Elastoplast, Cods Liver and Nivea

T J Smith opened a chemist shop in Hull in 1856 as a 30 year old member of the newly formed British Pharmaceutical Society. An early product was the Dark brown, fishy smelling Cod Liver Oil made from Hull fish . Indeed he sold this and a progressively refined version from Newfoundland and Norway to Guys Hospital and Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital in London. A small part of the early business was supplying bandages and wound dressings.

By 1896 and in poor health he invited his 22 year old nephew Horatio Nelson Smith (named after TJ’s father)  to join the company and it became T J Smith and Nephew until it becoming a limited company in 1907.  Having outgrown its premises in North Churchside it moved to Neptune Street and shifted its production away from cod liver oil in favor of bandages. Horatio signed a contract with the Turkish government in 1911 after the outbreak of the war with Bulgaria when numbers employed reached 54 and this grew rapidly during the 1914-18 war when a manufacturing plant was also opened in Canada. Health and Safety legislation helped save the company through the depression requiring companies to stock First Aid materials.

Health Care Products

Innovative products have been at the forefront of Smith + Nephew’s business since the start. Elastoplast often thought of as generic adhesive backed sticking plaster was an S&N trademarked product. They were also pioneers of Gypsonia a ready to use Plaster of Paris bandage. A new manufacturing line was later known for producing cellulose sanitary towels, which had been developed to cope with the scarcity of cotton S&N sold them under the trade name Lilia, which had originally referred to an industrial cellulose towel product. S&N’s good fortune is illustrated by Nivea brand moisturizing cream. Overseas rights for the Nivea brand of moisturizing cream passed to Smith & Nephew with the acquisition of Herts Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in 1951. Soon it contributed almost as much as Elastoplast bandages to S&N’s consumer sales. In 1992, Beiersdorf bought back the rights for what was estimated to be the largest toiletry brand in the world. Smith & Nephew continued to earn a 17 percent royalty on U.K. Nivea sales without having to spend any money on advertising. In the 1960s, the brand was extended with “Nivea Lotions” and an upscale skin care line known as “Nivea Visage” .

Currently Smith + Nephew employ 12,000 people in over 30 countries and are internationally renown for hip and knee  Orthopedic replacements and Advanced wound management amongst other modern Healthcare products.

A great Yorkshire company that is doing a good and necessary job.

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