Clothes brush

Case AIBDC : 0_6486

A duck shaped clothes brush from circa 1950s. The duck's head and neck form the handle of the brush which lifts out of the body shaped holder.

Chosen because, despite being a memorable object, the only thing we know for sure about this duck was that it was made in England.

Contributing agents

Ian Holdsworth, Sylvia Katz & Colin Williamson

What we wanted to know & what we found out

  • Designer: still wanted
  • Manufacturer: Versabrush, Slough, and Hughes Brushes, Slough
  • Date: on sale in USA in 1961
  • Materials: body, low density polyethylene; base, PVC; brush, cellulose acetate
  • Method: injection moulded

We have also found out that the brush is titled, Dandy Duck, that it was made in at least two colourways, and that Hughes Brushes also made brushes in the shape of penguins and swans. Was Dandy Duck the beginning of a whole aviary?

The case remains open. We are still looking for the designer, the date of first production, and we would like to know the link between Versabrush and Hughes Brushes. Slough Libraries have no information.

Evidence trail

  • Advertisement
  • Product labels
  • Personal expertise
  • More advertisements

The hunt


Agent Holdsworth found an American advertisement dated 1961 showing the clothesbrush. We had thought it was earlier but we now know that it was still in production then.


Clothes brush

Reference: Ward, P.1997, Fantastic Plastic, London: Apple Press, Page 32.

Product labels

Agent Holdsworth found two of these clothes brushes for sale on the internet, both with labels. Both give the title of the product as 'Dandy Duck' but one gives Versbrush, Slough, as the manufacturer and the other, Hughes Brushes, also of Slough.



Personal expertise

Agent Holdsworth then asked two friends, Sylvia Katz and Colin Williamson, to give their opinion of the materials and method used in the makeing of this product. They met and dicussed the issues and were in agreement that the body is made of low density polyethylene, the stand of PVC and the brush of cellulose accetate, all three injection moulded.

More advertisments

These advertisements provide more insight into products made by one of the manufacturers, Hughes Brushes. Could they have taken over Versabrush?



Moulded Plastics Trader, May 1956


Swan brush

Dated: November 1958. Reference:

The case remains open. We are still looking for the designer of this quirky product. Can you help?

Ashtray >