Fuller Brush Company

Last updated
Fuller Brush Company
TypePrivately held subsidiary (since 2007) [1]
Founded1906 (1906)
Founder Alfred Fuller
Headquarters Lakewood, NJ,
Key people
Alfred Fuller
Howard Fuller
Avard E. Fuller
ProductsBranded and private label products for personal care as well as commercial and household cleaning [2]
Parent Sara Lee (1968–1989); Privately held (1989–1994); CPAC Inc. (1994–2012); Victory Park Capital and David Sabin (2012–2017); Galaxy Brush (2018–)
Website www.fuller.com

The Fuller Brush Company sells branded and private label products for personal care as well as commercial and household cleaning. It was founded in 1906 by Alfred Fuller. Consolidated Foods, now Sara Lee Corporation, acquired Fuller Brush in 1968. In 1991, the company was placed in private ownership but, in 1994, it became a subsidiary of CPAC Inc., [2] which from 20072012 was owned by the private equity group Buckingham Capital Partners. [1] From December 2012 through Dec 2017, the Fuller Brush Company was owned and operated by David Sabin and Victory Park Capital. Since January 2018, the Fuller Brush Company has been owned and operated by Galaxy Brush LLC, located in Lakewood, New Jersey.



Early years

Fuller Brush Company headquarters, c. 1930 to 1945 The Fuller Brush Co., Hartford, Conn (78040).jpg
Fuller Brush Company headquarters, c. 1930 to 1945

Alfred Carl Fuller began what was to become Fuller Brush Company in a basement shop in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1906, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut and founded the company. [3]

The company began with door-to-door sales of brushes of various sorts, including hairbrushes with a lifetime guarantee for which they are famous. [4]

In 1931, the establishment of the first of what became known as the Green River Ordinance led Fuller Brush to challenge the ordinance's limits on door-to-door sales; the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where on March 1, 1937, it dismissed the appeal "for want of a substantial federal question." [5]

In the mid 1930s, Fuller relocated from rented space on Union Place across from the New Haven RR station, to a purpose-built sprawling three-story brick factory and office complex on the north edge of Hartford, at 3580 Main St. World War II saw the company "cut its normal civilian output drastically to make brushes for the cleaning of guns". Fuller's son, Howard Fuller, became president of the company in 1943. [3]

After the war, Fuller added Daggett & Ramsdell, Inc.'s Débutante Cosmetics to its line of products, sold by a sales force of women, a strategy resurrected after a wartime attempt to have "Fullerettes" sell their core products. [3] Fuller had evidence that women could succeed at sales since Stanley Beveridge, who had left his position as Fuller's sales vice president in 1929, had by 1949 employed women as "dealers" to grow sales at his own company, Stanley Home Products, to $35 million, exceeding Fuller's sales for the first time. [6]

Fuller's oldest son Howard succeeded his father as president, serving until he and his wife Dora died in an auto crash in May, 1959. [4]

1959 to 1994

Advertisement, c. 1956 Suzy Parker - Only your Fuller Dealer can bring you Juvene, 1956.jpg
Advertisement, c. 1956

In 1959, Avard Ells Fuller, 44, the founder's younger son, became Fuller Brush's president. [7] Having long outgrown the Hartford location, in 1960 the company moved to a new, purpose-built campus on Long Hill St., East Hartford, Conn. That year, Alfred C. Fuller published his autobiography "A Foot In the Door"; the title described a salesman's technique in prolonging a conversation to turn it into a sale.

In 1966, Fuller Brush hired 17,500 women, motivated by the lack of qualified men (the unemployment rate was 3.8%) and the example set by Avon Products. [8]

Consolidated Foods, now Sara Lee Corporation, acquired Fuller Brush in 1968; [9] Avard Fuller retired a year later. [7] Office operations moved initially to Niles, Illinois, then relocated along with manufacturing and research to Great Bend, Kansas in 1973. [4]

