Simms Lather Brushes & Some History

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by mvd, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    I am in the middle of restoring and/or reknotting two Simms Brushes and thought to get some history together. So here are a few posts on the T.S. Simms Company.

    From the website

    Our History
    Thomas Stockwell Simms
    The Simms Company had its beginnings in 1866 when Thomas Stockwell Simms, an American civil war veteran, invested his soldiers back pay and bonus in a small brush and broom operation in Portland, Maine. This fledgling enterprise was enticed to move in 1872 to Saint John, New Brunswick which at the time was a bustling port city, world famous for shipbuilding.

    Thomas Simms was a remarkable man who persisted in the face of many trials and tribulations ranging from the loss of two wives to a disastrous fire of the factory. Despite all of this, he never faltered and the business forged ahead.

    He travelled the world and was one of the first brushmakers to visit China in the early 1900s and buy bristle directly from there. Also, he was active in the lay missionary movement. As testimony to his notable efforts and commitment in this latter respect, the Simms Memorial Baptist Church in India continues to this day with a stronger congregation than ever.

    Lewis Wesley Simms
    The founder’s son, Lewis Wesley Simms took over running the Company upon his fathers death in 1908, and served as President for the next half century. LW was a dynamic man with a commanding presence. He built on the foundation laid by his father expanding the company from regional to national stature and promoting the development of automated brushmaking equipment. He gained national prominence with the industry and Canadian business scene. He had the notable distinction of being President of both the Canadian Manufacturing Association and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

    He was inducted posthumously into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hardware Houseware Manufacturing Association‘s Industry Hall of Fame. L.W. Simms has been characterized as a visionary leader in business and employee relations.

    Mr. Simms became President of T.S. Simms at the age of 24 following his father’s death in 1908. Within three years he was able to double sales making Simms one of North America’s pre-eminent broom and brush applicator manufacturers. L.W. as he was known soon became an advocate for business reform across Canada, traveled extensively throughout North America extolling the virtues of free trade, and campaigned for better treatment of local manufacturers through the Maritime Freight Rates Act. At the time of his death in 1957, he was the only one to have served as President of both the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Manufacturers Association. He was a founding member of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and President of both the Saint John and Maritime Provinces Boards of Trade. During his career, Mr. Simms was a member of the Select Committee responsible for drafting the New Brunswick Workmen’s Compensation Act and was credited with implementing many employee benefits well ahead of their common acceptance and application. Mr. Simms was recently inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame.”

    Thomas Stockwell Simms II
    Assuming the presidency following his fathers passing in 1957, Thomas Stockwell Simms II was at the helm during a period of major developments including the establishment of a machinery division, the acquisition of the Toronto based Boeckh Company a well established Canadian paint brush firm: and Simms association with Mosley-Stone, the leading paint applicator firm in England. Aside from these major accomplishments, he was highly regarded by the Company employees for his friendliness and the personal interest he took in each one of them. He retired in the early 70s and passed away in 1998.

    Thomas Stockwell Simms III
    The great grandson of the founder, Thomas Stockwell Simms III, carried on the traditions of quality and integrity on which the Company was founded. As well, the Company has positioned itself well for the future with a seasoned stable workforce, depth of management, colourful, effective merchandising, substantial plant capacity through investments in “state of the art” equipment, and strong emphasis on innovation and new product development.

    Today, our head office, customer service, marketing and sales are located in Saint John, NB. Our manufacturing and warehouse facility is in Erin, Ontario.

    The company’s success, in no small measure, can be accredited to its reputation for reliability and business ethics and its record of quality and service.
  2. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    The factory.

    1882 Factory Employees



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  3. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    Some advertisements:

    20190211_150656.jpg 20190211_150721.jpg 20190211_150902.jpg 20190211_150833.jpg

    From a catalogue

    Screenshot_20180702-191154.jpg Screenshot_20190211-144206.jpg
  4. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    My four finished brushes and two in-progress. Since the black and cream versions are fairly common, and I want some variety, I am painting the base.
  5. poppi

    poppi Well-Known Member

    Most enjoyable read and really fine looking brushes
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  6. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

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  7. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool ..
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  8. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    Brush Complete. Now I am looking forward to seeing how this 23mm TGN Silvertip performs. I have never tried a Silvertip before, but their 2-band is good so far.

  9. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool looking brush, nicely done..
    mvd likes this.
  10. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned above, I wanted something different from the black/cream look, so I tried painting the base of one of my Simms brushes. I also used heat to gently lift of the $1.50 price tag and epoxy it to the newly painted base. Then I added a clear coat for protection...

    ...and then the clear coat wrinkled and destroyed the sticker, the top coat, and the primer coat. It was not a happy moment.

