- William Ramsay (manufacturer)
:"This article refers to the Australian
shoe polishmanufacturer. For other people by this name, please see William Ramsay (disambiguation)."William Ramsay ( 6 June 1868– 4 September 1914) was a Scottish-born Australian shoe polishmanufacturer. In 1906, Ramsay developed "Kiwi" brand shoe polish, today one of the most famous shoe polish brands in the world.
Glasgowin 1868, Ramsay moved to Australia at the age of ten, settling with his family in Melbournein June, 1878. The family prospered in Victoria; Ramsay's father, John, was a die-sinker and engraver in Scotland, but became a successful real estate brokerin his adopted homeland. After he left school, William Ramsay set up a real estatefirm with his father. The business, "John Ramsay & Son", prospered.
After a trip to
New Zealand, where he met and married Annie Elizabeth Meek in Oamaruon 2 January 1901, Ramsay established a factory in Carlton in partnership with Hamilton McKellar. From there, Ramsay & McKellar would produce disinfectants, polishes, creams, and a variety of other products.
In 1904 the pair moved the factory to Elizabeth Street, in Melbourne, where, in 1906, they began producing a new
shoe polishunder the trademark"Kiwi". The polish, which would become phenomenally successful in Australia within a few short years, was named in honour of Annie Ramsay's New Zealand heritage. In 1912, after McKellar had left the company, Ramsay's father established a branch of Kiwi Polish Co. in London, in the United Kingdom, and in 1913 William Ramsay himself headed to the region to promote the new brand in Europe.
Ramsay died of cancer in the family home at Essendon, in
Melbourne, outlived by his wife and two sons. His father would follow ten years later.
Two of Ramsay's brothers also went on to achieve notability: Sir John Ramsay as a surgeon and cricketer, and
Hugh Ramsayas an artist.
*"Ramsay, William (1868 - 1914)", "Australian Dictionary of Biography" (available [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110340b.htm online] )
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