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        Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil Trawler pack

Seven Seas Timeline

Our history

1752 to 1784 – First extensive clinical test on Cod Liver Oil by Samuel Kay, physician at Manchester Infirmary

1890s – Nine out of ten children suffer from rickets due to malnutrition

1920s – Discovery of vitamins A and D in Cod Liver Oil, nutrients that are hard to find in other foods. Doctors urge usage of Cod liver oil as a cure for the crippling bone disease rickets, and Hull trawler owners invest in its commercial production.

1st June 1934 – Formation of British Cod Liver Oil Producers (Hull) Ltd

Early 1930s – Boyd Line Ltd, Hudson Brothers Ltd and Hellyer Brothers (Ltd), Hull’s three-biggest trawling companies in Hull experiment with seas-boiling. Own Hellyer, (of Hellyer Brothers *Hull) Ltd, Tom Boyd of the Boyd Line Ltd created the co-operative venture British Cod Liver Oil Producers (Hull) Ltd BCLO acquires the Hull Fish Meal company BCLO sell Cod Oil, Pale Cod Oil, Cattle Oil, Ruby Oil and Dark Cod oil as livestock rations

BCLO creates a new factory at Marfleet, the Marfleet Refinery, built by the Tarrant Company of Hull for £90,000 – at the time, the world’s largest cod liver oil refinery.

1935 - Production of high quality veterinary oil and medicinal oil to conform to pharmaceutical standards begins.

1935 – SOLVITAX trade name adopted for veterinary product

1935 – Chemist’s Exhibition – Ken Moxley, (an ex-employee of the Hull Fish Meal and Oil Company) has the idea of putting cod liver oil in attractive display bottles.

1936 – Kenneth MacLennan (previously of Lever Brothers) takes over as General Manager of BCLO.

Kenneth MacLennan creates the name SEVEN SEAS for the small bottle of medicinal cod liver oil. He also names Mainstay, the name used for medicinal cod liver oil packed in large trade containers.

“King Cod”, a large wooden and canvas fish, along with a loudspeaker playing “A Life on the Ocean Wave”, was developed to place on top of lorries to promote Seven Seas around the country.

BCLO (Hull) becomes BCLO (Hull and Grimsby) to ease production problems. Trawler owners across Hull and Grimsby combine to form a parent company called PORTACCORD.
BCLO_Front page

1936 onwardsCod liver oil liquid is distributed free to pregnant and nursing mothers and children up to five years old through the Ministry of Food's Welfare Food Scheme.

1939-1945 – BCLO produces all oil for animal feeds throughout Britain. The Ministry of Food establishes a scheme for the free distribution of oil to all infants up to 5 years old and to pregnant and nursing women. Oil shortages cause the import of oil from Iceland to be processed in Marfleet.

The Welfare Foods Scheme continues to ration cod liver oil after the war. Rickets has completely vanished from Britain. Cod Liver Oil was given out at health clinics until 1971.

1948 – The Marfleet factory expands by 53%. BCLO has a stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition and 5.4 million bottles of cod liver oil are given out for free.

1951 – Dale Alexander, an American hospital laboratory technician publishes “Arthritis and Common Sense” after investigating his mother’s illness and discovering a century-old book which mentioned cod liver oil being used by Shetland fisherman. He becomes known as “The Codfather”

1955 - BCLO renames to the Marfleet Refining Company to focus on edible oils

1956 – Marfleet Refining Company produces FAXFRY and FAX, edible fats for bakery and confectionery traders

1956 – Theory developed by Profressor Frazer, Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Birmingham, a delegate from the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, on the benefits of cod liver oil over synthetic Vitamin A.

1965 – paper published in Lancet indicating that cod liver oil was very effective in lowering cholesterol levels

1965 – it is estimated that the Marfleet Refinery was processing 100 million cod livers each year, supplying raw material for products which were distributed in and sold in over 100 countries.

1970s – Long chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are identified by scientists and found in high quantities in Eskimos’ blood. Cod liver oil is at the forefront of nutritional science.

1974 – BCLO is taken over by Imperial Foods.

1982 – High Pressure Liquid Chromotography (HPLC) developed to measure vitamin content to replace animal testing

1982 April 1982 - Seven Seas Health Care Ltd is set up as a subsidiary of the Marfleet Refining Company.

King Cod

Source – A History of British Cod Liver Oils, original text researched and written Carina Mann of Business Literature Services Limited

1981 – Seven Seas launches a range of seven vitamin and mineral supplements

1980s – Seven Seas acquires New Era laboratories, a range of homeopathically-prepared tissue sales; Höfels range of garlic and herbal supplements; and Minadex children’s tonic.
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1982 – The first “Tin Man” advertising appears on televisions promoting the benefits of Seven Seas cod liver oil

1982 – Seven Seas launches the first natural fish oil product available on prescription (MaxEPA?)

1986 - Seven Seas is purchased by Hanson, who take over the Imperial Group.

1994 – Seven Seas purchase Haliborange, the leading brand of children’s vitamin and mineral supplements

1996 – Seven Seas Health Care Ltd is purchased by German pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturer Merck KGaA for £150 million. - Seven Seas acquires a range of over-the-counter medicine brands, Califig, Actal, Phensic and Milpar

1999 – Seven Seas launch Multibionta, the first probiotic Multivitamins

2001 – Seven Seas launch Seven Seas JointCare, combining the benefits of omega3 with glucosamine

2008 – Seven Seas dispose of its Petcare division to Bob Martin (UK) Ltd in order to focus on consumer healthcare. Brands transferred included Solvitax, Vetzyme and Vitapet.

2009 – Seven Seas launch Femibion, the first brand of women’s health supplements for all life-stages.

2011 – Seven Seas launch Health Oils, an innovative range of 7 expertly blended nutrients and fish oil products for specific benefits.

2012 – Seven Seas launches five new ranges; Complete Multivitamins, Pregnancy, Immune Support , Ilumina Skin Nutrition and Essentials.