Visual History of Filofax

The Filofax UK site has been redesigned and is still undergoing some teething problems. Initially I found it very frustrating to navigate and I had the problem of being charged twice for the same order. However, that was quickly resolved and the new site is now growing on me.

There is a very interesting section at the bottom of the About page. It looks like this:

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If you meander around the above, you find gems such as this below:


of Filofax


The beginning

The concept of the personal organiser originates in the US when Canadian engineer, J.C. Parker, invents a system to replace technical handbooks too big to carry.


Lefax launches in England

British Army Officer, Colonel Disney, comes across a Lefax personal organiser in the US and suggests that his friend, London printer William Rounce, launches the product in England.


The name ‘Filofax’ is born

Norman & Hill Ltd is set up by William Rounce and partner Posseen Hill to export Lefax organisers to England. Temporary typist Grace Scurr suggests the organisers should be called ‘Filofax’ – derived from the term ‘file-of-facts’.


Filofax is registered as a trademark

On 27th of November, 1930


Filofax organisers in the miitary

During the war Filofax organisers are standard issue at The Queen’s Military Academy, Sandhurst. In military circles organisers are sometimes known as vademecums – Latin for ‘always with me’.


Grace Scurr saves the company

Norman & Hill Ltd offices are completely destroyed by a stray bomb during the Blitz. Vital company information is saved by Grace Scurr who records the information in her own Filofax and takes it home with her every night.


Pocketfax makes big sales

Husband and wife David and Leslie Collischon set up a company called Pocketfax in the UK to sell Filofax organisers direct to consumers in the UK via mail order. They become Norman & Hill’s biggest customers.


Filofax climbs Mount Everest

The Joint British and Royal Nepalese Army Expedition to Mount Everest is accompanied by Filofax organisers.


Filofax opens new offices

The Collischons buy Normal & Hill Ltd, rename the company Filofax and a new collection of organisers is launched. Filofax opens their new head office at Waverley House, 7-12 Noel Street, London.


In a store near you!

Filofax is retailed in 1250 outlets in the UK.

‘Famous Filofax’ ads are a hit

The ‘Famous Filofax’ advertising campaign is launched in the UK. Filofax is now a £12million operation and is floated on the Unlisted Securities Market.


Filofax acquires Yard-O-Led

The Yard-O-Led Pencil Company – a small, well established silver writing instrument manufacturer based in Birmingham, was purchased from Tim Tufnell in April of that year.


New sizes!

Pocket and Deskfax size organisers launched.


Making a deal

Filofax purchases US rival company, Lefax.


A new size!

A5 size organiser is launched.


Filofax purchases Henry Ling & Son

Filofax purchases greetings card maker, Henry Ling and Son.


Filofax acquires Microfile

Filofax buys Topps of England in order to acquire rival British personal organiser brand, Microfile. FIlofax receives the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement


A night at the museum

Filofax celebrates its 75th Anniversary with an exhibition at the Design Museum, London.

A new size!

Mini size organiser is launched


Filofax is acquired by Day Runner

Filofax is acquired by Californian based Day Runner Inc.


A4 new size!

A4 size organiser is launched.

Filofax is acquired by Letts

Filofax is acquired by Letts Holdings Ltd 1997.


A whole lot more…

First product extensions are launched; bags, briefcases, laptop and PDA cases as well as small leather goods.


A union is made

The Letts Filofax Group is established.


Supporting a cause

Filofax launches a pink organiser in support of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity, donating money from the sale of each organiser to the charity.


Change is in the air

The Letts Filofax Group is bought by Phoenix Equity Partners.

“It’s a Way of Life” campaign launches

‘It’s a Way of Life’ advertising campaign is launched in the UK.


Alice Temperley designs for Filofax

Filofax partners British fashion designer Alice Temperley and launches a collection of personal organisers.

A new collection!

Flex by Filofax notebooks are launched.


Device friendly

Filofax eAccessories are launched.

Filofax joins the Olympics!

Filofax holds the exclusive license to market London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic personal organisers in the UK.


Time for change

The Letts Filofax Group is bought by HSGP Investments.

Supporting a cause

Filofax partners with UK charity, Springboard for Children.

Photography courtesy of Davina Foster & Stephen Carrick-Davies


I am one of those who often criticise Filofax for their forays into fashion, and their faulty ring mechanisms. It is nice to catch a wake-up call now and then and realise that this is a company with a very strong heritage. It give me hope for their future.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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