Like the GAA, established the same year, brush manufacturer Dosco plays a central part in Irish lives, with a cleaning product in every household. And new product and brand developments keep coming from this historic Cork family business.
Since its foundation in 1884, Dosco has remained a 100% Irish owned family business and today is Ireland’s only brush manufacturer. The Hardware Journal speaks to George Kenefick, Sales Director and a 4th generation family member working in the business.
From the start D O’Sullivan & Co (Dosco) focused on hard-working, quality cleaning products. 137 years later, keeping Irish homes spick and span is still at the core of everything they do.
Moving with the times has always been the secret of longevity and Dosco has been busy enhancing range, packaging and product performance over the last couple of years.
Brushes with history
The company was established by Denis O’Sullivan on Lavitt’s Quay in Cork City, moving at the turn of the twentieth century to Merchant’s Quay, now the site of Merchant’s Quay Shopping Centre.
In the 1960s the business relocated to South Douglas Road, just outside the city, where it remains today. During those early days the premises were multi storey. All raw materials had to be hauled up to the top floors to be manufactured into the various products, then brought down to ground level for despatch.
The first products were mainly brushes for road sweeping, shoes, for removing distemper from walls, cleaning firesides and chimney sweeping. The majority were made by hand, using tar to bind the bristles together before being inserted into the wooden stocks (heads).
Dosco also had a textile department where heavy duty floor cloths and oven gloves were manufactured.
Over time Dosco diversified into making a range of paint brushes. This success led to the establishment of a substantial manufacturing department within the factory.
Dosco has seen incredible changes in society, in Cork City and across Ireland, and has lent a hand in supporting communities. The firm supplied products to assist in the clean-up operations after disasters, such as floods, fires and revolutions, but also to help prepare for celebrations.
The one and only
At one time Ireland had several brush manufacturers. Now just one remains, enduring by retaining the qualities customers have always valued, while evolving to meet the needs of transformed homes and workplaces.
“It is with great pride that we recognise that every home in Ireland has a Dosco product somewhere in it; be it in the utility, the bathroom, the shed, car or garden,” says George. “Now we are investing to ensure we continue helping keep Ireland ship-shape for the foreseeable future!”
New products and new look
In 2019 the branding team redesigned the Dosco brand and all its packaging. The same year, Dosco relaunched its paintbrush range. The new and enhanced brushes incorporate big improvements, in particular better bristles and longer length stock to improve pick-up and paint release, ensuring the best finish possible.
“We also used this opportunity to move our packaging to recyclable material and away from plastic,” explains George.
Dosco has also extended its product line-up, this year offering over 2,000 SKUs to the Irish market.
This includes Dosco own brand products (Dosco, Dosco Home) and well-regarded names the company is proud to represent in Ireland, including Brabantia, Stefenplast, Flamingo and Problem Solved.
And for the first time this year, pet products are part of the Dosco portfolio, in response to growing demand.
Altogether, every area of the home and garden is now covered:
- Painting accessories – brushes, rollers, sandpaper, masking tape, and more.
- Indoor cleaning – floors, sweeping and mopping, kitchen sink side, bathroom mats – indoor and outdoor entrance mats, kitchen, patio, etc.
- Textiles – tea towels, microfibre, stockinette.
- Laundry – baskets, pegs, lines.
- Household plastic for cleaning and storage.
Dosco also supplies an extensive range of products for ensuring workplaces are hygienic and safe. The full catalogue of products can be viewed on the website www.dosco.ie or www.doitwithdosco.ie. A complete hygiene catalogue is available on the website and includes a comprehensive range of products for the HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant and Cafe) industry, offices, factory floor and many more applications.
In June 2021 Dosco was delighted to take ownership of a new, state of the art brush manufacturing machine. The Zahoransky Z-Wasp is specially designed to manufacture robust outdoor brushes with Irish weather in mind!
“This machine allows us to continue to manufacture our market leading range of yard brushes right here in Cork. This investment demonstrates our commitment to continuing to be the only brush manufacturer in Ireland,” George confirms.
The Z-Wasp is controlled by software that will enable Dosco to create new brush designs and incorporate a variety of colours.
Always been green
Dosco has also been polishing its already strong eco-friendly credentials, according to George, who added that many of its cleaning products can boast a green heritage dating back over a century.
“Our range of wooden brushes are manufactured using FSC wood, and many of the bristles used are produced from coconut husks, bassine (from the palmyra leaf), Bahia fibres, grass straw, etc. All naturally occurring fibres; the same materials used in our brushes for over 100 years.”
“Because we are very environmentally conscious, we are always looking for ways to be sustainable wherever we can. We are working through our product range to incorporate eco-friendly materials and packaging.”
“Our customers can be confident that all the products bearing the Dosco Home name have great green credentials.” Dosco Home mats are 100% recyclable and made from recycled materials, while the newest additions to the line-up are made from recycled tyres. The bamboo cleaning range
combines bamboo wood and recycled plastic.