The remarkable popularity of Filofax over the past decade has naturally led many people to believe it is a relatively new concept. Yet its origins go back as far as the First World War when an Englishman working in the USA, came across an American organising system consisting largely of technical leaves for engineers and scientists.
In 1921, shortly after this discovery, a London based company was formed to market personal organisation systems in the UK by mail order. In 1930 they registered the trademark "Filofax", the name having derived from the description "file of facts".
A strong clientele was built up especially amongst military and the clergy and at one point a Filofax was a compulsory purchase at the British Army Staff College in Camberley!
However, it is the forward thinking of one employee that ensured the name Filofax has lived into the 2000s. Grace Scurr joined the company between the wars as a temporary secretary and saw the value in listing all of the company's supplier and customer details in her Filofax as a back up to the office filing system.
This foresight proved to be invaluable during the Blitz in 1940, when the Aldersgate Street offices were totally destroyed along with all of the company records. Grace, upon surveying the sight, immediately set about re-building the company from her notes which she had taken home with her each evening, and the company was back in business within days in Watford and away from the bombs, this time!
Thirty years later, Grace retired from her position as Chairman. In 1976, a business by the name of Pocketfax was formed by two avid Filofax users to market Filofax and other products by mail order, from their home.
Such was their enthusiasm for the product and their belief in its potential that in 1980 they purchased the company and the name, and set about developing and marketing Filofax into the household name that it has become today.
The business continued to grow and moved to larger premises in Ilford in Essex, and by 1987 had a retail network of 1250 outlets in the UK alone, with many others in the world's major cities.
The Filofax personal organiser had developed from a simple loose-leaf diary and notebook into an indispensable organiser and status symbol for the 80s. Prestigious stores around the world stocked Filofax, Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales in the US, Bon Genie in Switzerland, Galleries Lafayette in Paris and Seibu in Japan amongst others.
Today the Filofax personal organiser continues to be a valuable and practical asset to people in all walks of life.
In 2001 the Letts Filofax Group was formed after Charles Letts and Company Limited aquired the Filofax Group. Today Filofax UK is responsible for the sales and marketing of the Filofax personal organiser ranges.