By the 1930s, Mr Pedersen’s growing company had its own “mixing” room, where different fibres were combined to serve even more specialised purposes. And during World War II, limited access to foreign markets forced the company to find alternative materials for use as bristles – an early sign of Vikan’s famous powers of innovation. Yet through it all, the constant driving force was a devotion to cleaning tool efficacy and durability.
In addition to its range of wood and natural-fibre cleaning tools, Vikan had been producing a small number of plastic brushes since the mid-1960s. Everything changed, however, in the early 1970s, when a scientific study found that walk-in refrigerated areas at a Danish meatpacking plant showed higher levels of bacteria after cleaning than prior to it. This discovery – and a growing general concern with, and ability to measure, food production hygiene – ushered in a new era for Vikan, where cleaning tools had both to clean in the traditional sense, and to be clean in order to clean hygienically.