Rothband started life in the Manchester home of “W.S” himself manufacturing small makeup/sponge bags from waterproof cloth (“guaranteed not to crack”), using a readily available work force. Recent research however, may point to an earlier start in 1840, under a different name, but certainly with the same product range.
Rubber sheeting, (“WSRM” trademark) for bed protection, was the mainstay of the business by the turn of the century and continued to be a major line, selling all over the world and to “poor institutions, sanitaria, lunatic asylums, delinquent schools” and most popular hospitals in the UK until the 1950s.
Even so, when the Company was incorporated in 1954, the Memorandum still allowed for the selling of “glass eyes, false legs and surgical pre-requisites”, although this side of the business declined after the birth of the N.H.S. Around 1910 a relative working in the rainwear industry with a chemistry background introduced the idea of leaded rubber for use as an “X-RAY CLOTH” – hence the Rothband lead apron was born.
The earliest surviving sales literature is dated 28th January 1911; the “proof” radiograph is reproduced here, together with an early example of our catalogue. Unfortunately, we cannot claim to have protected Rontgen, but we know of no other current manufacturer with a longer history in the field!
Developments since then have been the introduction of leaded gloves (patented), double-sided aprons, shoulder fastenings, coat style aprons for all round protection (patented), closed-side aprons, theatre aprons for easy removal and padded shoulders, which for years have been our hallmark (now widely imitated): all the time with the emphasis on comfort and minimum weight, without sacrificing protection.
The X-Ray side of the business has continued to expand necessitating our recent move to larger premises in Rossendale (15miles NW of Manchester), with exports around the world where the name “ROTHBAND” is synonymous in this field with the best in quality, comfort, innovation and value for money.
1992 saw BS5750 (now ISO 9001) accreditation for our quality management systems, one of the first in our field to achieve this, and which we believe, reflects the quality of our products and workforce.
In 1998 we commenced manufacture of our own design mobile and fixed lead screens together with the supply of Pb glass and perspex, so we can now cater for most X-ray protective needs.
With the move towards Digital imaging we are now Uk Agents for WIDE DICOM monitors & ETIAM software solutions for connectivity and Medical Imaging workflow. In the Radiology field we are Uk agents for Kyotokagaku who manufacture Radiology & Ultrasound phantoms
As we enter 2015, the business is still a family concern so we can continue to offer the personal service and attention to detail that has enabled us to prosper for 150 years whilst providing, we hope, a valuable contribution to the field of health care.