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Company History

From little things big things grow. That was certainly the case for Eric Norman Ansell, whose safety supplies company was born out of a condom-making machine.

Eric Ansell was called upon in 1905 to dismantle such a machine at the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company in Melbourne, Australia, after Dunlop decided to stop condom production. 

Ansell saw an opportunity and made the most of it, setting up the condom machine in his small, rented house nearby.

The expanding Ansell safety supplies and work wear business started to manufacture balloons in 1919 and surgical, household and work safety gloves in 1925.

Eric Ansell's two sons, Lloyd and Harvey, soon joined the business and went on to jointly run Ansell for more than 40 years.

During World War II, the Ansell Rubber Company increased its research into synthetic rubber to produce gas masks, surgeon safety gloves and meteorological balloons in support of the War effort.

1950 to 1969

  • Harvey and Lloyd Ansell perfect a largely automated machine which produces 450 work wear gloves an hour, making the slow process of manually dipping and drying the safety supplies virtually obsolete.
  • Brian Ansell, son of Lloyd, travels to Europe to investigate new markets for personal protective equipment. He appoints safety work wear sales agents in Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy.
  • In 1960 Ansell makes its first acquisition, NuTex, the company's main Australian competitor.
  • Harvey Ansell creates the world's first disposable surgical safety glove.
  • Ansell is bought by Dunlop Australia (formerly Pacific Dunlop - now Ansell Limited) in 1969.
  • Disposable surgical gloves are created by Harvey Ansell.

1970 to 1989

  • The international Ansell safety products sales team racks up record workplace health orders. On their first visit to South Korea, Ansell receives an order for a million work safety gloves.
  • With delays in shipping products from Australia, Ansell opens a safety supplies plant in Melaka, Malaysia, close to where the latex for work wear products is harvested.
  • In 1974 Ansell glove sales are $12.2 million, rising to $28.6 million in safety supplies in 1979.
  • New Ansell safety product factories are built in Sri Lanka and Thailand.
  • With the acquisition of Akwell in Alabama in 1981, Ansell becomes the world's premier medical gloves manufacturer and a major supplier of condoms.
  • Ansell purchases Pacific Polymers in Oregon in 1983, Apair Gloves in the UK in 1984 and plants for safety supplies in Mexico, Germany, France, Malaysia and the United States in 1986.
  • In 1989 Ansell purchases Edmont, increasing the size of the company by 50 per cent. That same year, due to the tyranny of distance, Ansell closes safety work wear plant operations in Australia.

 1990 to now

  • Ansell adds CPP, Labortoire Degan, Perry, and Golden Needles Knitting to its corporate family.
  • The Ansell company headquarters are moved to Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1997 to be close to many of its safety supplies operations.
  • Ansell creates health consulting services, helping healthcare administrators improve their efficiency in buying hand safety work wear.
  • AnsellCares is established, a research program into latex sensitivity and the education of the wider medical community on this.


For more information on Ansell's company history, click here for a detailed history.

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