever lightweight, soft-top suitcase, covered either in patent leather or the then extremely innovatory Rexine coated cotton fabric. It was another success and legend has it that a leading London store bought up the whole of the first consignment, which sold in a day.

WWII. Antler turned to producing haversacks, webbing belts and similar military equipment for the armed forces.

Late 1940s: Antler returned to luggage again, concentrating on the new soft-sided cases, with rich linings and up-to-the-minute fabrics like 'lizard skin' Vynide, and pioneering ever more new materials.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for New Airtight zip Suitcase by Antler. Manufacturers of "Antler" Travel Goods including "Nytee" Cases, Hat Cases, Dress Cases, Rawhide and Hide Suitcases, "Airlight" Suitcase, Hat Cases and Pakswell Dress Cases, Zip Suitcases, Travel Bags, Vulcanised Fibre suitcases. (Leather Goods Section - Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand Nos. 642 and 643) [3]

1950 Advert for Christmas Gifts. [4]

1954 Colour advert on this page. [5]

1950s and 1960s As the Travel Industry expanded and the start of mass tourism began, Antler was at the forefront with technical innovations in Holiday Luggage to meet the demands of customers for products suitable for the new age of air travel.

1956 J B Brooks established Antler Ltd as a subsidiary company[6]

1962 J B Brooks, having disposed of its cycle-related businesses, was acquired by Harris and Sheldon, shop fitting specialists

1962 The Antler company relocated, under the new ownership of the Harris and Sheldon Group, from the original Midlands base, to the current head office site in North Manchester, with additional manufacturing sites in Mosley, Littleborough and Exeter meeting the ever growing demand.

1980s Changes in soft luggage from the earlier PVC based products to the much stronger polyester type.

1989 After a period on the USM, Antler was acquired by Wassall plc[7]

1990s The company entered into the hard luggage and suitcase market with ever increasing success and the introduction of leather goods extended the brand further. Antler led the field with technological design revolutions with rollercase luggage.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert xli; and p12
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair Adverts 72 and 73; and p30
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 348; and p14
  4. [1] History World
  5. [2] History World
  6. The Times, Apr 15, 1957
  7. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, May 17, 1989
  • [3] History of Antler Luggage