By 1985, all of the company's sales were still generated door-to-door. [9] By the mid-1980s, however, in recognition of the decrease in the number of women at home during the day, Fuller Brush began introducing other sales channels beyond door-to-door. This included a mail-order catalog that sent out 10 million catalogs a year, and several outlet stores selling "slow-selling items, returned merchandise or slightly flawed goods". By mid-1989, 35% of that year's estimated $160 million in sales came from catalogs, with another 5% coming from its stores. [9] Later that same year, a group of investors from Kansas headed by Lee Turner, a trial lawyer, took Fuller private; by 1991 the company now known as Fuller Industries and led by Stuart A. Ochiltree had integrated its door-to-door and catalog business, with its 12,000 mostly part-time sales representatives receiving commissions for sales from either channel. [10]

CPAC subsidiary

In June 1994, Fuller, once again known as Fuller Brush Company, was acquired by CPAC Inc., a Leicester, New York-based manufacturer of photographic chemicals; CPAC took on the "heavy debt burden" accumulated while the company was private and whose annual sales, increasingly focused on chemicals, had shrunk to $24 million. [11]


In 2007, CPAC Inc. was acquired by Buckingham Capital Partners in a leveraged buyout. [1] In February, 2012, Fuller Brush Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [12] In December, 2012, Victory Park Capital and CEO, David Sabin, bought the iconic American company out of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The headquarters were moved from Great Bend, Kansas to Napa, California. [13]

2018 to present

In January 2018, Galaxy Brush of Lakewood, New Jersey, purchased the name of Fuller Brush, including all trademarks and patents. Galaxy Brush, now doing business as Fuller Brush, also acquired the iconic and very famous name brand and trademarks of Stanley Home Products. [14] Galaxy Brush has since returned Fuller Brush and Stanley Home Products manufacturing back to their respective roots in Great Bend, Kansas where many of the original products were made. Galaxy Brush has modernized the nostalgic brands of Fuller Brush and Stanley Home Products with a considerable social media presence.



The main factory for the Fuller Brush Company was located in East Hartford, Connecticut, during the 1960s,[ citation needed ] where Fuller's son Avard ran the company. It had moved from Hartford on the other side of the Connecticut River some years earlier. In front of the East Hartford plant was a large glass case with a large stuffed boar to represent the boar hair used in some of the original Fuller brushes.[ citation needed ]

The Research Division was there, led by Hank Whitman, along with the plastics molding operation. Fuller had a "private label" division, Charter Products, that sold duplicate products under other brand names chosen by the distributor.

The Industrial Division, under Verne Joy, was also at the East Hartford plant, where they made large motor-driven brushes for developing newspaper printing photo metal plates.[ citation needed ] All the mops were sewn at this plant. The perfuming operation was there also, including a large machine to detect what was in perfume made by other companies.[ citation needed ]

Avard's interest in boating resulted in experiments at the plant with plastic molding of port lights (windows) for boats, including full plastic hardware.[ citation needed ]

New York

The plastic bottle and toothbrush manufacturing operation was in Philmont, New York.[ citation needed ] According to Fuller's memoir, Fuller Brush distributed the Bristlecomb, a hairbrush introduced by the Mohawk Company in 1928. In 1942, Fuller Brush bought out the Mohawk Brush Company and subsequently all the hairbrushes and industrial floor brushes were manufactured at the Mohawk Plant in Albany, New York. [15]

Great Bend, Kansas

Since 1972, [16] Fuller brushes and over 2,000[ citation needed ] other Fuller products have been manufactured in Barton County, near Great Bend, Kansas.

Napa, California

Headquarters were moved from Kansas to California shortly after being purchased by David Sabin and Victory Park Capital, while the manufacturing remains in Great Bend, Kansas.

Former employees

Former employees include evangelist Billy Graham, who became a Fuller Brush salesman during the summer after high school, and outsold "every other salesman in North Carolina". [17] In his 1997 autobiography, Just As I Am , Graham describes in some detail his experiences selling Fuller brushes door-to-door. Ellen Barkin was "born in the Bronx to a father who worked as a Fuller Brush man". [18] Clifford Irving "was a Fuller Brush man in Syracuse." [19]

More recently, Groundlings Theater veteran Paul Reubens, of Pee-wee Herman fame, worked as a Fuller Brush salesman while attending California Institute of the Arts. [20]

Other former employees include Frank Gross, photographer Tom Leutwiler, Dennis Quaid, Dick Clark, J. Bruce Llewellyn (co-founder of 100 Black Men of America), Ed Mirvish, Jack Sensenbrenner, Kin Shriner, and Ed Stelmach. Jack Nicholson [ citation needed ] and Felicia Farr [ citation needed ] were also featured in a few pictures in "The Fuller Magazine." Broadcaster Lowell Green admitted during his April 24, 2014 program to selling Fuller Brushes in Montreal's Westmount area during his college days in the 1950s.

