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 142,544 pages of information and 227,941 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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March 1939.
April 1939.
April 1939.
May 1939.
November 1939.
July 1945.
Sept 1949. Shop for Halex Ltd., No. 5 Conduit St., W.I.
April 1953.
October 1953.
November 1953.
July 1954.
May 1955.

of Hale End, London, E4. Telephone: Larkswood 2345. Cables: "Halexcels"

Up to 1897 British Xylonite Co made its finished goods at Homerton, having moved its celluloid production to Brantham in Suffolk in 1887.

1896 British Xylonite Co bought Jack's Farm at Hale End near Walthamstow.[1]. This was the first large outside company to move into Walthamstow.

1897 A factory was built and opened at Hale End (its products going by the trade name of Halex) which also housed the head office of British Xylonite Co.

1921 The company had pioneered the manufacture of celluloid in Britain and began to produce lactoid, a non-inflammable substitute for it.

1938 British Xylonite Co became a holding company with three subsidiaries: B. X. Plastics making xylonite and lactoid; Halex Ltd making finished goods, and Cascelloid Ltd making toys and bottles at Leicester and Coalville.

1939 Distillers Co bought a 50% interest in British Xylonite Co. The Hale End works, under the name of Halex Ltd, became the centre of production of the group's plastics goods, such as combs and toothbrushes, with virtually a monopoly of table-tennis balls.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for various products: Hairbrushes; Toothbrushes; Denture Brushes; Shaving Brushes; Combs; Table Tennis Balls; Condiment Sets, etc.,etc. Nursery, Bathroom and Kitchen Ware. Toilet Accessories and Stationers' Sundries. (Plastics Section - Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 831) [2]

In 1949 there were some 1,000 employees.

1955 The Halex factory had been modernised to allow use of new equipment to make larger BEX household goods; the firm had started selling the Bissell carpet sweeper, made under licence from Bissell Carpet Sweeper Co of USA, which would use a few plastic parts[3]

1960 A new factory was opened.

1961 Distillers Co bought the entire British Xylonite Group

1963 British Xylonite Co became part of a new grouping called Bakelite Xylonite Ltd established jointly with Union Carbide, and including plants at Birmingham, Aycliffe and Grangemouth.

In 1969 Halex Ltd and British Xylonite Co were owned by Bakelite Xylonite

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] British History Online
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 387; and p127
  3. The Times, May 10, 1955
  • [2] National Archives: British Xylonite