Our History


A gentleman by name of Henri Tesner started it all!

Entrepreneur, inventor, developer of business ideas, problem solver, implementation specialist –  all these titles and many other accolades have been bestowed upon the man over the years – and he has earned each and every single one of them.

Henri TesnerThe idea of somehow extracting or removing bad odours from washroom cubicles has long been a major issue to Mr. Tesner. Eventually, after many moons of trying and testing, voila! The product that came to life ended up being one of the best inventions yet to hit the world! It revolutionized the way in which washroom hygiene was to be managed.

The subject matter is not a very pleasant point of discussion at any particular time. But, every one of us has experienced the embarrassment of leaving a not-so-pleasant-an-odour for the next person wanting to use the toilet, or the discomfort of actually being that next person!  As much as we may wish or try to mask the odour with air-fresheners and installing extractor fans to hopefully get rid of the smell quickly, the problem remains being an embarrassing and often very unpleasant experience.

From the start, Mr. Tesner knew that his invention had to be more than just “of some help” – it had to be the complete solution for application to toilets and urinals.

During one particular visit to Mr. Tesner’s game farm at Ellisras, in South Africa, four foreign hunter-visitors had to sleep over in one of the newly built chalet facilities, before moving on the next day. Early the next day, each one had the need to make a pit-stop to the toilet, but with disastrous results!  There and then Henri’s usually-ready-for-action inventive genes jumped into gear, and the first-ever toilet odour remover was born.

This single-minded determination to solve the problem and keep improving the product, eventually became the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy.

It was Mrs. Tesner’s hairdryer motor that served as the proto-type’s extractor fan, and when a local supermarket’s entire stock-holding of hairdryers was purchased in one single day, everybody realized one thing.., Henri Tesner was serious about solving a world-wide problem!

The first experiment was a flattened pipe inserted under the toilet seat, and connected to the small extractor fan, but it wasn’t good enough for Mr. Tesner…

He built moulds to house the motors, scoured electronics retailers and wholesalers for the “perfect” switches and transformers, making one demonstration model after the other, and even set up a display stand in the showroom of his lawnmower business. Initial public response was one of scoffing the “noisy contraption”. This soon changed as the proto type improved in performance and looks.

With Henri spending more time in the toilet than with the family, not only were prospects looking up, but also, with the vast, increasingly overall improvements in the product, as well as a demand there for, he could in all seriousness start the hunt for partners to help finance a now-growing enterprise. It didn’t take long for two partners, Messrs. Ferdie Niehaus and Fanus Heyns, to realize the potential for hitting the proverbial jackpot with the product, and the three gentlemen set up a small production line.

Radio and television talk-show participation developed into a full-blown advertising campaign, and before anyone could say “Jack Robinson”, Henri sold his lawnmower business, Fanus sold his Cape Town business and both devoted themselves on a fulltime basis to the project, which by now was known as “Toilet Friend”.

Turnover went up, dealerships were being established, network marketing activities grew, and today, not many years later, the company has become a multi-million operation.  In South Africa alone, the company now has close on one hundred dealerships, while the need for at least another two hundred exists…

The product is patented and carries all the required certifications to allow for trade to take place anywhere on the globe.

The history of Toilet Friend International truly is a story worth telling.  

Incidentally, every time you enter that cubicle and the smell ain’t so good, tell them about Toilet Friend International (Pty) Ltd – you could even earn yourself some cash in doing so!

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