A Century of Innovation
Ansell is one of the few companies in the hand protection industry that can trace its history back 100 years, celebrating a century of leadership and product innovations. The Ansell story spans the globe, bringing together companies and technologies to meet specific personal protective equipment needs within a wide range of industries.
Although Ansell has long been recognized for its high quality gloves and apparel, the company's history dates back to 1888 when John Boyd Dunlop, a prosperous, Scottish-born veterinary surgeon, invented the pneumatic bicycle tire in Belfast, Ireland. A group of Irish businessmen recognized the product's potential and worked with Dunlop to form a syndicate to launch "The Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company."
With bicycles the most popular form of transport and cycle racing the most popular sport, the pneumatic tire was an unqualified success. Yet, in 1899, the Dunlop Company faced financial difficulties and decided to sell its overseas holdings. A Canadian syndicate purchased the Australian interests and launched "The Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company of Australia," an Australian company.
Six years later, in 1905, the company made the first of many acquisitions by purchasing its main rival, the Barnet Glass Rubber Company. While examining the two companies' product lines, the decision was made to discontinue condom production and the machinery was discarded.
Eric Ansell, a Dunlop employee, took the machinery and set up his own company, The Ansell Rubber Company, in Melbourne, Australia, manufacturing toy balloons and condoms. The rest is history as Ansell made strategic acquisitions and expansions and invested in the research and development necessary to bring a number of industry "firsts" to market, earning the company its reputation as the industry innovator and largest manufacturer of protective gloves and clothing in the world.