Before the introduction of free running table salt as we know it today, household salt had to be purchased in blocks.
In 1891 a pharmacist by the name of George Duncan Bowie decided to mix a carefully prepared mixture of phosphates with salt thereby inventing dry-pouring salt. Another pharmacist called George Weddell experimented further with Bowie’s invention and managed to improve upon it, creating a dry free flowing salt. He called it Cerebos.
The name Cerebos is derived from the words Ceres (Roman goddess of agriculture and harvests) and os (the Latin word for bone – the phosphates in salt strengthen the bones).
Weddell built a factory close to the salt deposits at Seaton Carew, County Durham. The business soon took off, employing a manager, a chemist, an engineer and a small group of workers for packing.
The company also sold baking powder and health salts. By 1896 salesmen were working throughout the UK. They sent samples to doctors and chemists for comment and so the name of Cerebos spread.
In 1900 small traces of arsenic found in the phosphates Cerebos were using caused a panic amongst the salt buying public. However the amounts involved were found to be very small and steps were taken to remove the impurities.
In 1904 the company became Cerebos Limited and two years later the manufacturing operation was moved to Greatham.
In 1919 Cerebos Limited acquired Middlewich Salt Co Ltd, giving them a total workforce of 850 women and 150 men.
After The Second World War new methods of production came in and Cerebos Limited continued to expand.
The company was acquired by RHM Ltd in 1968, which in turn was acquired by Premier Foods in March 2007.
There are at least 3 varieties of overprint to be found on the Queen Elizabeth 2d Wilding issues.