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British Industrial History

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J. B. Brooks and Co

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August 1955. Visit to Dri-Ped, Bolton.
1955 August 21st. Company visit to Dri-Ped, a subsidiary of Walker and Martin Leathers.
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Brooks of 163 Criterion Works, Great Charles Street, Birmingham. (1922)

As above, plus Showrooms at 74 Margaret Street, London, W1; 93 Market Street, Manchester and 10 Jamaica Street, Glasgow. Telephone: Birmingham Central 3670; London Museum 7796. Cables: Birmingham - "Brooks, Birmingham"; London - "Buttide, Wesdo, London" (1929)

of Criterion Works, as above. Telephone: Central 3671. Telegraphic Address: "Brooks, Birmingham". (1937)

Ditto all 1937 details. (1947)

Creators of the Antler luggage brand.

1866 Company formed.[1]

1870s John Boultbee Brooks travelled the cobbled streets of the Midlands, selling leather goods from a horse and cart; it was the horse's demise that shaped the destiny of the company. In the interest of progress, Boultbee replaced her with a 'safety bicycle'. Unfortunately the bike's wooden saddle and solid tyres, combined with the cobbled streets, caused him no little discomfort, and so, to protect his extremities, he invented an entirely new kind of saddle made from leather and sprung steel. Thus the famous Brook's saddle was born. Soon it became a worldwide success and was later joined by saddlebags and panniers.

1896 Incorporated as a Limited Company. The company was registered on 22 October, to acquire the business of manufacturers of cycle saddles, saddlery etc of the firm of the same name. They have 500 employees. Directors were J. B. Brooks (of Criterion Works, Great Charles Street, Chairman and Managing Director), Herbert Chamberlain (of Somerset Road, Edgbaston and Deputy Chairman of the Birmingham Small Arms and Metal Co), Henry A. Wiggin (of Harborne Park) and A. C. Johnson (of Wylde Green, Assistant managing Director).[2] [3]

1897 Patent dispute. 'Brooks v. Lamplugh and another. — This was an appeal by the Defendants from the judgment of Mr. Justice Ridley, upholding the validity of three patents for cycle saddles, and deciding that these had been infringed by the Defendants, Eliza Lamplugh and Edward Laut Tyndall, who carry on the business of cycle manufacturers at Birmingham under the name of J. A. Lamplugh and Co. The patents in question were No. 15,424 of 1890, entitled "Improvement in velocipede saddles": No. 22.608. of 1892. entitled "Improvement in cycle saddles": and No. 14,620, of 1893 entitled "Improved improvements, altering and adjusting the position of cycle saddles." ...'

By 1905 was a public company

1914 Manufacturers of cycle and motorcycle saddles, leather goods, motor car trunks and other accessories. Employees 600 to 700. [4]

1920 The business flourished; Boultbee's son entered the luggage market proper, 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) [5]

1927 Motor Cycle and Cycle Show at Olympia. - Stand 249

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) [6]

1930 Advertised Evertaut steel stools and chairs, "as used by the GPO"[7]

1930 A few years later came 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.

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Steel Shelving Storage Equipment, Racking Bins, Lockers, Cupboards, Tables, Benches for works and factories operatives. Steel Stools and Chairs. Canteen Furniture. Steel Conveyor Tables for packing and assembly, Sundries, etc. (Stand No. B.416) [8]

WWII. War brought an inevitable change of emphasis and Antler turned briefly 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) [9]

1950 Advert for Christmas Gifts. [10]

1953 Acquired C. S. A. Industries, maker of English Rose Kitchens and Warwick kitchens[11]

1954 Colour advert on this page. [12]

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 Established new subsidiary, Evertaut Seating, to handle the seat manufacturing business; Evertaut Ltd contined in sheet metal. Also established Antler Ltd as a subsidiary company[13]

1957 Name changed to J B Brooks Industries; a subsidiary, J B Brooks, was formed to handle the interests in cycle and motorcycle industries [14]

1958 As well as cycle-related business, owned 2 luggage companies: Antler and Foxcroft Luggage; also owned Evertaut and Evertaut Seating Ltd of Darwen; and English Rose Kitchens[15]

1959 Raleigh Industries, having had a close working relationship with the company for many years, acquired the saddle interests of J B Brooks Industries[16]

1962 Harris and Sheldon Holdings, shop fitting specialists, acquired the company[17]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Freeman's Journal - Tuesday 27 October 1896
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. Freeman's Journal - Tuesday 27 October 1896
  4. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  5. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert xli; and p12
  6. 1929 British Industries Fair Adverts 72 and 73; and p30
  7. The Times, May 19, 1930
  8. 1937 British Industries Fair p342
  9. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 348; and p14
  10. [1] History World
  11. The Times, Apr 05, 1954
  12. [2] History World
  13. The Times, Apr 15, 1957
  14. The Times, Apr 15, 1957
  15. The Times, Apr 21, 1958
  16. The Times, Dec 08, 1959
  17. The Times, Dec 14, 1962
  • [3] History of Antler Luggage