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

Mr. Herbert Evans is born in Shrewsbury, Wales, U.K. (first year of the Crimean War).
Mr. Evans arrives in Durban.
Mr. Evans arrives in Jhb.
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.
Herbert Evans sells the 5 stands for ₤15,000.
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.
Herbert Evans is closed for business during the Anglo-Boer War.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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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