Obituary: David Cowan

We are sad to report that David Cowan passed away after a short illness on 13 June 2023, aged 91.

Cowan was the chairman of Cole & Mason and David Mason Design.

In 1954, when in his early 20s, Cowan took over Cole &Mason, founded by his father Julian in 1919. Throughout Cowan’s long career he spearheaded continual innovation in housewares, kitchenware, and tableware.

In the 1950s Cowan introduced the first wood spice racks with jars filled with culinary herbs and spices. In the 1970s he designed the world’s first acrylic clear peppermill – the ‘505’ – which has gone on to sell to date well over 15 million units. In the 1980s he pioneered the outdoor living category with its outdoor tableware dining ranges and held a Disney licence for children’s melamine and drinkware.

A landmark moment in David’s career was recognition for international success in 1986, when, Cole & Mason was awarded the Queen’s Award for Export.  David recalled mentioning on his visit to the Palace that the company had supplied the royal family with mills and that Prince Philip had enthusiastically picked one up when they were talking. David said he was a great character, during their long conversation.

The Cowan Family sold Cole & Mason in 1995. In the past 28 years, Cowan was involved in the growth of David Mason Design with his two sons Nicholas and Richard.  Designing ceramics and tableware, which also included the development of company’s renowned brand ‘The English Tableware Company’.

The Cowan family has a rich history in the housewares, kitchenware, and tableware industry.

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