For Over a Century...
A Trusted Name
"Kingston Harbour, circa 1870, where many of the raw ingredients used in Benjamins' early range of products would've been shipped in, and manufactured into the trusted items we still use today."
Young entrepreneur Percival Austin Benjamin, a proud Jamaican, developed his keen interest in the popular Jamaican practice of using bush teas, herbal medicines and self-medication into what is now the oldest drug manufacturing company in Jamaica.
Downtown Kingston has always been a bustling and lively area, even in the late 1870s around the time when Percival A. Benjamins established the company
Established in 1879, P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company Limited - originally called "Benjamins' Jamaica Healing Oil Factory" was initially stocked with a large array of its founder's own bottled preparations, concocted of the young apothecary's knowledge of medicine. The savvy young businessman soon recognised the marketing potential of making his products available to Jamaicans abroad and, in a stroke of marketing genius set out to acquire customers, among them Jamaicans at work on the construction of the Panama Canal. Benjamins’ aggressive salesmanship led to the infiltration of markets throughout the Caribbean, markets which the company has managed to retain and systematically expand upon.
Marcus Garvey leaves St. Ann's Bay and moves to Kingston where he is employed in the printing shop of P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company.
Garvey rose quickly through their ranks, becoming a master printer and their first Afro-Jamaican foreman. His mother and sister, by this point estranged from his father, moved to join him in the city. Garvey was also an influential employee and by 1907 was elected the Vice-President of the Typographical Union.
The hub of much of Jamaica's enterprise, Downtown flourished from the nineteenth century into the twentieth. As attire and transport evolved, so did the way we did business
In 1930, two years after our founder's passing, P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company was purchased by the firm of Cecil B. Facey. However, the change of ownership did not derail the company, although the line of products became less patent medicine oriented and the "cures" were dropped. The Healing Oil, Pomades and the already internationally popular Khus Khus line of perfumes continued to form the backbone of the company.
In the late 1950's, the Matalon family, who had already established themselves in the local pharmaceutical industry through Commodity Service Company, acquired Cecil B. Facey Limited and P.A. Benjamin. The change of ownership breathed new life into P.A.B., which thereafter continued to grow by a planned programme of product development and exports. Around the same time, P.A.B. established a new home at 97 East Street, Kingston Jamaica.
Photo colourisation gives a new look at the new decade - the 1950s saw growth for both Kingston and Benjamins in a big way