Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,518 pages of information and 233,949 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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July 1959.

of P. and O. House, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London, SW1. Telephone: Whitehall 6747. Cables: "Dufaycolour, London"

1936 Company founded for purpose of developing commercially the Dufaycolor and Cinecolor processes and amalgamating the various companies involved in the processes[1]:

  • Dufaycolor Ltd
  • Cinecolor Ltd, a Canadian company
  • Dufaycolor Corporation, a US company
  • Spicer-Dufay (British) Ltd

The Dufaycolor process had been developed by Dufaycolor Ltd and Spicer-Dufay with help from Ilford; it was protected by 312 patents. A new factory would shortly be opened in Elstree to make the colour reseau which had been supplied by Spicer-Dufay from its Sawston works up to that point. The film could be used in any camera (it was claimed) and would produce colour transparencies from which black and white pictures could be produced; a process for colour printing was under development. It would be supplied to both amateur and professional users. The company was negotiating with Ilford to emulsion, cut and pack the film.

The Cinecolor process was suitable for professional cinematographers only; it had been developed in Canada by Chromex Ltd in collaboration with Adam Hilger Ltd. The process was not yet working on a commercial basis.

1937 Public company incorporated. Sir Albert Dykes Spicer and Sydney Renoden Wycherley, both directors of Spicers, were also directors of Dufay-Chromex. Started trading. [2]

1937 Patent - Improvements in or relating to colour photography. [3]

1937 Ilford stopped marketing Dufaycolor; the responsibility reverted to Dufay-Chromex of Elstree, Hertfordshire.

1941 Patent - Improvements in or relating to protective spectacles. [4]

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for exhibits in Plastics Section and Photographic Section. Manufacturers of Sensitised Photographic Materials, Cameras, Optical Lanterns, Photographic Accessories, Photographic Filters, Colour Vision Products, Cellulose Acetate Film, Cellulose Plastics, "Dufaylite" Constructional Material, Electric Torches, Darts, etc. (Scientific and Optical Section - Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 778 and Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. D.1684) [5]

1958 Ewart Holdings, owners of Trix, collapsed. Dufay Ltd was a major creditor who acquired the assets of Trix and Precision Models.

By 1959 was known as Dufay Ltd (see advert)

1960 Dufay moved Trix production to Birmingham.

1961 Mr Marcel Martin, who controlled the Highgate Optical Manufacturing Co, and his associates acquired about half of the preference shares of Dufay[6]

1961 Dufay Ltd, photographic film and equipment makers, would need a drastic reorganisation of capital after heavy losses and write-down of stock; 2 acquisitions were under consideration; no dividend had been paid since 1946 on the ordinary shares[7]

1961 A subsidiary, Spicer-Dufay (British), had been renamed Trix Products; the managing director of Trix of Germany was appointed to its board[8]

c.1961 Poor sales lead to Dufay ending Trix production in order to save damaging the rest of the group; Trix was prepared for sale.

1962 Dufay would become an industrial holding company; Trix and Dufay would be disposed of; the Coronet camera subsidiary had recovered from the previous year's set-back; Polyfoto (England) was being reorganised[9]

1962 Trix was sold to Alvus Investments and Trading who planned to restart production in High Wycombe, but only the coach moulding tools were made.

1962 Acquired by Metropole Industries, headed by J. G. Gommes; drastic capital reorganisation was required; Polyfoto was being sold which would leave the company with assets to be used with the new businesses which would be put into the company[10]

1963 Acquired Tate Machine Tool Co, merchants and dealers in machine tools[11], Blick Time Recorders[12] and Actina, importers and distributors of photographic equipment[13]

Between 1963-5 Dufay acquired Unusual Electric Time and Telephone Systems Ltd.

1964 Acquired a Durham-based manufacturer of industrial and marine paints; the group consisted of G. A. Willis (Middlesbrough) of Aycliffe, Harrison S. Walton and Son of Bidford-on-Avon, and A. E. Onions, also of Bidford[14].

1964 Acquired the paints division of Clover Industries[15]

1964 Restarted dividends after 20 years. Acquired B. D. B. Engineers of Luton[16]

1964 Entered bidding for Wailes Group by offering a reverse take-over, whereby Dufay would inject its 4 paint companies into Wailes Dove - namely G. A. Willis (Middlesbrough), Harrison S. Walton and Son, A. E. Onions,and Frank Bookless and Co[17]

1965 G. A. Willis introduced a PVC coating material, Dufaycote, which could be applied as a paint, based on a coating for steel developed in 1958 for use by Dorman, Long and Co in a purpose-designed coating plant; the raw material was supplied by British Geon[18]

1965 The first shipment of Japanese cars (Daihatsus) to be marketed in the UK in volume would be sold by Dufay Birmingham[19] who would set up a distribution network[20]

1965 Agreed merger with Wailes Dove and Co to form a new company Dufay Bitumastic which would be mostly owned by Dufay shareholders; most of the income of the new company would come from paints[21]. Terms later revised[22]. British Paints and the National Coal Board made a counter-offer[23]. Dufay finally succeeded; they announced plans for expansion including a new factory[24]

1966 Dufay sold all its investments not concerned with paint[25]. Allan Elliott, MD of Dufay, and his family bought the recorder business to form Blick Time Recorder (Holdings) Ltd.

1968 Dufay's business model had been to buy paint from Japan which it sells directly. It had just completed a new factory at Shildon and bid to take-over International Paints[26] but this failed when a key manager left the company and criticised their figures, the Take-Over Panel intervened, and Courtaulds offered to make a counter-bid[27]

1968 Dufaylite was acquired (85 percent) by Wiles Group[28]

1985 British Tar Products made an agreed bid for Dufay Bitumastic[29]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Apr 29, 1937
  2. [1] British Film Institute
  3. [2] Wikipatents
  4. [3] Wikipatents
  5. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 406; and p87
  6. The Times, Jun 01, 1961
  7. The Times, Sep 08, 1961
  8. The Times, Oct 06, 1961
  9. The Times, Dec 05, 1962
  10. The Times, Dec 29, 1962
  11. The Times, May 06, 1963
  12. The Times, Sep 02, 1963
  13. The Times, Oct 22, 1963
  14. The Times, Jan 09, 1964
  15. The Times, Aug 31, 1964
  16. The Times, Nov 18, 1964
  17. The Times, Jun 10, 1964
  18. The Times, Jan 06, 1965
  19. The Times, May 25, 1965
  20. The Times, Jun 02, 1965
  21. The Times, Mar 08, 1965
  22. The Times, Jun 28, 1965
  23. The Times, Jul 01, 1965
  24. The Times, Jul 21, 1965
  25. The Times, Mar 09, 1966
  26. The Times, May 24, 1968
  27. The Times, Jun 20, 1968
  28. The Times, Jan 31, 1969
  29. The Times, Nov 05, 1985