- Wilkinson Sword
name = Wilkinson Sword
type = Manufacture
foundation = 1772
Wilkinson Sword is a brand name for two companies that make gardening tools and
razors. Wilkinson Sword's origins are in the manufacture of swords.
The company was founded in London in 1772. The brand is currently owned by
Energizer Holdings(for razors) and by Fiskars(for gardening tools).
The company's past product lines have included
guns, bayonets, and other objects such as typewriters, garden shears, scissors, and motorcycles.
Wilkinson Sword has manufactured its products in three UK locations over the years: in London, Chelsea, Acton, Northumberland [Cramlington] and Wales [Bridgend - Gardening tools] In 2000 it closed its razor plant in the UK and consolidated production in Germany.
For over 100 years, it manufactured ceremonial war swords for various militaries around the world, such as those of the United Kingdom, members of the commonwealth and the United States.Fact|date=April 2007
Merger to form: Wilkinson Match
In 1973 Wilkinson Sword merged with The British Match Corporation to form a new company Wilkinson Match. [* [http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Wilkinson-Sword-Ltd-Company-History.html Company history] ] This was intended to create a bigger company, with a bigger
advertisingbudget, to enable the company to fight its American rival in the consumer shavingmarket: The Gillette Company; and its British subsidiary, Gillette. In this advertising war, Wilkinson Sword made full use of its long and proud tradition of sword making in its televisioncommercials.
Wilkinson Match was then bought by an American company Allegheny Ludlum, from Pittsburgh, who later became bankrupt. Wilkinson Match was then at various times owned by a
Scandinavian maker of floor coverings, various banks; and a subsidiary of Volvo.
Most of the former
Bryant and Mayhalf of Wilkinson Match was closed down or sold off in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the Bryant and May Factory, Bowand the Bryant and May Factory, Melbourne. The gardening tools division was sold to Fiskarsin the 1990s.
Wilkinson Match's rival
Gilletteis also no longer independent, with Gillette having been acquired by Procter and Gamblein 2005.
Wilkinson Sword today
The company is owned by
Energizer Holdingswho bought the Company from Pfizerin 2003. The company produces a four-blade razor that is marketed under the Wilkinson Sword brand in Europe and the Schick brand in North America and Australia. The Wilkinson Sword-branded razors are made in Germany. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/business/the_company_file/184274.stm Transfer of production to Germany] ]
The gardening tools company is owned by Finnish-American company Fiskars Brands and is based in Bridgend, Wales.
Disposal of the sword business
The Acton sword factory closed, and sword production ceased, as of
15 September 2005. Most of the Wilkinson Swordmachinery, tools and equipment was purchased by the oldest, producing sword factory in the world, WKC( [http://wkc-solingen.de/startweb.php Weyersberg, Kirschbaum & Cie] ) of Solingen, Germany. Amongst these items were most of the current British MOD Pattern Sword and Scabbard tools as well as the original blade roll forge of Wilkinson. These are currently used to produce ceremonial swords and scabbards for military and police forces worldwide. WKC continues with the traditional European sword manufacturing. Robert Pooleypurchased sword drawings and forging machinery from Wilkinson Sword and sent them to India. He then set up his own company Pooley Swordwhich finishes and engraves swords forged in India.
The only two remaining company with UK sword manufacturing facilities are [http://www.aubmedia.com/crispandsons/aboutus.htm Crisp & Sons Ltd] (incorporating
Sussex Swords) who have a factory in East Sussex and employ many of the craftsmen who worked for Wilkinson and [http://www.leonpaul.com/ Leon Paul equipment company Limited] who exclusively make swords for the sport of Fencing.
* [http://www.wilkinson-sword.co.uk Wilkinson Sword Homepage]
* [http://www.energizer.com/company/default.asp Company ownership]
* [http://www.shaving.com/default.asp?choosecountry Worldwide site]
* [http://www.wilkinsonswordgarden.co.uk/ Wilkinson Sword Garden Range Homepage]
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