Ink innovator and Cranfield Colours founder passes

By Rhys Handley, Tuesday 06 February 2018

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George Craine, founder of ink house Cranfield Colours, has died at the age of 87.

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George Craine was "in his natural habitat" in the ink lab

Remembered by colleagues and competitors alike as “one of the good guys” in the industry, Craine founded the artists' colours and printing ink company in Cwmbran, South Wales, in 1977. He eventually handed over the reins to his son, and current managing director, Michael, while staying on as honorary chairman until his death.

Michael Craine remembered his father, who died on Sunday 4 February, as “very eccentric, but never driven or ruthless”. He said George Craine was a man who put human relationships and the love of his work above profit and growth.

“My dad just enjoyed meeting people, answering their questions and solving their problems,” Michael said. “There was no competitive edge to him and the success of Cranfield Colours was a result of his genuine enthusiasm for everyone, whether competitor or customer.

“Long into his retirement, he would still come into work to tinker away at small, niche projects – nothing that would rake in the big profits, but simply he would do it because someone had asked for his help to solve a problem. He was in his natural habitat in the ink lab.

“While he always got the names of our staff members wrong, he had a great memory for the details of their lives and was held in high regard. His legacy is an ethical one, not interested in growth or profit for its own sake, and an example we will continue to follow.”

George Craine began work in the print industry at Johnstone & Cumbers ink house, where his father George Craine senior worked, in Stratford, East London, before moving out of London to start his family business in the 1970s.

He is survived by four sons, of which Michael was the only one to go into the family business, eight grandchildren, and his wife. Michael said that throughout his career he remained “balanced” between work and family life, as a man with a strong Christian faith, good humour, and openness to all.

The Craine family has extended an open invitation to anyone he worked with in the printing industry to join family and friends for his funeral at 2pm, Monday 12 February at St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath.

Michael has also requested that any former industry friends wishing to send flowers, instead make a donation made in his father’s name to Torch Trust, a charity working with the blind and partially sighted.

“Working in a world creating colour, my father was mindful of those without sight and was a lifelong supporter of the Torch Trust, who would be pleased to receive any donation in memory of George,” Michael said.

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