In 1935, Mr Fred W Clayton opened a business at 11 Unley Road, Unley, South Australia. With his two employees, a tradesman and a messenger, he manufactured incubators, ice cream cabinets and kitchen tables. In 1938, he began to make domestic ice chests. During the war he made large field ice chests for the American Army. In 1947, Fred's son John joined the company, which became known as F W Clayton & Son. In 1948 a new factory was built at 1026 South Road, Edwardstown, South Australia; it later expanded to produce a range domestic furniture. The Staykold portable ice box, was produced from 1948, and it was so popular that a separate factory was built solely to produce this and other metal products. In 1973 Clayton Furniture expanded, building a factory at North Plympton, South Australia.

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