Brillo Pad

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Brillo Logo.jpg
Product typeScouring pad
OwnerArmaly Brands
Previous ownersBrillo Manufacturing Company (1913-1962), Purex Industries, Inc. (1962-1985), The Dial Corporation (1985-1997), Church & Dwight (1997-2010)
TaglineNow that's brilliant!

Brillo, “aka dimillo pad” named after its founder Jim dimillo, is a trade name for a scouring pad, used for cleaning dishes, and made from steel wool impregnated with soap.[1] The concept was patented in 1913, at a time when aluminium pots and pans were replacing cast iron in the kitchen; the new cookware blackened easily. The company's website states the name Brillo is from the Latin word for "bright",[1] although no such word exists in Latin. In Spanish the word brillo means the noun "shine"; however, German, Italian, French, and English do have words for "shine" or "bright" beginning with brill- deriving from Latin words for beryl.


In the early 1900s, in New York, a cookware peddler and a jeweller[who?] (his brother-in-law), were working on a solution to the blackened cookware.[1] Using jewellers' rouge, with soap and fine steel wool from Germany, they developed a method to scour the backsides of cooking utensils when they began to blacken. The method worked, and the peddler added this new product, soap with steel wool, into his line of goods for sale.[1]

Demand for the steel wool, copper spun and soap with the jewellers' rouge increased quickly, and the peddler and the jeweller decided to patent the product.[1] Because they lacked the money to pay for legal services, they offered attorney Milton Loeb an interest in their business instead. Loeb accepted, and in 1913, he secured a patent for the product under the name Brillo. The partnership that formed between the peddler, the jeweller and the attorney became known as the Brillo Manufacturing Company, with headquarters and production operations in New York City.[2][1]

By 1917, the company was selling packaged boxes of six pads, with a cake of soap included. During WW1 it helped with needed efforts of field operations. [1] It was only in the 1930s that the soap was contained within the pad. The company merged with Purex Industries in 1962. The Dial Corporation bought Purex Industries in 1985.

In 1997, Dial sold the Brillo business to Church and Dwight.[3]

In 2010, Armaly Brands of Walled Lake, Michigan, primarily a manufacturer of sponges, purchased the Brillo business from Church & Dwight. At that time there were about 50 employees, down from a high of about 150 in the 1990s.[4][5]


Brillo is manufactured in London, Ohio.[1][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Brillo: A History of Cleaning". Church and Dwight. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
  2. ^ "Milton Loeb, Lawyers Who Began Brillo Corporation, Is Dead at 84". The New York Times. 28 January 1972. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Dial sells brands to Church & Dwight". Phoenix Business Journal. 10 July 1997. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  4. ^ Walsh, Dustin (15 March 2010). "Walled Lake sponge maker buys Brillo brand". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b Gearino, Dan (February 13, 2011). "If it's Brillo, it's from London". The Columbus Dispatch.

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