Founder of Industrial Packaging Ltd, Bray, requested cardboard tube coffin instead of conventional one
Home to a Fledgling Company: the Industrial Packaging Limited site in Bray, County Wicklow, which has made its name in cardboard tube since 1954. Image via Google Maps’ 3D View.
Earlier this month, Frederick (Fred) Norman Lee, the founder of Industrial Packaging Ltd in Bray, County Wicklow, passed away at the age of 97. At his funeral in Redwood Cemetery, he was laid to rest in a cardboard tube coffin instead of a conventional wooden one. The cardboard tube, measuring 650mm in diameter, was Fred’s wish, given the contribution he has made to the cardboard packaging industry in the Republic of Ireland.
Industrial Packaging Limited was formed as Dixon and Co. Tubes in 1947 in Central Dublin. The original premises measured 9,000 square feet. Mr Lee’s involvement in the company began in 1954 when it adopted the present name, Industrial Packaging Limited. He turned around a formerly bankrupt business into one of the most profitable manufacturers of cardboard tubes in the Republic of Ireland.
In 1976, they outgrew their original premises for a new 20,000 square feet site in Blackrock. Close to the Irish Sea, it was perfect for road and ferry connections. Fifteen years on, they would move again, to their present site in Bray. The original building opened in 1991 (52,000 square feet) with a second plant (37,000 square feet) opening in 2001.
Alongside the cardboard tubes it is best known for, other products include fibre drums and UN boxes and cable reels. It is still owned by the same family to this day.
About Frederick (Fred) Norman Lee
Before Fred Lee renamed Dixon and Co. as Industrial Packaging Limited, Mr Lee’s life is worthy of a blog post itself. Born in 1920 in Dublin, the hardship of life in his birthplace led to him and his family setting up home in India, to invest in a coffee plantation. After the depression, they returned to Dublin in 1932, penniless. To get by, he took on various odd jobs and had to finish his education in a charity school for sons of war victims near London.
In 1941, at the height of the Second World War, he volunteered for the Royal Navy. By peacetime, he was employed by Guinness at their Dublin brewery. After being bored there, he, along with his cousin and father-in-law, started a laundry which included a nappy cleaning service. Then he took over a bankrupt cardboard tube business known as Dixon and Co. The rest, as they say…
Much of his hard work led to Industrial Packaging Limited being the market leader it is today. If you seek his monument, it is just off the Killarney Road. He is survived by his son, Norman, who is the present Chairman, who joined the cardboard tube manufacturers in 1971.