Related Research Articles

Alfred Fuller Canada-born American businessman

Alfred Carl Fuller was a Canadian-born American businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who was the original "Fuller Brush Man". He created the Fuller Brush Company, a multi-million dollar corporation.

Sales Activities related to the exchange of goods in a given time period

Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale.

Cosmetics Substances applied to the body to change its appearance or fragrance

Cosmetics are constituted mixtures of chemical compounds derived from either natural sources, or synthetically created ones. Cosmetics have various purposes. Those designed for personal care and skin care can be used to cleanse or protect the body or skin. Cosmetics designed to enhance one's appearance (makeup) can be used to conceal blemishes, enhance one's natural features, add color to a person's face and can be used to change the appearance of the face entirely to resemble a different person, creature or object. Cosmetics can also be designed to add fragrance to the body.

Mars, Incorporated is an American multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services, with US$33 billion in annual sales in 2015. It was ranked as the 6th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, United States, the company is entirely owned by the Mars family. Mars operates in five business segments around the world: Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Petcare, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience, the company's life sciences division.

Reeses Pieces

Reese's Pieces are a peanut butter candy manufactured by The Hershey Company; they are oblate spheroid in shape and covered in candy shells that are colored yellow, orange, or brown. They can be purchased in plastic packets, cardboard boxes, or cup-shaped travel containers. Reese's was originally invented by H.B. Reese, owner of The H.B. Reese Candy Company. The H.B. Reese Candy Company was merged with The Hershey Company in 1963.

Pepsodent is an American brand of toothpaste with the minty flavor derived from sassafras. The brand was purchased by Unilever in 1942 and is still owned by the company outside of the United States and Canada. In 2003, Unilever sold the rights to the brand in those countries to Church & Dwight.

The Bendix Corporation was an American manufacturing and engineering company which during various times in its 60-year existence (1924–1983) made automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, aircraft brakes, aeronautical hydraulics and electric power systems, avionics, aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions and computers. It was also well known for the name Bendix, as used on home clothes washing machines, but never actually made these appliances.


Door-to-door is a canvassing technique that is generally used for sales, marketing, advertising, evangelism or campaigning, in which the person or persons walk from the door of one house to the door of another, trying to sell or advertise a product or service to the general public or gather information. People who use this sales approach are often known as traveling salesmen, or by the archaic name drummer, and the technique is also sometimes called direct sales. A variant of this involves cold calling first, when another sales representative attempts to gain agreement that a salesperson should visit.

Tenneco is an American automotive components original equipment manufacturer and an aftermarket ride control and emissions products manufacturer. It is a Fortune 500 company that has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since November 5, 1999 under the symbol TEN. Tenneco, with headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois, United States

Helen of Troy Limited is an American publicly traded designer, developer and worldwide marketer of consumer brand-name housewares, health and home, and beauty products under owned and licensed brands. It is also the parent corporation of OXO International Ltd., Kaz, Inc., Steel Technologies, LLC, and Idelle Labs, Ltd, among others. The company is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, and its U.S. operations are headquartered in El Paso, Texas. The company is named after the historical or mythic figure Helen of Troy.

Gerald "Jerry" Macaluso is an American toy designer, sculptor, film producer, and entrepreneur.

The Hartford US-based insurance and investment company

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., usually known as The Hartford, is a United States-based investment and insurance company. The Hartford is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in its namesake city of Hartford, Connecticut. It was ranked 160th in Fortune 500 in the year of 2020. The company's earnings are divided between property-and-casualty operations, group benefits and mutual funds.

