I have been looking for a set of Indian made boot brushes to add to my Indian made personal kit for quite some time. Indian brushes are quite distinctive so when a pair came up for sale in Greece I quickly purchased them and today we are going to take a closer look:
The most distinctive thing about these brushes is that they have a thin panel of contrasting wood attached to the rear with small brass pins:
These brushes have a number of markings stamped into the wood and marked on with ink. They each say ‘ALL BRISTLE’:
They are also dated 1940:
They also have an Indian inspectors mark in the form C/|\…, sadly these are very faintly stamped and very hard to photogrpah, although they are visible in person:
Other examples of these brushes I have seen were made by ‘Brushware Limited’ who were based in Cawnpore. The official history of Indian Supply has this to say about the company and brushware in general:
Brush-making industry existed in India before the war on a small scale. Brushware Limited, the largest brushmaking factory in India, responsible for ? per cent of India’s total manufactured brushware was engaging only 200 labourers and its sales for the six months ending May 1939 were not more than Rs 83,000. The market for bristles, with which brushes are made is centred in U.P [United Provinces] and the production of brushes is localised in Cawnpore, Agra and Bareilly…Besides Messrs. Brushware Limited, many smaller manufacturers have developed their productive capacity or gone into new types of production which used to be imported previously.
The labour force of Brushware Limited rose from the pre-war figure of 200 to 2000. The purchases made by the Supply Department on account of the Defence Services demands amounted to Rs. 17, 35 1/2 and 48 lakhs in 1942, 1943 and 1944 respectively.