On the 8th October 1886, Francis Ball entered into partnership with William Henry Cowburn, ink manufacturer and established the business of 'F. Ball & Co.'
The Company occupied premises in Lower Kennington Lane in south east London where a range of products for the shoe and leather trade was developed. The partnership with William Cowburn was dissolved and in 1898 a new one formed with William Collis, an accountant.
Francis Ball died in 1904, his share of the business passing to his son, Walter James. A variety of new products were introduced during the next few years with a growing emphasis on the development of adhesives. The partnership with Mr Collis was terminated in 1915, Walter James becoming the sole owner.
The business continued to develop, with the management of the Company passing to Walter's sons Francis Charles and Walter Ernest. In 1931 Walter James died and by 1933 the Kennington Lane site had been vacated for larger facilities in Tooting. 1936 saw the Company's first venture into the flooring trade with the introduction of Stycco latex which was used to join widths of carpet together.
During the Second World War the business was transferred from its London premises to an industrial site in Staffordshire, where suitable premises had been acquired.
The next twenty years saw a change in emphasis with a steady reduction in products for the shoe trade and increased involvement in the commercial flooring trade. New building methods, the evolution of synthetic fibres and developments in carpet construction combined to produce a revolution in both the use of floorcoverings and the adhesives needed for their installation.
The introduction in the early 1960's of cement based 'floor levelling' products was followed in the middle of the decade by Stycco (later Styccobond) F3 which is, even now, the most widely used adhesive for the bonding of contract floorcoverings.
To continue to meet increasing product demand, the decision was made to expand the Leek site by the acquisition of an adjoining administration and warehouse facility. But even with the additional buildings, the Company's rapid expansion meant that a new larger manufacturing facility was needed.
In 1989, after a thorough search of the surrounding Leek area, an 8½ acre site was found 2½ miles away in Cheddleton, which remains the location of the Company today. The new site boasts a massive increase in distribution and warehousing capability.
F. Ball and Co. Ltd. remains a family owned business to this day and current Chairman Mr Geoffrey W. Ball is the great grandson of the founder. With over 100 years experience, F. Ball is firmly committed to continual investment in product research, development and innovation for the future of the industry.