Our story follows Tambour from its beginnings as a small family paint store in Tzfat, to the global paint and building materials company that it is today. Our story tells of 80 years of wonderful achievement, decades of innovative development, thousands of private and national projects, and how Tambour became a home for millions of customers.
The 1930's: How We Began
Tambour was founded in 1936 by the Wolfgang family, which immigrated to the land that later became Israel in order to help build the Jewish community there. Children at that time used paint cans to keep the beat instead of tambourines, and these “tin drums” were the inspiration for the company’s name.
The name “Tambour” first appeared on the door of a small store selling building materials and paint in Tzfat. Tambour soon became synonymous with paint, and “tambouria” became a generic term for stores selling paint and building materials.
The 1940's: Gathering Momentum
In 1944, Tambour was acquired by British concern Jenson and Nicolson Ltd., and expanded internationally in the paint industry, thanks to its advanced technological know-how. Another milestone that established Tambour as a high-quality and reliable brand was its selection in 1945 for the job of painting the first Habima Theater in Tel Aviv, which later became Israel’s national theater.
1950s: Development and Innovation
Tambour began investing in advertising in the 1950’s; its first advertising slogan was, “Tambour Paint for Beauty and Elegance.” Tambour signs featured on store fronts fostered awareness of its brand, and made “tambouria” a common Israeli expression. Many important things happened during this decade: Tambour’s paint was used for the Susita, the first Israeli-made car, and the company created the first color charts in Israel to help its customers select the right shade of paint. This decade saw a switch from oil paint (Tambourline) to synthetic paint (Superlak). Tambour invested on a large scale in the development of advanced products, such as Hammertone – an anti-rust metallic paint. The name was chosen because of the texture of the paint, which makes the painted surface appear as if it had been hammered.
1960s: A Decade of Scientific Breakthroughs
The world changed greatly during this decade, with paint unquestionably playing a major role. The vivid colors and kaleidoscopes favored by the “flower children” of the 1960’s influenced the mood in Tambour, and many products were developed. The slogan adopted for the period was “Thinking in Color.” In 1963, Tambour launched one of its most important products – Supercryl, which proved to be a milestone for the company when it became Israel’s leading and most advanced interior wall paint. Another new product in the 1960’s was Polysid, a synthetic whitewash that replaced slaked lime.
1970s: A Decade of Purchasing and Expansion
After IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan noticed on a routine flight that all of the army bases in southern Israel were visible from the air, Tambour developed camouflage paint for IDF bases. When it was discovered that this paint was also a fairly good insecticide, the concrete walls of IDF outposts near the Suez Canal were painted with Tambour paint, completely eliminating pests. Tambour acquired the Haifa Paint company in 1972, and the Askar company in 1974. The company enlarged the paint market in Israel during this decade by educating consumers about paint style, leading to a major conceptual revolution in which paint became a fashion product influenced by trends, rather than merely a functional product. Tambour’s slogan was “See What Color Can Do.” In the 1970’s, Tambour began providing advice on how to choose appropriate shades of paint. Tambour began to produce emulsion paint, and built a plant for the purpose in northern Israel.
The 1980's: Additional Know-how about External Paint
The 1980’s featured large prominent and iconic projects that consolidated Tambour’s leading position. The company expanded beyond Israel’s borders: a huge residential neighborhood in Nigeria overcame a problem with mildew using Tambour paint, Tambour’s Tamaglass system was used to paint hotels in Ghana and the 90,000-seat Lagos Stadium in Nigeria, and Tambour’s paint was also used for new hotels in Eilat. The company revolutionized the local market after the Tel Aviv municipal engineer approved the use of Tamaglass for prominent institutions and buildings, such as the Gibor Sport House, the Yakhin House, the skyscraping antenna in the Ministry of Defense compound in Tel Aviv, the Rambam Medical Center, the Rabin Medical Center, the Tel Aviv Dan Hotel, and others. The Council for a Beautiful Israel held a competition in order to select the most beautiful IDF base, and all of the IDF’s bases were painted with Tambour paint for the occasion. All of the police stations in Israel were painted with Tambour’s mocha-tinted Supercryl. Tambour’s paint was used for all of the beachfront hotels in Tel Aviv and Atarim Square. Many products were launched in this decade, among them Tambourtex, a paint with a unique slightly sandy texture, and Supercryl MD, which replaced Supercryl as the designated paint for external walls. The slogan for this period was “Painting the World.”
1990s: A Successful Public Company
Technology made enormous progress during this decade, with digital technologies being integrated into industry, and Tambour’s development kept up with the trend. In 1991, the company switched its production from solvent-based paint to water-based paint, such as varnish – a clear water-based tinting lacquer for painting wood that replaced the solvent-based poly-tone and Supercryl 2000. Tambour expanded its global activity in shipyards in China and Germany. In Israel, the company was involved in painting complex projects, such as Azrieli Towers, the pier at the Hadera power station, and the Israel National Trail. TambourMix– an advanced tinting system that revolutionized the paint market – was launched during this decade. Also in this decade, Tambour acquired 50% of the Serafon company, which manufactured construction finishing products. Tambour became a public company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The slogan for this period was “Tambour – The National Paint.”
The 2000's: Making Life Colorful
Globalization, the huge scale of technological development, and trends in style enlarged Tambour’s basket of products. Color effects products were developed: Antique (an ancient-looking effect), Wash (a cloudy effect), Fantasy (a metallic glaze effect), Sparks (a glittery metallic effect for painting metal), Suede (a suede-like effect), and Safari (a wild dune effect). Tambour’s international activity picked up steam: the company painted submarines for the German navy, carried out projects in Jamaica, painted bridges in Russia, etc. In Israel, statues of bulls placed in Tel Aviv and statutes of strawberries displayed in Ramat Sharon were painted with Tambour paint by leading artists. In 2007, Tambour participated in the renovation of the Habima Theater building. Tambour House, Tambour’s paint consultancy center located in Ramat Gan, opened in 2008, and the most advanced plaster plant in the Middle East was built. The slogans for this period were “Making Life Colorful” and “See What Color Can Do.”
2010-2020: Looking to the Future – Tambour Expands to the Worlds of Construction and Plaster
Kusto, an international infrastructure and construction corporation, acquired Tambour in 2014. Since then, Tambour has also maintained its standing in the construction products market, with an extensive basket of products containing a range of plaster, adhesive and sealing agents, plasterboards and plaster casts, and a variety of concrete products, in cooperation with the global BASF company. Tambour took part in a series of national infrastructure projects, such as the light rail project, tunneling for the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway line, the lighthouse building in Tel Aviv – the largest concrete restoration project in Israel, painting the Dizengoff Center parking lot, and others. Tambour also retained its leading position in the paint market in Israel. Its slogan for the period was ” in My House Only Tambour.”
2020 to Date: Building a Better Future
The second decade of the 21st century began with a new vision – building a better future – paving the way. Tambour is devoting great efforts and resources to the development of better products that will improve the quality of life and reduce their effect on the environment. In 2021, the new plaster powder factor was opened in Ashkelon, where the products are made according to international ecological standards. The new plant has the largest production capacity in Israel, and is one of the most environmentally-friendly plants in the country. During this decade, a series of ecological paint products was launched, one of which is eco2 – an ecological paint containing exclusively natural materials that improves the quality of the air in a home, and a range of mineral plaster materials with local textures.
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