Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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E. L. Fletcher and Son

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1920 Mr. E. L. Fletcher, an industrial chemist, started to manufacture a special type of wafer for fixing leather tips to billiard cues. E. L. Fletcher had been severely gassed during World War I and at times was only able to supervise production from a couch situated within the works.

His special wafers proved to be vastly superior to the gelatine type of wafers, usually of French manufacture, which had been previously used for cue tipping. The new type English wafer was originally a light yellow colour and Thurston and Co - the London billiard table manufacturers - had sole marketing rights. Once wafer production was well established Mr. Fletcher then successfully experimented with the production of billiard cue tips which were again originally marketed through Thurston and Co, as sole distributors.

As the quality became firmly established and as production methods became more efficient the demand for Fletcher tips and wafers within the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth was so great that Thurston's were approached and agreed to allow their sole agency to lapse so that Fletcher products could then be supplied direct to billiard table makers throughout the world. Thurston's however, retained sole right to distribute the 'yellow' wafers, whilst for the rest of the trade the colour was changed to green.

During all this, Mr. Fletcher's ill health had necessitated his wife and his son Evelyn Fletcher assisting in the practical work and the administration. They also possessed all the necessary practical skill and knowledge that subsequently enabled the company to continue in the years after the death of Mr. E. L. Fletcher.

Mrs. Fletcher died a few years after her husband and then Evelyn was tragically killed in a shooting accident.

The business continued under the control of Mr. Fletcher's daughter and her husband, Mr. Ashmole, who carried on the business until Mr. Ashmole died suddenly in 1971 leaving his wife (Mr. E. L. Fletcher's daughter) to operate the company.

She was very resourceful and took a practical hand in the manufacture of the billiard cue tips although the production of the now famous Fletcher English green wafers had to be suspended. The closely guarded secret formula was preserved.

1972 Mrs. Ashmole retired from the family business and the company's trading interests were sold. Production continued at the factory premises in Baldock, and the manufacture of the green wafers was immediately recommenced, under the control of Mr. Peter Clare as managing director.

1975 Following a considerable expansion of the company's trading interests, it moved to larger factory premises in Liverpool, where the full range of high-class billiard cue tips and the famous green wafers, together with brass ferrules and screw tips continued to be produced and a completely new range of moulded nylon accessories including cue clips, rest heads of all types, pocket plates for miniature billiard tables, a range of rest hooks, etc., was introduced and proved to be a successful addition to the E. L. Fletcher and Son range of products, which also included the wholesale distribution of snooker balls, billiard cloth, cushion rubbers, etc.

During the early part of 1976, negotiations for an amalgamation with Peradon and Co of Andover, commenced which resulted in the establishment of the new company Peradon and Fletcher in August 1977.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Peradon Website