G B Kent & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of brushes since the eighteenth century, is one of the oldest established companies in Great Britain.
Kent Brushes was founded in 1777 by William Kent in the reign of George III. We hold a pre-eminent place in the history of brush making, with an unbroken record of excellence in the quality of our production, which has been recognised by the granting of Royal Warrants for nine reigns.
The Kent family continued to run the company for six generations until 1932 when the last of the three Kent brothers passed away. Then Mr Eric L.H Cosby, owner of Cosby Brushes Ltd, entered into an association with G.B Kent & Sons. This started a new chapter in Kent’s long history, and since then, Kent Brushes has been under the creative and dynamic direction of the Cosby family.
Kent Brushes was founded in 1777. William Kent establishes his company, GB Kent and Sons Ltd, in London, the same year that groundbreaking research into the discovery of oxygen was published. The business was founded, remarkably, more than 25 years before the invention of the train and the bicycle, and even before iconic landmarks such as Big Ben.
KENT BRUSHES TIMELINE
Kent Brushes is Founded
William Kent establishes his company, GB Kent and Sons Ltd, in London, the same year that groundbreaking research into the discovery of oxygen was published. The business was founded, remarkably, more than 25 years before the invention of the train and the bicycle, and even before iconic landmarks such as Big Ben.
Kent Brushes has had the honour of holding a Royal Warrant for nine consecutive serving monarchs. 1837 is the year that Queen Victoria came to the throne, a position she would hold for more than 60 years before her death in 1901.
Full Steam Ahead
The advent of steam power was one of the hallmarks of the Industrial Revolution, and Kent Brushes was one of the first factories to harness it to power its machines. By 1882, Kent Brushes had 600 employees, with more than a quarter of them dedicated to making toothbrushes.
On The Road
The turn of the 20th century saw the first cars appearing on British roads, and Kent Brushes was quick to latch on to this new form of transport. We were one of the first businesses to start using motorised delivery vehicles, getting our brushes to customers quicker than ever before.
Assisting in World War I
The outbreak of World War I saw the country unite in the war effort, and Kent Brushes played its part, supplying hundreds of thousands of brushes for the War Office. The brushes formed a key part of a soldier’s kit, featuring a hairbrush, toothbrush, shaving brush, shoe-polishing brush and button brush.
The Cosby Family Takes The Reins
One of the biggest events in Kent Brushes’ history takes place in 1932. Having run the company for six generations, the last of the three Kent brothers passes away, and the Eric Cosby buys the business. They have run the company ever since, taking it into the 21st century.
New Royal Warrant
Our reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned in 1952, and three years later Kent Brushes becomes the proud recipient of the Royal Warrant as Brushmakers to Her Majesty. Kent Brushes remains the only Royal Warrant Holder for hairbrushes.
Alan Cosby Joins Kent Brushes
The late 1960s saw a key personnel change, with Alan Cosby, part of the Cosby family that took over Kent Brushes in 1932, join the business. Alan is the current Managing Director and Chairman of Kent Brushes, and is the grandson of Eric Cosby.
Introducing The Headhog
Kent Brushes has more than 250 products to choose from, but none has been more popular than our Headhog. We launched this best-selling brush in 1974, and it has proven incredibly popular. With its air-cushioned head and non-scratch nylon quills, it’s our best-seller for a good reason!
Mo Combs for Movember
The Movember awareness campaign has raised nearly £500 million since its launch, and Kent Brushes got involved in 2013. We sold a staggering 100,000 handmade ‘Mo Combs’, raising valuable funds for the charity and keeping men’s moustaches perfectly groomed in the process.
Queen's Award for Enterprise
One of the most prestigious years in our history, 2017 saw Kent Brushes receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, in recognition of our innovative designs and success in overseas markets. Not only that, but we also made the Financial Times’ Top 1000 list that marks the fastest-growing companies in Europe.
Approaching 250 Years of Trading
As we head towards our 250th anniversary, the future looks bright for Kent Brushes. Our products are available in more than 50 countries worldwide, we use sustainable materials for many of our brushes, and we have an exciting range of innovative new products to announce very soon – watch this space…
Today, Mr Alan H.L Cosby, grandson to Eric Cosby, is the Chairman and Managing Director. The company headquarters moved from London to their existing factory in Apsley, Hertfordshire on the 6th February 1904, and remains there to this day.
The company continues to retain the craftsmanship and unprecedented quality that is Kent’s reputation. Even in today’s fast moving, mass-produced assembly, we are proud to still be manufacturing many of their original brushes by hand.
Nevertheless, we are committed to developing and enhancing our products with every step they take. We harness the latest hi-tech manufacturing processes, whilst building on the time-honoured traditional methods to create the world’s finest example of each and every brush that leaves our factory.