The company experienced an economic boom unlike anything it had ever experienced before when the First World War started. The countries involved faced each other in a long, drawn-out period of very gruelling trench warfare in France. The soldiers on both sides suffered from the consequences of muddy trenches that were flooded by rain and groundwater. Their shoes, which were damp or wet all the time, made them ill. The troops became demoralised. The North British Rubber Company was therefore commissioned by the government to produce rubber boots that were suitable for use in such battle conditions. The machines ran day and night and produced a total of 1,185,036 pairs of boots.
When the Second World War broke out, the company experienced another economic upswing; 80 per cent of production in 1939 consisted of war materials, including life belts, bomb covers, gas masks and Wellington boots – as well as “overknee boots” that helped the British Army to keep their feet dry when crossing the flooded areas of the Netherlands. (Nowadays, boots that reach far above the knees are used primarily in amateur and professional fishing.)
In the years after the Second World War, the company’s boots became very well-known and increasingly popular, particularly in the working and hunting communities. In 1958, the North British Rubber Company scored another coup that boosted its image even more when it introduced the high-priced Hunter and Royal Hunter boots. Many different structural and name changes were made to the company after this as well and it is now known as Hunter Rubber Co. Ltd. – and is an official supplier to the English royal family.