About Us

Abru About Us

1960s

Abru About Us 1960s Company Founded

Abru was inaugurated in 1967 by Frank Abbey and John Bruton.

The idea for making aluminium ladders came from Frank Abbey’s cousin (Mr Potter) who factored timber ladders. Mr Potter sketched out the iconic double rail Blue Seal concept and assured Frank he could sell as many as could be made at a time when lightweight domestic ladders were not generally available. Frank and John choose Pennygillam in Cornwall for start-up. The first employee was Dave Shrimpton (a toolmaker). A workforce was gradually built up to six local men.

1970s

Abru About Us 1970s Stepstools

Tooling was developed and the product range was expanded to include stepstools and 6 to 9 tread step ladders. The first brochure was created.


Abru About Us 1970s Gold Anodised Ladder

A gold anodised ladder was created to appear on Bob Monkhouse’s ‘Golden Shot’, but sadly never appeared.


Abru About Us 1970s Three-Way Ladder

A revolutionary three-way ladder was created, and the basic design principle has since been widely copied by others. During this time, the Blue Seal Step Ladder and ‘Easy Stow’ Loft Ladder was created. In 1975, Abru was servicing up to 160 stores nationwide.


Abru About Us 1970s Starmaster Extender Ladder

Work on the ‘Starmaster’ extender ladder is undertaken.


Abru About Us 1970s Chandelier Ladder

Mark Bruton and David Shrimpton testing a gigantic ladder created to service chandeliers in hotel receptions in Saudi Arabia.


Abru About Us 1970s Margaret Thatcher Factory Visit

Margaret Thatcher visits the Abru factory, 1978.

1980s

Abru About Us 1980s Rugby Club

Abru Rugby Club, 1980


Abru About Us 1980s Market Share

A fairground-themed display at the NEC, 1980. In 1980 Abru was turning over £3m making around 5,000 units per week and estimated the DIY market share at 40%.


Abru About Us 1980s Gonk Brand Campaign

A brand campaign featuring the blue ‘Gonk’ character.

1990s

Abru About Us 1990s Company Development

A good quality workforce was crucial to company development and the Launceston folks provided that. A close relationship was built between management and staff, helped a great deal by all hands working side-by-side at busy times. In the early days, work schedules were changed to allow staff to help with harvesting on farms and the annual Launceston Show day was regarded as a holiday with organised social events and sports teams.


Abru About Us 1990s Rotary Clothes Dryers

Rotary dryers were another non-ladder extension of the Abru brand, along with folding tables and balustrades.


Abru About Us 1990s Hendersons Acquisition

The company was bought by Hendersons Plc, and an aluminium extrusion plant was installed in Belper. The last Cornish ladder was made during November 1997.

2000s - Present Day

After a successful run in Belper, in 2010 Abru Ltd. was welcomed to the WernerCo family of brands. WernerCo is a privately owned, fully-integrated international manufacturer and distributor of access products.

In 2016 WernerCo opened the new Burton upon Trent distribution facility – a state of the art facility which operates a full UK distribution service and collection centre.

In 2016 the Belper manufacturing site closed with manufacturing moving to the Maldon, Essex and Binh Duong, Vietnam facilities.

Abru About Us 2000s New Manufacturing Facility