3) INK INNOVATION
From the 1860s, Sugar House Island became an important hub for ink, varnish and colour-dye innovation, supporting the growing printing industries in nearby Plaistow.
The Dane Group of Companies operated here from 1853 to 2005, when it moved to Manchester. This innovative print and ink manufacturer produced a wide range of products: inks for lithography, press and silk screen, as well as colour paints. The company was instrumental in the development of heavy-duty inks called ‘Bronze Blues’ and daylight fluorescent pigments called ‘Swada’. The Dane Group was the largest producer of Day-Glo pigments in the world with its products used in highlighter pens, workmen’s jackets and other safety products, paints, printing inks and plastics. Dane’s inks were sold all over England and exported across Europe. Dane’s Yard at Sugar House Island is named in memory of this company and its innovative work.
Other ink and dye manufacturers which traded at Sugar House Island include Harry Hodson & Co (1862–1939), Blackwell & Co (established in 1871) and B. Winstone and Sons (established in 1875).
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