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Timeline

As a testament to his innovative spirit, Alfred Dunhill’s spark at the dawn of the age of motoring has led to a journey that has spanned the globe many times over. 100 years later we continue to realize his vision of innovation for the contemporary gentleman.

December 18 / 2015
1893

A 15 year-old apprentice named Alfred Dunhill starts work at his father Henry’s tarpaulin, blinds and equine-goods store at 145 Euston Road, London. Six years later Henry retires, and nominates his son to take over day to day control of the business. Alfred doubles turnover within six months.

1896 – 1902

A decade after Karl Benz’s invention of the car, Britain’s Parliament passes the Public Highways Act and the craze for motoring begins in the UK. There are fewer than 20 cars on the road, but their number increases rapidly. Alfred elects to focus his efforts on the manufacture of “Motorities” – equipment for cars – and boldly promises “Everything But the Motor”. He delivers.

In 1902 the highly successful dunhill Motorities opens at 2 Conduit Street, an address more easily accessible by the affluent new car-owning class (and their chauffeurs). By now it supplies goods including clothing, goggles and headlights.

1902

The highly successful dunhill Motorities opens at 2 Conduit Street, an address more easily access by the affluent new car-owning class (and their chauffeurs). By now it supplies goods including clothing, goggles and headlights.

1903

The ‘Bobby Finders’ binocular glasses are introduced – devised for spotting policemen intent on handing out speeding tickets.

1904

Alfred Dunhill invents the dashboard clock, the first Swiss movement dunhill timepiece.

1904

Alfred patents a windproof pipe, and cultivates an interest in the development of tobacco paraphernalia and develops the famous White Spot system.

1907

dunhill opens its Duke Street store.

1913

The arrival on British roads of the first dunhill car – the Tweenie.

1924

dunhill’s Paris store – the oldest retail space in our company still operating at its original address – is opened at 15 Rue De La Paix. The French operation focuses on offering luxurious accessories for gentlemen of refinement.

1931

Clement Court, the managing director of dunhill’s Paris business, secures a exclusive partnership with Wada Namiki’s innovative pen manufacturer in Japan. Namiki’s patented technology allows for the manufacture of traditionally lacquered fountain pens – these ‘dunhill-Namiki’ goods become some of the company’s most prized products.

1936

Our factory in Walthamstow opens. Today it continues to make the finest leather goods.

That same year Pablo Picasso drops in to Rue de La Paix to purchase a tallboy lighter, which he etches with a portrait of his lover Dora Mar and presents to her.

1936

Alfred Dunhill introduces the iconic Facet wristwatch.

1941

The Duke Street premises is leveled by a Luftwaffe bomb. Alfred Henry – son of Alfred – ensures that dunhill is open for business within 24 hours.

1956

The Rollagas Lighter is introduced.

1966

Truman Capote wears his bespoke dunhill tuxedo to the iconic Black and White Ball.

1993

The centenary of Alfred Dunhill. That same year, alongside Montblanc, dunhill becomes a pillar brand in the new Vendome luxury group. All of its interests in tobacco are divested to Rothmans, later BAT. Alfred Dunhill and ‘dunhill’ become the signifying brand-titles of this newly-invigorated, 101 year old London luxury house.

1994

The first Alfred Dunhill masters golf tournament is held in Bali. Jacky Kay takes the prize after Nick Faldo is controversially disqualified for removing a piece of coral from a bunker. In 2000, the first Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is held at St. Andrews.

2008

Bourdon House – dunhill’s first ‘home’ – is opened to members in the former home of the Duke of Westminster. This was shortly followed by Twin Villas, dunhill’s Shanghai home.

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