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Dulux through the decades
Dulux since 1931: bringing colour to people’s lives
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1920s: History in the making

At the end of the First World War, a long-established firm of varnish makers, set up by the Naylor brothers, opened a factory on a 30-acre site in Slough. After a disasterous attempt to enter the wallpaper industry, they joined forces with Nobel Chemical Finishes, who – inspired by DuPont in the US – were exploring new paint processes and finishes. The two companies joined forces and overcame the challenges of Britain’s industrial depression, providing employees and their families with food as well as an income. This helped build a reputation for being one of the best companies in the country to work for.

 

1930s: ‘DuLux’ gets its name

In 1931, the Naylors, with the help of talented chemist H.H. Morgan, launched their first durable alkyd-based paint, based on the DuPont formulations, under the name ‘DuLux’ – a blend of ‘DuPont’ and ‘Luxury’. Initially, decorators were sceptical: how could something so easy to use last as long as its lead-based counterparts? But success quickly followed and, by the time the company had joined forces with ICI at the end of the decade, it employed 33,000 people and had achieved sales over £27 million.

 

1940s: Slough rises from the ashes

Although the factory was bombed twice between 1939 and 1945, and production pretty much ceased, the Second World War played a key role in the brand’s success. People noticed that buildings decorated with Dulux before the war looked 10 times better than those painted with any other product. Within four years, Dulux had become the country’s leading paint brand.

 

1950s: DIY becomes a thing

 

Keen to put years of austerity behind them, people started doing their own decorating, and women – who’d worked in traditional male industries during the war – used their new-found skills to do the painting themselves. To meet this rise in DIY, Dulux launched its first range for consumers.

 

1960s: Our mascot makes an appearance

Dulux was the first paint brand to advertise on television and, in 1961, the Old English Sheepdog made his debut. Legend has it the director’s dog, Dash, kept running on set to play with the child actors and the footage looked so good, he couldn’t bring himself to cut Dash’s scenes. And so an icon was born. Discover more here.

 

1970s-1990s: The changing face of colour

 

Having recently launched colour mixing to help people express themselves, tastes in the Seventies turned to tonal room schemes, with several shades of the same colour applied to walls, ceilings and woodwork. Gloss was king, and popular colours of the day included vivid shades like Poppy, Sultan, Lime Juice and Sunshine. The Eighties saw a move towards a more sophisticated palette of calming creams and whites, while the Nineties brought a wave of interest in paint effects and themed rooms, thanks to shows like Changing Rooms.

 

2000s: Driving innovation

It’s always been science that makes Dulux paints so successful and, staying true to its beginnings, the Noughties saw the launch of revolutionary products such as Light+Space, a paint that reflects double the amount of light to make small rooms look bigger. This was also the decade that saw AkzoNobel acquire ICI, making Dulux part of the largest surface-coating company in the world.

 

2010s: Our commitment to you 

On a continued mission to help customers achieve beautiful living spaces, in 2013, Dulux brought Colour of the Year to the UK and, a year later, launched the revolutionary Visualizer app. Our commitment to professionals saw the opening of the Dulux Training Academy in 2016, dedicated to teaching new skills to decorators of all levels. And in 2017, we opened the world’s most technologically advanced and sustainable paint manufacturing plant at Ashington, Northumberland, which has helped breathe life back into a community.

In fact, at Dulux, we’re continually looking for ways to improve people’s lives, which is why we’ve developed the Dulux Promise – our commitment to ensuring consistent quality that you can always rely on.