Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Norman and Hill

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of 40 Foster Lane, Cheapside, London, EC2. Telephone: City 4590

Originators of Filofax.

1910 The Filofax organizer originated in the United States in 1910. It was invented by J. C. Parker and first produced by a Philadelphia company, Lefax. In its early days, the biggest customers were power plant engineers whose technical handbooks had grown too big to carry.

1921 A London printer and stationery marketer, Norman and Hill began importing the organizers, called Lefaxes. Several years later, after being persuaded by an enterprising typist, Grace Scurr, the London firm began to make the personal files itself under a name Ms. Scurr thought up, Filofax. Norman and Hill eventually took that name as its own.

The name, originally coined from the first name "File of Facts," represents the internationally famous product which was launched in 1921, as British Colonel Disney founded the company Norman and Hill Ltd, in London.

Based on the American "Organizer System" dating from World War One, Norman and Hill first marketed the Filofax time planner ring book.

The main purchaser of Filofax at first was the British army, immediately followed by the church and universities. Thereafter, journalists, judges and doctors also came to recognize the value of having all of their appointments and necessary information condensed into one folder. The folder became an essential element at the Queen's Military Academy Sandhurst. A "Troop Commander's Bible" was produced along with several other Filofax special additions.

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Loose-leaf Pocket Books in variety, with Insets for business and technical men, including Charts and Rulings for compiling and filing data from the pocket book. Ring Binders, Catalogue Covers, Trade Gift Books. (Stand No. PP.2) [1]

1930 The Filofax trademark was registered in 1930.

1940 The entire company in London was destroyed by a bomb attack, but the vital company information had been retained by Grace Scurr who had, on a daily basis, updated the company information into her personal Filofax Organizer, which she took home after work every day. As an expression of gratitude, Grace Scurr was then offered a position of manager.

1955 She resigned as president.

1976 Filofax fans, David and Lesley Collischon, started a company of their own in order to sell the brand by mail.

1980 It was only four years before the Collischons bought Norman and Hill and renamed it Filofax. They created the Filofax philosophy, and produced a brand new Organizer Collection: "practical, flexible, individual, and unique products." Indeed, the beginning of a giant trend which continues today.

1992 Lefax Ltd, the American-French producer of the similar "Lefax" product was bought out by Filofax.

2001 Filofax was acquired by Letts, forming Letts Filofax Group


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] The New York Times
  • [2] Filofax: A Brief History