S.B. Fuller, the original "Fuller Brush man," who began Fuller Products Co. with a $25 loan and turned the housewares and cosmetics firm into a business empire, died Monday at St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Ill., apparently of kidney failure. He was 83.

Fuller, the first black member of the National Association of manufacturers, lived in Robbins, a south suburb of Chicago.Fuller, a native of Ouachita Parish, La., was schooled only through the sixth grade and hitchhiked to Chicago to begin a career influenced by the mother he lost at age 17. His mother had convinced him door-to-door sales was the best way out of poverty.

He began Fuller Products, a door-to-door housewares and cosmetics firm, in 1935 with a $25 loan by using his car as collateral.