Fuller Brush Company

Fuller Brush Company

The Fuller Brush Company was founded January 1, 1906, by Alfred Carl Fuller, a businessman from Nova Scotia, Canada.

The company began with door-to-door sales of brushes of various sorts, including hairbrushes with a lifetime guarantee, for which the company gained fame.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the ubiquitous Fuller Brush salesman became a cultural icon, inspiring comedy and jokes, movies, and at least one song.

Movies included The Fuller Brush Man, a 1948 comedy movie starring Red Skelton and Janet Blair and The Fuller Brush Girl, a 1950 comedy movie starring Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert. Evangelist Billy Graham's 1997 autobiography, "Just As I Am", describes in some detail his early experience selling Fuller brushes door-to-door. The 'Fuller Brush Man' is also mentioned by rock & roots artist James McMurtry in the song "Fuller Brush Man". The song appears on his 1995 release "Where'd you hide the body," published by Columbia records.

Locations

Charter Plant in Philmont, New York

The blow molding of plastic bottles & toothbrush operation was in Philmont, New York, which was located on a major East-West & North-South highway junction in upper NY state.

Hartford / East Hartford, Connecticut

The main factory for the Fuller Brush Company was located in East Hartford, CT during the 1960s, where Mr. Fuller's son Avard ran the company. It had moved from Hartford (other side of river) some years earlier. The Research Division was there, along with the plastics molding operation. In the early 1970s, the company was bought out after Mr. Fuller’s death and moved to Kansas.

The Industrial Brush Division was also at the East Hartford plant, where they made large motor-driven brushes for developing newspaper printing photo metal plates. All the mops were sewn at this plant. The perfuming operation was there also, including a large machine to detect what was in perfume made by other companies. At the plant was a man who bent brush assemblies all day long, he had become blind during WW-II while held as a prisoner-of-war by the Japanese, who forced him to arc-weld without protective glasses. Fuller had also given their entire corn-broom manufacturing equipment to a blind organization that made and sold the brooms.

In front of the East Hartford plant was a large glass case with a stuffed large boar that represented the boar hair used in some of the original Fuller brushes. There was also a Mohawk Plant in Albany, NY.

Fuller had a "private label" division, Charter Products, that sold duplicate products under other brand names chosen by the distributor. Avard's interest in boating resulted in experiments at the plant with plastic molding of port lights (windows) for boats, including full plastic hardware.

The East Hartford plant contained an attached large warehouse that was also served by a Railroad siding. The stainless steel scrubbies were made there also.

Great Bend, Kansas

Since 1973, Fuller Brushes and over 2,000 other products have been manufactured near Great Bend, Kansas, in Barton County.

Fuller family

Avard Fuller, the founder's son ran the company during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Carol Ketchum worked on the cosmetics line at Fuller; she was the Canadian niece of Alfred by his first wife.

Joseph Burns became the Vice President of Fuller in 1964.

Johnny Fuller, the grandson, raced a Volvo sports car at the Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut.

External links

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