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21 July, 2013

Tools of the Trade - July

July’s Tools of the Trade come from R. Russell Brush Manufacturers, a family business with over 160 years experience in brushmaking.

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From this company we sell a selection of handmade all-natural bristle brushes, including a Banister Brush and a Clothes Brush - available online - and an Indoor Broom and a long-handled Cobweb Brush, available in our Redchurch Street store.

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That august chronicler of London life the Gentle Author has written about the history of R. Russell on the Spitalfields Life blog, so to learn more about the history of the company and the six generations of brush-making Russells please take the time to visit this fascinating site. In the meantime Robert Russell will take us through the tools involved in the manufacturing process. 

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“The plastic cup is used for hand mixing the epoxy cement. If only a small amount is required we use this cup, if we need a larger amount it is dispensed via a cement mixing machine. The knife is used to wipe the plastic cup of any excess dribbles when pouring.”

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“The cardboard flapper is then used for patting down the filaments of the brush into the cement.”

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“The blue cylinder is a wrap of a polyester material, used for brushes in food environment applications, such as pastry brushes etc.”

Russell make a huge variety of brushes for many different applications, but all of the brushes for Labour and Wait are made with natural bristle.

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“Finally, the comb is just used to tease out loose strands which for what ever reason haven’t penetrated the cement.”

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R. Russell’s long history as a brushmaking company was threatened by the growing availability of cheap mass-manufactured brushes from the far east, but in recent years they have found that their high-quality hand-made brushes have found an appreciative audience amongst discerning customers. There will always be a place in the home for quality products, and so we are proud to sell the Russell brushes, each one branded with the proud slogan “MADE IN ENGLAND”.

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Our thanks go to Alan and Robert Russell, and to the Gentle Author for allowing us to use the Spitalfields Life photographs.

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