Nicholas Brothers and Aspro
Alfred Michael Nicholas was born on 14 September 1881 in Majorca, Victoria. Alfred had only limited education but was driven by determination and ambition. His first job was at the age of 11 years as an errand boy for the grocers shop. He continued on to numerous jobs including being a salesman for a Music House, shop manager and also opened up his own import agency, which he maintained until he joined his brother George in the Aspro venture.
During World War 1, all German patents and trademarks were suspended in Australia. It was at this time that George, a qualified pharmacist, decided to try and invent Aspirin. Though there were many struggles, he was successful and registered the trade name on 12 June 1915. Alfred joined George on the venture to develop Aspirin, which later become Aspro. Through hard work and heavy investment, Alfred and George were rewarded by the first sales of Aspro in May 1919. Alfred passed away in 1937 and his son Maurice aged 20 became actively involved in Nicholas Pty Ltd becoming Chairman in 1947 until his death in 1976. Throughout the 1920s, Nicholas Pty Ltd, continued to expand their operations. Manufacturing began in New Zealand in 1923 and the first sales were made in England in 1924. Expansion into Europe began in 1925 and into Asia in 1927.
A Healthy Enterprise
Health and nutritional product Akta-Vite was formulated in 1943 under Maurice Nicholas’s management. Locally, the operation also included owning and running the Walwa Milk Foods factory which focused on milk powder drying. By 1968, there were 75 brands associated with Nicholas Pty Ltd. Some of these include Akta-Vite, Penta-Vite, White King, Vincent’s Powders, Staminade and Nature’s Way. In 1981 Nicholas acquired Kiwi shoe products and continued business until 1986, when Nicholas was sold to Sara Lee. Whilst these brands are no longer owned by the Nicholas family they remain trusted Australian household products.