While George Foster Clark was running a grocer’s shop in Maidstone, Kent, in the late 1880s, he began experimenting with ingredients to improve some of his products. He made baking powder, self-raising flour and lemonade powder for sale in his shop. In 1891 encouraged by the sale of his products, he commenced full-time manufacture in a small building in Mote Road.
George’s two brothers, William and Henry, joined him and the firm became known as Foster Clark & Co. George personally undertook all sales, supervision and distribution, while his brothers managed the production side of the business.
George believed in vigorous advertising and as the Eiffel Tower, then a modern wonder of the world, had recently been erected in Paris he decided to capitalise on its enormous popularity and register the name as his landmark brand name. Sales soared and before long the name of Foster Clark and the Eiffel Tower brand name became household words throughout England. In 1895 the company moved to the Chambers jam factory premises in Hart Street and renamed it the Eiffel Tower Works.
Foster Clark & Co. continued to prosper and in 1928 the business was incorporated as a limited company. The size of the premises was increased, as was the range of products and the company became one of the best known food manufacturing concerns in the country with an annual output of several thousand tons of custard powder, blacmange powder, jellies, soups and lemonade products.
In 1929 the company became one of the first in Britain to begin the canning of fruit and vegetables. Most of the produce came from the farms and gardens of Kent and was canned the same day as received.
After the Second World War the factory in Hart Street was equipped with one of the most modern cannery production lines in the country.
In the 1950s financial hardship hit the firm when public demand shifted towards frozen foods. In 1963 Foster Clark Ltd. went into receivership and two years later it was acquired by Oxo Ltd., who continued the trade of Foster Clark within its own organisation. Today, the company is owned by the Busuttil Group and is based in Malta.