A history of cleaning

The Mother of Invention

In the early 1900s, a breakthrough in home cookware was taking hold in America. Aluminum pots and pans were replacing heavy cast iron cookware in homes throughout the nation. But, there was a problem. The coal-fired stoves of the day quickly blackened the pots, rendering them unattractive and next-to-impossible to clean. Even the new gas stoves of the time did little to help.

Meanwhile, a cookware peddler and a jeweler (his brother-in-law), were working on a solution. Using jeweler's rouge, soap and fine steel wool from Germany, they found a method to scour the pots and pans when they began to blacken. The idea worked, and the peddler soon added this new product to his line of goods.


A New Company

Demand for the steel wool and the cake of soap with the jeweler's rouge rose quickly and before long, the peddler and the jeweler realized that the idea was worth patenting. They sought advice from New York attorney Milton Loeb. They lacked the money to pay for legal services, so they offered the attorney an interest in their "scouring pad" business instead. Loeb accepted the offer and in 1913 secured a patent for the product under the name Brillo® (derived from the Latin word meaning "bright.").

The partnership formed between the peddler, the jeweler and the attorney became known as the Brillo Manufacturing Company, with headquarters and production operations in Brooklyn, New York.


Growth & Innovation

By 1917, the Brillo Manufacturing Company was making steel wool pads and packaging them, five pads to a box, with a cake of soap included. In 1921, the Brillo Manufacturing Company moved to London, Ohio where production resides today. The next and perhaps the most dramatic step in the evolution of the steel wool pad came in the early 1930s when the company developed a method to put the soap right into the pads themselves!

Brillo® went on to become one of America's most recognizable brands, featured in modern art, songs, movies—and of course, households nationwide. In 2010 Brillo® was acquired by Armaly Brands, maker of industry leading Estracell® sponges, the choice of more than two thirds of consumer and professional buyers who prefer polyester sponges. As a result, a new line of Brillo® Estracell®…More Sanitary! sponges was introduced, continuing a long history of innovation from one of the world's most trusted household cleaning brands.

Today, the company provides a wide variety of household cleaning products and remains dedicated to one ideal…helping people everywhere to enjoy clean, healthy lifestyles.




Want to learn more

About Armaly Brands, the makers of Brillo®, visit our website at www.ArmalyBrands.com.