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From Bright Idea to Iconic Brand

Brillo is part of Armaly Brands, a 4th generation family-owned company. To learn more about how Armaly Brands got its start, go here.


Old Brill package

The Early Years

In the early 1900s, a breakthrough in home cookware was taking hold in America. Aluminum pots and pans were replacing heavy cast iron in homes throughout the nation. But, there was a problem. They were next-to-impossible to clean. Enter a cookware peddler and his brother-in-law, a jeweler. Using the jeweler's rouge, soap, and fine steel wool from Germany, the two found a method to scour these new pots and pans clean. When idea worked, the peddler soon began to sell it.

Old brillo soap pad package

Growth and Innovation

Demand for the steel wool and the cake of soap with the jeweler's rouge rose quickly, and in 1913 they secured a patent for the product under the name Brillo® (derived from the Latin word meaning "bright."). By 1917, the Brillo Manufacturing Company was making steel wool pads and packaging them, five pads to a box, with a cake of soap included. In 1921, the Brillo Manufacturing Company moved to London, Ohio where production resides today.

The next and most dramatic step in the evolution of the Brillo steel wool pad came in the early 1930s. That’s when the company developed a method to put the soap right into the pads themselves.

Brillo Products

Finding a Match

A natural fit, in 2010 Brillo was acquired by Armaly Brands forming a powerhouse of innovation and family values. As a result, a new line of Brillo® Estracell®…More Sanitary! sponges was born. And most recently, Armaly Brands welcomed the household cleaners Cameo, Parsons, and SNOBOL to the family. Together they strive to supply an effective and thorough cleaning solution for the entire home.   

Today, Brillo® is one of America's most recognizable brands, featured in modern art, songs, movies—and of course, homes nationwide. But most importantly it remains dedicated to one ideal…helping people everywhere to enjoy clean, healthy lifestyles.