Herbert Evans

Our Proud Heritage

The origin of the company goes back more than 100 years, to 1889 when Herbert Evans, a young Welshman, arrived in the bustling mining town of Johannesburg with a cart, a ladder, some paint brushes and a level of ambition matched only by his integrity. Two years later, he had founded Herbert Evans (Proprietary) Limited, thus establishing his own paint manufacturing business.

Success followed and in 1910 Herbert Evans launched the first “ready-mixed” colour paints in South Africa. In 1915, Parthenon became the trademark of Herbert Evans (Proprietary) Limited, the first of several milestones in his life, which also included the development of a floor polish and a revolutionary “best elastic” carriage varnish that could accommodate the expansion and contraction of wooden carriage wheels and underworks. Herbert Evans’ next step was into the automotive paint business in 1949, when he began preparing coatings under licence for Akzo Nobel. By this time the company had an entrenched reputation for innovation, quality and service and was ready to expand. The opportunity for expansion arrived and Herbert Evans (Proprietary) Limited combined operations with Chrome Chemicals, a partnership that formed the basis of the Plascon business that was acquired by Barloworld in 1970.

Some Interesting Facts

  • Mr. Evans knew the famous South African painter Pierneef
  • Walter Sisulu, Secretary-General of the African National Congress 1949–1954, once worked as a paint mixer for Herbert Evans in Johannesburg
Eloff St. Premises -1891
Pritchard St. Premises - 1920

Milestones In The Life Of Company Founder Herbert Evans

1853
Mr. Herbert Evans is born in Shrewsbury, Wales, U.K. (first year of the Crimean War).
1880
Mr. Evans arrives in Durban.
1889
Mr. Evans arrives in Jhb.
1891
Mr. Evans purchases 5 stands on the corner of Eloff and Pritchard Streets at the Government auctions for ₤250. He establishes Herbert Evans (Proprietary) Limited and his first shop in a mushrooming Johannesburg, the city of gold, operating as a gilder, glazier, signwriter and house painter.
1895
Herbert Evans sells the 5 stands for ₤15,000.
1896
The Jameson raid. Thirty-five tons of dynamite explode at the Braamfontein magazine, shattering almost every pane of glass in Johannesburg. Herbert Evans buys up all the glass in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth and re-glazes Johannesburg.
1899-1902
Herbert Evans is closed for business during the Anglo-Boer War.
1903
Herbert Evans offers tube colours for sale to carriage painters. Herbert Evans provides paint for construction projects including Corner House, the Old National Bank in Market Street, the St. Mary’s Cathedral Hall in Plein Street, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Stuttafords, Cuthberts in Eloff Street and Mosenthals.
1905
The South African Art Union is founded, its object being to publish portfolios of pictures by South African and other artists. The first committee comprise, amongst others, Mr. Herbert Evans and Mr. Anton van Wouw.
1918
Mr. Evan’s love for painting and sketching leads him to open an art gallery in his new headquarters on the corner of Kruis and Pritchard Streets.
1907
Depression in Johannesburg with much unemployment on the gold mines after 50,000 Chinese workers are recruited from the Far East. Zoo Lake is constructed to provide work for the unemployed.
1908
Herbert Evans’ staff complement consists of 18 monthly paid staff and a much larger number of weekly paid painters signwriters and glaziers. Total salary is bill ₤1,000 including Mr. Evans’ salary of ₤60. Herbert Evans gets involved in decorating Mansions around Johannesburg. Sir Herbert Baker (then Mr. Baker) the renowned architect was a strong believer in the firm of Herbert Evans
1913
Herbert Evans proceeds with construction of new 3-storey landmark building, the Paint Warehouse, in Pritchard Street to house its business, at a cost of ₤16,000. July 1913 brought the Great Mining Strike. Park Station and The Star offices burned down. General Smuts intervenes to quell the rioting
1922
The Rand Revolt strikers establish a stronghold at Fordsburg Square. At the “Battle of Ellis Park” a large detachment of Imperial Light Horse is ambushed, with heavy loss of life. Herbert Evans’ factory in Doornfontein stands fully in the line of fire, with bullets whistling by and peppering holes in the brickwork.
1930
Mr. Evans passes away at the age of 78. The business continues under the chairmanship of his eldest son Herbert Durrant Evans.

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