    So I took it back to the original state and tried again. This time I skipped the primer and clear coat. Also, no more price sticker, sadly.

    I finished it up today and now have a blue/black Simms brush. I lettered the logo with white Testors paint and used a 24mm Silk Smoke from APShaveco.

    I also went back and used rub 'n buff to letter the green/black brush in gold.

    Finally, I was inspired by @Enrico to try a crack repair on another Simms brush I have. I used rub 'n buff with epoxy and raised the crack line up a bit. I don't know if I like what I did here, so I may not go forward with replacing the knot. I am not sure it looks good.

    Grabbed a few more Simms brushes from the ole auction site, so I will eventually have a few more to work on.

    Here are some pics

  11. Ijustmissedthe50s

    Ijustmissedthe50s The Warnee

    Some seriously nice restoration work and sweet brushes! Thanks for sharing.
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  12. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    :happy096: Great restorations ... I really like the blue and the short green one!

    Cracks are a real challenge and a lot of work! That said it's only by doing that I learned. Next time I have one I'll break it down step by step.
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  13. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    So, in my quest to buy more Simms brushes to restore, this website came up. It is an entry from the Museum of Healthcare, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It is a bit morbid, perhaps, as a historical entry, but hey, it makes a nice companion to the psyco-tech histories. I like the clinical description of the brush. Maybe we need to replace the "safety razors" forum with "Hair removal-instrumentation." I hope the owner of the brush faired ok in life.

    Accession Number
    Rockwood / Kingston Psychiatric Hospital / Providence Continuing Care Centre Collection
    Diagnostic & Treatment Artifacts
    MeSH Heading
    Hair Removal -- instrumentation
    Hygiene -- instrumentation
    Skin Care
    Shaving brush, which consists of a cylindrical handle, with an orange bone base with a flat bottom, tapering then flaring and attached to a cylindrical, slightly flared ebony body with a rounded top and a round opening; from this opening, natural hair bristles extend to form a brush with a rounded tip.
    Number Of Parts
    Used at the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital
    circa 1955
    Date Remarks
    Based on date on documents found in case
    bone: orange
    wood: black
    hair: yellow; brown
    Imprinted in the ebony near the opening with the bristles: "Simms"
    Permanent Location
    Storage Room 0010
    Dimension Notes
    Length 10.9 cm x Diam. 3.7 cm
    Condition Remarks
    The bone and ebony handle was intact, and there were no cracks or chips; there was minor breakage of bristles, but most bristles were intact.
    Copy Type
    Reference Types
    Reference Comments
    C. Cox, retired KPH RN; CD #4
    Research Facts
    Used by patient and barber at KPH, a veteran; arrived with artifacts 000.003.282-.291 and .293-.297
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  14. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    The other reason I posted the above history is that the same type of brush came up for auction. It is an odd shape with a bottom half that is smaller than the top half. I'm looking forward to restoring this brush as well as the white one I also just received. I am thinking synthetic horse hair for the white brush and unsure about the other one.


  15. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    My Simms collection is slowly getting larger. Almost finished the two above plus another one I grabbed a while back.

    Today I picked up another one. Sometimes, the knot removal goes a little better than expected! The pliers pulled this one out wholesale

    The only thing about this brush is that I am a bit stumped about what would look good with the yellow base. What about a Maggard's plisson/plissoft style synthetic? Ideas welcome.

  16. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    My two most recent Simms restores. The orange-bottomed one has a "before" photo above, but I forgot to take one of the green-bottomed one.

    In the orange, I have a 24mm Maggards SHD bulb, and in the green I have a TGN 24 mm Grade A Silvertip Fan. I set the TGN a touch lower than I typically like to because it seemed a bit floppy and I hope to give it a bit of backbone anyhow. I also notice that the TGN silvertip knots seem to have less loft than the two band knots--though they are only marketed as having a 2mm difference. Maybe it is my imagination.

    I love my TGN 2-band and the regular TGN Premium Silvertip knots so I hope the Maggards SHD and the TGN Grade A Silvertip Fan are just as good. Based on how all of them perform, I will decide on something for my rubberset 400.

    One knot I haven't tried yet is a High Mountain White....maybe in the future. I am basically using my interest in restoration and Simms brushes as a way to try different knots--such a great hobby, imo, to return something to a state of use and get enjoyment from both the process and the end product.

  17. brit

    brit in a box

    very nice sir..
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  18. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    Great job!

    mvd likes this.
  19. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

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  20. mvd

    mvd Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone!

    Here is one more. The "after" pick of the beige one above. It has a 22mm synthetic horse knot from Maggard's.


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