Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Percy P. Baker

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of 16 Carthusian Street, Aldersgate Street, London, EC1. T. A.: Anglifying, London, Telephone: City 362. (1922)

of 14 Canal Road, Kingsland Road, London, N1. Telephone: Clerkenwell 2678. Cables: "Anglifying, Phone, London". (1929)

1875 Percy P. Baker, creator of Rekab Brushes, was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia, and before the end of the century emigrated, along with his parents and 8 brothers and sisters, to England. He first worked in the streets of East London as a peddler, selling whatever was available.

Early 1890s he married another immigrant, Edith Salomon of Berlin. Together they had three children - two daughters and a son.

1913 Percy P. Baker met two women who taught him the art of brushmaking.

1914 They became the first workers for the company of Percy P. Baker Ltd which was officially established in 1914 in the East End of London. The company specialised in soft hair brushes using sable, squirrel and pony hair, as well as in bristle.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Camel Hair, Ox and Sable Brushes for Artists, Decorators and Medical purposes. (Stand No. B.39) [1]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Camel Hair, Sable, Ox Hair Brushes for Artists, Signwriters, Poster Writers, French Polishers, Drawing Offices, and Medical purposes, also Gum, Paste, Enamel and Gold Paint Brushes. Boxed and Carded Brushes. (Stand No. PO.1) [2]

By 1940, the company employed 200 workers and both Percy's wife, Edith, and son, Cecil, were actively involved. The manufacturing operation was totally self-reliant. The company made its own handles and ferrules and dressed its own hair. Percy P. Baker was also a major supplier to the British Ministry of Defense and developed special brushes without metal parts for use with TNT.

1940 On a single night in 1940, during the bombing (Blitz) of London, the factory and home of Percy and Edith were destroyed. Percy, his wife Edith and son Cecil were killed along with family members who had only just arrived a week earlier from Germany. The two surviving daughters were living in Palestine at the time. However, the company continued to manufacture and sell its brushes, despite the death of its owner, thanks to a nucleus of loyal workers.

1972 The eldest grandson of Percy P. Baker, Kim Chissick, came to London from Israel along with his family to take over the management of the business.

By 1979, the decision was made to move the manufacturing to Israel. Kim, Naomi and their family moved from the suburbs of London to the hills of northern Israel where the small town of Ma'alot welcomed them.

Naomi Chissick trained and developed the initial work force for the factory in Ma'alot. In 1982 Naomi left the factory to return to her first love, teaching. Today, most members of the family are involved in one way or another with the factory.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair p5
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair p13
  • [1] Kim Brushes Website.