November 1882 address: 36 and 37 Cock Lane, London E.C.
Jan 1883 address (to at least 1887): Smithfield Chemical Works, 8 & 9 Hosier Lane, West Smithfield, London E.C.
1890 address (to at least 1893): 95-99 Great Saffron Hill, Walworth, London E.C.
1897 address: 2 Lorrimore Street, London S.E.

Products in 1883:
Nubian Waterproof Blacking
The original Self-shining Blacking gives an instantaneous bright polish without brushing. One application will last a week through rain, mud or show. Does not injure the leather and is free from acid. Is a household requisite, and has a hundred uses for renovating all leather goods; also recommended for metal, paper, or wood where a lasting black polish is wanted.
Sold everywhere at 1s. and 2s. per bottle. BEWARE OF IMITATIONS!
Nubian Oil Paste Blacking
Same as now supplied by us to Her Majesty’s Government.
In tin boxes – Will keep moist in any climate. Gives much better polish than all others with less brushing. Prepared in a special manner by our new and improved steam machinery.
Sold everywhere, 1d., 2d. & 3d. per tin. ONCE TRIED ALWAYS USED.
Nubian Japan Blacking
In stone bottles – gives a most brilliant and lasting polish and will retain itd qualities in any cliate, while at the same time it nourishes and preserves the leather.
Sold everywhere, 6d., 1s., and 1s. 6d. per bottle. USE NO OTHER
Ladies’ Pet Boot Polish
A vegetable Dressing especially for Ladies’ Use. easily applied with sponge attached to cork. Does not harden or crack the leather or peel off, and even in wet weather will not soil the most delicate clothing.
Sold everywhere, 6d. per bottle. BE SURE AND ASK FOR THE “PET.”


In 1878 Theodore Young Kelley entered into an agency arrangement with Silas Mainville Burroughs (1846 – 1895) who was an American pharmaceutical salesman. In that year he sold blacking to chemists and a majority of co-operative societies. He had come to London in 1878 as an agent for John Wyeth & Bro, and set up his own company, Burroughs & Co., importing American drugs. He invited his friend Henry Wellcome to join his company and in 1880 became a junior partner with a loan from Burroughs, the firms name being changed to Burroughs, Wellcome and Co (the foundation of what was to become the Wellcome pharmaceutical giant). Burroughs became director of the Nubian Blacking Company in 1879 with a Theodore Young Kelley. It paid well but he states in his London notebook that he did not intend to keep it up as it was not in line with his legitimate business interests.

Nubian became a limited company on the 1st January 1886 with a capitalisation of £100,000 in £5 shares. In The Morning Post on February 10 1896 was the following notice: The Nubian manufacturing Company, with a share capital of £100,000, “of which £80,000 has been taken by the vendor in purchase of the property” invite applications for an issue of £10,000 7 per cent Mortgage Debentures repayable on 1st January, 1891 or 1st January, 1896, at the option of the applicants. The business acquired from Mr. Theodore Young Kelley, that of the Nubian Manufacturing Company in the United Kingdom and all other countries except France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland, was taken over as a going concern as from 1st January last.The proceeds of the debentures now offered for subscription will be principally applied for the development of the business in the United States and Canada, as well as for the opening up and stocking of the markets in India, China, Japan, and Australia. The amount raised will, it is stated, be sufficient to meet all the financial requirements of the company for many years to come, without issuing the remaining £20,000 share capital.
Directors are listed as:
T. Young Kelley, 38B Forhester Terrace, Hyde Park, London W.
L H Nerwich, 6 Hazlemere Road, Broudesbury, London N.W.
H B Parke, 42 Rue de Chabrol, Paris
Bankers: Union Bank of London Ltd, Holborn Circus branch
Solicitors: Parker, Garrett and Parker, St Michaels Alley, Cornhill
Secretary: Mr R Warner
Nubian share certificate 1886

An 1898 advert states their waterproof blacking has a 25 year reputation putting the founding of the company to 1873.

The 1886 prospectus states Theodore Young Kelley had been running the company for the last six years, so since 1880 or thereabouts. Trade names of the following were part of the acquisition of the limited company: Nubian Waterproof Blacking, Nubian Waterproof Harness Polish, Nubian Oil Paste Blacking, Nubian Waterproof Dubbing, Nubian Kid Cream, Nubian Metal Polishing Paste, Nubian Ink Pellets and Crystals, Nubian Plate Powder, Nubian Liquid Japan Blacking, Nubian Furniture Polish, Nubian Liquid Kid Reviver, Nubian Balmoral Gloss, Nubian Harness Composition, Nubian Kid Reviver Paste.

In 1891 the capital of Nubian Manufacturing Co Ltd was reduced to £40,000 divided into 80,000 share of £5 each instead of the original £100,000 divided into 20,000 £5 shares (the London Gazette, February 10 1891).

Nubian advert 1879
Early 1879 Nubian advert


Nubian blacking 1890
1890 Nubian advert

Nubian blacking advert 1879

Nubian blacking
Illustrated London News, Sept 1893

Nubian blacking The Graphic June 1887
The Graphic. June 26, 1897

Nubian blacking, The Graphic July 1898
The Graphic. July 30, 1898

Improved Nubian Blacking 1893
Improved Nubian Blacking 1893

Canadian Nubian trade card
Canadian Nubian trade card

Nubian Italian advert 1904The Nubian name and trademark is still in use today and is owned by Italian company

http://www.nubian1880.it/english/homepage.html

From their website: It was in 1880 that Mr Theodore Young Kelley, owner of Nubian Manufacturing Co., based in London and Paris, decided to produce and distribute in Italy, under licence from the English head office, some of the company’s products for the cleaning and care of footwear shoes and leather goods. Mr. Kelley sited his office in Milan, which is a central trading point in Italy and near to the shoe manufacturing towns of Vigevano, Parabiago and Cerro Magiore, which were the centre of leather product manufacturing and handcrafted leather production.

During the rebuilding activities in the aftermath of the 2nd world war, Mr. Kelley’s heirs passed the Milan office on to Mr. Giuseppe Invernizzi, and since then the control of the company has remained in Invernizzi Family hands. The family have ensured that the original formula and spirit of the company has been preserved.


The formula (which pretty much describes a black varnish) for Nubian blacking according to their patent is:
Venice turpentine – 11 parts
Shellac – 16 parts
Aniline blue – 36 parts
Bismark brown – 15 parts
Alcohol – 15 parts



This page was last updated: 02nd December 2012