Mentholatum American maker of non-prescription health care products

The Mentholatum Company, Inc. is a maker of non-prescription health care products founded in 1889 by Albert Alexander Hyde in the United States. It was bought out by Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese health care company, in 1988. The Mentholatum Company is known for its top three products, Mentholatum Ointment, Mentholatum Deep Heating Rub, and Mentholatum Lip Care. The Mentholatum Building in Buffalo, New York was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Vita Craft Corporation

Vita Craft Corporation is a manufacturer of multi-ply stainless steel cookware and other cookware products. The cookware is manufactured and sold in the United States, but the majority of sales are from the Asian and European markets. Japan alone accounts for about 80% of Vita Craft's revenue. In Asia and Europe, Vita Craft is sold in department stores. In the United States, Vita Craft is sold door-to-door, at food-related events and conventions using a direct selling model. Imura International USA Inc. is the parent company of Vita.

Stride Rite, formerly the Stride Rite Corporation and stylized in all lowercase, is an American children's footwear company. The company markets Stride Rite products globally through brand licensee Vida Shoes International.

Joe Louis Dudley, Sr. is an American businessman and hair-care entrepreneur. He is the president and chief executive officer for Dudley Products Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of hair and skin care products for the African American community.

The Fuller Brush Man is a 1948 American comedy film starring Red Skelton as a door-to-door salesman for the Fuller Brush Company who becomes a murder suspect.

Univar Solutions Inc. is a global chemical and ingredients distributor and provider of value-added services. The company was founded in 1924 as Van Waters & Rogers. It was also formerly known as Royal Vopak and later Univar. The company changed its name to Univar Solutions following the acquisition of Nexeo Solutions in 2019.

Mason Pearson Brushes is a British company specialising in the manufacture of hairbrushes. In the mid 1860s a Yorkshireman called Mason Pearson came to work at the British Steam Brush Works, in the East End of London. In 1885 he invented the "pneumatic" rubber-cushion hairbrush which became the company's primary product and is still on sale, little changed from the original design. The "Junior" model, which has a mix of boar nylon bristles, has been called "the Ferrari of brushes."

Rytec Corporation

Rytec Corporation is an American manufacturer of high-cycle, high-speed doors for industrial and commercial applications. Headquartered in Jackson, Wisconsin, Rytec is considered a North American leader in the development, manufacture and sale of high-performance doors.


  1. 1 2 3 "CPAC Inc. and Buckingham Capital Partners II, L.P. Complete Merger". Press release. CPAC Inc. April 16, 2007. Archived from the original on August 17, 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  2. 1 2 "Fact Sheet". CPAC Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  3. 1 2 3 "Business & Finance: Fuller's Fillies". Time. July 12, 1948. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  4. 1 2 3 "FullerBrushCo".
  5. "Railroad Workers Demand Protection of Their Daytime Sleep". Green River, Wyoming . Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  6. "The Brush Man". Time. January 16, 1950. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  7. 1 2 "Avard E. Fuller, 76, Fuller Brush Executive". The New York Times. October 27, 1992. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  8. "Jobs: A Good Man Is Hard to FindSo They Hire Women". Time. November 4, 1966. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  9. 1 2 3 Berg, Eric N. (May 18, 1989). "Fuller Brush Tries New Approach". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  10. Barmash, Isadore (February 13, 1991). "Fuller Industries Picks Executive From Avon". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  11. "CPAC Agrees to Acquire Fuller Brush". The New York Times. June 17, 1994. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  12. Associated Press. "Historic door-to-door retailer Fuller Brush files for bankruptcy protection". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 February 2012.[ dead link ]
  13. HUFFMAN, JENNIFER. "St. Helena man buys Fuller Brush, gives it Napa home".
  14. "Galaxy Brings Back Fuller Brush Brand". 19 December 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  15. Fuller, Alfred C. as told to Hartzell Spence (1960). A Foot in the Door, p.220. McGraw-Hill, New York.
  16. "History".
  17. "Billy Graham: A New Kind of Evangelist". Time. October 25, 1954. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  18. Witchel, Alex (April 22, 2011). "Ellen Barkin Is No Uptown Girl". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  19. "The Fabulous Hoax of Clifford Irving". Time. February 21, 1972. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  20. Gertler, T. (February 2, 1987). "The Pee-wee perplex". Rolling Stone.

Further reading