The firm started business under the name of Wilman, Spilhaus & Co on the 1st December 1876 at the top end of St George’s St, Cape Town. The founders of the firm were Mr Herbert Wilman & Mr Arnold Wilhelm Spilhaus.
When Mr Wilman retired in 1895, Mr Spilhaus took over .The firm was changed to Wm Spilhaus & Co. In 1915 the Company was changed into a limited liability company. The business of the Company was that of Merchants and Commission Agents which involved the importation of goods and the export of South African products, particularly Wool, Skins and Ostrich Feathers, as well as acting as shipping agents and representatives for Insurance Companies.
Walker & Hall Ltd of Sheffield was the first firm in Britain to use the system of silver plating by electrolysis. This famous firm had a branch in Cape Town which was not doing well. Agreement was reached with Spilhaus to take over the firm together with staff & stock, & a showroom was opened in 1934 in Strand St. This small shop was the beginning of the Spilhaus retail brand of business as it is known today.
Spilhaus traded successfully from one shop in the Cape Town CBD until 1977 when another branch was opened at the new Cavendish Square in Claremont. In 1978 Spilhaus took a gigantic step when it opened its first branch in Johannesburg, located at the Hyde Park shopping Centre. Further shops were opened in Johannesburg in the 1980’s although growth was severely curtailed by the very difficult trading conditions which prevailed at that time.
Today Spilhaus have 17 retail shops, 9 of which are Spilhaus Stores and 8 Swarovski standalone stores. The stores are located in the finest Shopping Centres in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Spilhaus is renowned for stocking internationally exclusive brands many of which cannot be obtained elsewhere in South Africa.