Sunday, September 29, 2013

P. B. Cow & Co.

In 1850 a draper named Peter Brusey Cow purchased a rubber manufacturing company in Deptford in south east London. The business was renamed P. B. Cow & Co. and continued to make rubber products. In 1851 the company was the first to introduce waterproof tweed commercially and the firm won an award at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. P. B. Cow & Co. prospered and expanded, moving to larger premises in Streatham in 1857. The company manufactured a wide range of rubber goods from hot water bottles and sink plugs to diving suits.

In 1936 P. B. Cow & Co. created the Li-Lo inflatable air-bed. By the 1940s the company was one of the largest manufacturers of air-sea rescue equipment, which led to the formation of the Goldfish Club. During the Second World War, the company heard from a number of aircraft crew who had been rescued in P. B. Cow dinghies after ditching in water. The club was set up and backed financially by P. B. Cow so that members could exchange experiences. There were over 9,000 members by the end of the war and although the company's direct link to the club ended in 1947, the Goldfish Club is still going strong today.

In 1946 the business became a limited company and in 1971 P. B. Cow & Co. Ltd. was acquired by the Allied Polymer Group.

by Mark Matlach

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