15.1.1898

Venesta originally supplied materials for tea chests.

Founded by London Businessman, E.H. Archer and officially formed on the 15th January 1898, Venesta originated in Millwall, London supplying tea chests and was the first UK importer of Plywood.
In 1895 E.H.Archer, a London businessman said to have invested in tea plantations and who was then working for tea packaging specialists, adapted an existing patented chest made of ‘thin metal sheets’ and made it collapsible to enable economical reuse. However it was said that ‘the blenders and grocers’ receiving these types of crates were dismayed that, unlike wooden crates, they were useless as firewood. Having been either presented with ‘the latest American novelty’, a piece of three-plywood or, in a romantic version of the story, having discovered a wet but intact piece of plywood marked ‘Luther’ on a beach, Archer wondered if it could be made resistant to the damp Indian, tea-growing climate. After discovering Luther’s waterproof adhesive patent in London, he went to revel in the Russian Empire to buy Luther plywood boards and discussed the possibility of manufacturing tea chests in Britain. IN 1896 Archer formed the patent Veneer and Metal Case Co. Ltd, while, in December of that year, Christian W.Luther applied for a patent to make rectangular boxes from cross-grained ‘plys or veneers’.

In 1897, archer formed the Venesta Syndicate Ltd (From 1898 Venesta Ltd) to make tea chests with Luther boards and glue and to sell them in Britain and in British colonies. Venesta’s business later extended to other parts of Europe, while Luther sold products in Russia.

The name Venesta was an acronym either of the words veneer and chest, or veneer and Estonia, and Chrstian W.Luther was both an investor and director of Venesta Ltd.;

The company was registered on the 15th January 1898 and located in Millwall, London to manufacture boxes, packing cases, as well as tea chests.

*Passage from “Plywood – A material Story” produced by Christopher Wilk for the V&A Museum.