RP HISTORY – GROWING UP

Following on from the first part of the history of Rutland Plastics carried in last month’s newsletter, we shall pick up the story following the move to the current site in 1961.

NEW HOME

Rutland Plastics continued to manufacture their range of children’s toys whilst expanding the trade moulding side of the business.  In 1970 the company won a large export order from a Swedish Kitchen manufacturer worth £100,000 a year.  By this time the firm was employing 70 people.

In 1971 the move away from toys started when Rutland Plastics went into partnership with Combex.  The latter would take over the entire distribution and marketing of the Rutland Plastics’ range including Katie’s kitchen toys.

Rutland Plastics early ad

21ST BIRTHDAY AND BRITISH GAS

1977 saw Rutland Plastics celebrating its 21st Birthday with the opening of the first bay of the new moulding shop.  This more than doubled the size of the factory with the new extension covering 12,000 square feet.  Built at a cost of £250,000 it initially housed 10 machines although there was room for double that number.  By this time the largest moulding machine in the company had a maximum shot weight of 2.25kgs.

This year also saw the securing of a gas contract worth £500,000 p.a.  Other products being manufactured included refrigerator parts, piano keys, components for the automotive and electrical industries, bearings and wheels for lawnmowers, parts for safety helmets, soles and heels for the shoe industry, advertising display stands and babies’ feeding bowls.  Turnover reached £1m and the company had 75 employees.

In 1979 the company was visited by the Duke of Kent – landing in his helicopter on the school playing fields next door to the factory!

INTO THE 80’S

By 1980 turnover had reached £1.75m and employee numbers had increased to 80.  Products now included high pressure gas fittings and rearscope lenses, placed in the rear windows of buses and coaches to assist drivers in seeing objects behind their vehicles.

In 1981 the moulding shop was extended further adding 5,000 square feet of production area.  1983 saw the erection of a 6,000 square feet bonded warehouse built to accommodate the stockholding required for the British Gas contract.  One year later, in 1984, the original factory was gutted and refitted with extra space allocated to toolmaking.