105 years of evolution – Cellon to Scellon


In 1911 Wallace Barr formed Cellon to manufacture a patented German material that promised to revolutionise the proofing and strengthening of aeroplane wings and windscreens. It was a daring move as aviation was still in its infancy, and its pioneers were derided as “maniacs”

World War I was a turning point. Aircraft production had to be boosted, and orders for the all-important dope increased significantly. At the end of the war orders for aeroplane dope the company’s sole product dried up, Diversification was the only answer. In the 1920s the company developed a wide range of industrial paints and cellulose finishes, demand increased significantly requiring Cellon to move to new premises on a 5 acre site in Kingston, adjacent to the British Aerospace works. Cellon was became the principle supplier of paints and finishes to the aviation markets.

Wallace Barr was unfortunately not there to celebrate peace or see the success of his business and his part he played in securing victory. A few months previously a stray bomb landed in front of his home in the “safe” country quiet of Wentworth, and at the age of 55 he and his wife were killed.

The firm continued with “Shilly” Shilcock and former chief technician Harold Lazell as joint managing directors following the founder’s vision.  In 1949 Aubrey Barr joined Cellon as an apprentice and was its Managing Director from 1960 to 1963. Cellon was sold to the Courtauld Group in 1958, which enabled the size and scope of the Kingston plant to be much increased.