During my childhood summers, my mother took my two sisters and me to spend a short holiday at my grandmother’s country home. She had a great Venetian dresser with a vanity in her bedroom. On top, she would keep an antique silver brush that had belonged to her grandmother.
Every night would brush my sisters’ hair with it. When she died, the lovely heirloom was passed to my mother and then to my older sister. This beautiful silver brush—part of my childhood memories—was created by the prestigious British firm Kent Brushes in the late 19th century.
Founded in 1777, in Hertfordshire, southeast England, Kent Brushes is one of Britain’s oldest companies with its origins during the reign of King George III. Its beginnings are rooted in the middle of the Industrial Revolution.
Ironically, the company experienced a moment of splendor during World War II when the War Office commissioned the production of thousands of brushes for the troops. The Kent Brushes Kits given to the soldiers included a comb, a toothbrush, a shaving brush, and brushes for clothing and shoes.
During World War II, the company secretly produced shaving brushes with maps and compasses hidden in the handle to send to the British prisoners and help them find their way home in case they were able to escape.
Until 1932—and after six generations— Kent Brushes was a family business, but with the death of the last of the three Kent brothers, the factory was acquired by Eric LH Cosby, owner of Cosby Brushes Ltd, who created a partnership with GB Kent & Sons. To lead this new phase in company’s long history, the Cosby family has brought a management style that is both creative and dynamic.
Kent Brushes still boasts the quality and craftsmanship that has characterized the firm—238 years after its foundation. Even in these times when everything is made quickly and in mass, the company is proud to produce many of its brushes entirely by hand.
Today Kent Brushes manufactures a unique selection of hair and tooth brushes, as well as makeup and shaving brushes, which can come in any style, texture or length. The quality and beauty of their products have earned them the Royal Warrant of the British Crown, awarded to recognize the unique skills of small companies that produce products for the royal household.
Kent Brushes is one of the few companies in the world that has the human resources needed to replace old brush bristles. They work with a professional silversmith who can repair any damage to the back or the sides of their products.
Kent Brushes has placed its products in the world’s most famous stores and distributes them to over 50 countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Japan and most European countries. ■