Rubberset 203 Butterscotch (VB15)

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The Rubberset company began making brushes around 1887 and began advertising them in the mainstream media around 1905. 

Andrew Albright Sr. was a farmer who had a vision for covering horse harness trimmings with hard rubber. His idea was met with great skepticism as the popular and accepted covering based on longevity and durability was leather. Ultimately, after a lot of experimenting, he found a way and patented it in 1873. This same method would work to fix bristles permanently on shaving and paint brushes. Andrew Sr. died in 1905 a successful and wealthy man.

Andrew Allbright Jr. took over the company after his father's death and decided to focus on the brush division as an area for business growth even though the profit margin was very small. Sales volume would be the key to financial success. Like his father and namesake, he was a visionary and saw what the emerging automobile market was doing to the horse and buggy industries and could see a demand for consumer shaving brushes, not just barber ones, as home shaving became common place with the popularity of the brand new Gillette disposable safety razors. He organized a contest with his employees on what to call the brush division and the winner was "Rubberset". Two months after his father's death he started using this as a company name. It was still a division of the parent company "Rubber and Celluloid Harness Trimmings Company". He launched huge advertising campaigns that took years to recoup the investment. It paid off in multiples and was very bold for the day. He was President of the company until 1929. This is the beginning of the Great Depression and he lost the Presidency in a reorganization to Elizabeth (Albright) Spurr, who ran the company from 1929 to 1934

Two months before Elizabeth passed away she sold the company that her father had founded to Bristol-Myers. No doubt the success of the Rubberset toothbrush was a primary draw. The tooth brushes we take for granted today were state of the art at this time. Oral hygiene had taken a leap into the future.


Bristol Myers sold the company to Sherwin-Williams in 1956. The patents for the Rubberset paint brushes, particularly rolling brushes, were cutting edge and likely were the primary draw. Sherwin-Williams still owns the company today and has phased out shaving brushes over the years. Sherwin-Williams changed the Rubberset logo in 1956 and a similar version is still used today. This logo is often used to date brushes made after 1956.

 

This butterscotch beauty has been revived with a 21 mm Best badger knot. The brush stands 110 mm tall and weighs 66 grams. It is a bit heavier than the original would have been as we filled the plastic handle with resin to ensure it is more resistant to damage. The brush handle was made in two parts with the waist section measuring 29 mm in diameter while the base stands 34 mm wide.