In 1979, a 49% stake in Kerax was bought by the successful lubricants company Duckhams. Founded in 1899 by Alexander Duckham, the company had produced a number of revolutionary oils including New Process Oils in 1922, which promised control of carbon deposits. Europe’s first multigrade oil ‘Q’ in 1951 and their famous Q20-50 in 1956, which would drive them forward into involvement with Formula One racing. Although Duckhams had been acquired by BP in 1969, BP had announced their intention not to constrain the brand and so Duckhams remained largely autonomous. In the 1970s Duckhams made the decision to expand into wax blending and approached Kerax due to their commitment to development work, leading to increased understanding of the role waxes played in their applications and the advancement of finished products. Having bought a large stake in the company, Duckhams closed their own wax plant and moved their operation to the Chorley site. Kerax then operated as part of Duckhams, which led to an exchange of knowledge and investment in the Chorley site and it was during this time, in 1982, when Duckhams introduced their iconic ‘Hypergrade’ brand. In 1983 BP took over responsibility for Duckhams’ production and the decision was made separate the operations of the two businesses.

In 1984, expanding sales of wax from the Chorley site led to an increased need for production, and as a result building work moved into Phase Three and Four with the construction of new warehouses containing a brand new laboratory. Kerax forged ahead once more as an independent business unit, sponsoring a race at Haydock in 1987 to commemorate their 25th anniversary and moving into Phase Six of construction when another new warehouse was built in 1990.

New Warehouse Kerax

After a thirty-year career owning and managing Kerax, Tom Willcox made the decision to retire in 1993 and sold the company to Dussek Campbell, but only after securing the jobs of the Kerax employees who wished to stay on.


1850

  • The Dussek Bros. company is founded.

1870

  • The Campbell Company is founded

1886

  • The Burmah Oil Company is founded.

1899

  • Duckhams is founded by Alexander Duckham

1909

1922

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