Firwood Celebrating 90 Years In Manufacturing Quality Paints

Posted in Firwood News Update by Firwood Paints Ltd on October 15th 2015
When back in 1925 Wray Wallen formed the then Firwood Paint and Varnish Company he would have never been able to predict how the world of paints and coatings would change in the future. After initially setting up business in the Firwood area of Bolton, home of the Samuel Crompton inventor of the spinning mule the machine used for the spinning of cotton yarn, the factory then moved to its current site at Victoria Works Oakenbottom Road Bolton.

Firwood Celebrates Its 90th Birthday

Utilising a former weaving mill production was initially focused on paints for building maintenance, the linoleum industry and protective coatings for steel work. Traditional pigments were used including ultramarine blue, lead chromates, calcium plumbate and red lead. With the two sons of the founder now working in the business Firwood Paint & Varnish Company Ltd remained a family owned business.

With the onset of the Second World War Firwood Paints became a significant supplier of paints and coatings for the defence industry. This remains a significant but specialist area of the Firwood product range to this day. Production increased dramatically during this difficult period with some staff designated as being in reserved occupations working long hours at the factory whilst their colleagues volunteered or were conscripted into the forces. Raw material shortages required re formulation of products to ensure continuity of supply.

Post war Firwood re-established their market position with particular emphasis on industrial paints and maintenance paints. Firwood became well regarded for their expertise in coatings for metal packaging, high temperature resisting paints and maintenance paints. In the 1970’s the current Managing Director Mr Martin Wallen joined the business and significant changes were made to production methods with the replacement of old ball mills by more modern horizontal bead mill technology used for the grinding and dispersion of pigments.

In the 1980’s Firwood began the development of automated tinting systems enabling the offer of a much wider range of colours to customers and dramatically reducing the lead time for delivery of products. New product development remained an essential part of the business and in the 1990’s new water borne coatings and lead free industrial paints were manufactured for the first time.

With the building of a new laboratory facility in 2002-03 product development focused on the reduction of VOC’s in solvent borne paints, along with an emphasis on the replacement of toxic chemicals where possible for the protection of both employees and customer’s health. Lead chromates were replaced in all Firwood products so that they were one of the first industrial floor paint companies to offer a completely lead free range of products.

Firwood remain a family owned business and are committed to a more sustainable future. The company’s loyal staff have a long track record of dedicated service with some members of staff having been with the company for over 40 years’ service.

The trend to use more water based coatings has opened up new markets for Firwood products, Firwood industrial floor paints are approved to international standards for fire resistance and new European standards for indoor air quality. Exports are a significant part of current business and Firwood Paints are to be found in the 6 key continents of the world.

With 90 years of experience in the manufacture of high quality paints performance paints Firwood Paints looks forward to celebrating its centenary in 2025. We remain grateful for the support from our stakeholders, our staff and most importantly our customers who we seek to serve in a professional and friendly manner.

Firwood – The UK’s Number One Supplier Of Industrial Floor Paints

This guide will help you ensure that you have undertaken the correct procedures when preparing to paint a room. For more information about any of Firwood’s products including the professional range of industrial floor paints please get in touch today by calling 01204 525231 or email websales@firwood.co.uk


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