Office Furniture Specialists Limited
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AHI - Alex Harvey Industry Limited - History - 5th Sep 2013

AHI - Alex Harvey Industry Limited - History Over time OFS will reflect on companies attached to the office industry. A journey to share knowledge while respecting our past to the present of a great New Zealand workforce.

When OFS install, alter or brace office furniture we come into contact with products that are before our time in the industry and  we start to research a little.

Office Furniture Specialists Limited is taking an historical interest in AHI (Alex Harvey Industries).

It all started with some libraries in Dunedin - we noticed the AHI on the shelving edge which of course we find out to be Alex Harvey Industries. The shelving is made with New Zealand Steel and is a great design with fully folded locking bars between the uprights that bolt in.

We see it most as black brackets and uprights with the famous lime green shelves (If anyone knows what this colour is actually called please contact us - we now know - 'Tusk Ivory'.)

We've learnt a lot about Alex Harvey Industries Limited - it seems the board members had the vision 'the sky was the limit' with 'hard kiwi workers' at the helm. And up until the takeover in 1986 I was only 11 years of age not knowing anything about the office industry I would get into. 

We now can associate the products from 'Molenberg Bread' bags, the 'New Zealand apples' boxes, the early cans that were a lot harder than todays,  plastic packaging, roofing tiles, bathroom porcelain  and so much more.

As for office furniture -  filing cabinets, shelving, multi drawer units and other steel cabinetry.

There is just too much product to list but I can guarantee everyone up until 1986 were using AHI products - some more than others.

Below is a bulleted company journey which seems to show more than an assertive style which all started from my observation of shelving in a library. Of course this leads to Precision at some stage but we'll start with Alex Harvey Industries Limited.

Thanks to Ken Valder for so much help, this has enabled me to learn and provide the information in another format.

One Hundred and Twenty Five years ago, Alexander Harvey founded a company which manufactured dairy cans.

Alexander Harvey emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand and farmed in Te Puke until the Tarawera eruption forced him off the land. He moved to Auckland and founded Alex Harvey, a sheet metal business which became Alex Harvey and Sons in 1902.

The business originally worked out of premises in Durham Street. In 1896 it moved to Albert Street and in 1911 also operated from Kings Drive, Parnell, and in 1928 also from Victoria Street (Cook Street). In 1957 the operations were combined under one roof in new premises at Mt Wellington.

  • 1866 - Alexander Harvey founded 'Alex Harvey', a business manufacturing milk and cream churns for the dairy industry (pioneer industry).

  • 1896 - Albert Street premises for Milk Cans with Creamery, Cheese Factory and Dairy Supplies retailed on the building front.

  • 1896 - Opened with his three sons - William, David and Alexander.
  • 1896 - Making Tin Cans, Lipstick Containers and Honey Tins.

  • 1900 - Commencement of canister manufacturer (pioneer industry).

  • 1902 - Alex Harvey and Sons formed.

  • 19?? - Harvey's first truck driven by George Martin - the Ford Model T.

  • 1911 - Business converted to private company - Alex Harvey and Sons Limited with a capital of 25,000 pounds.
  • 1911 - Kings Drive premises, Parnell Established.

  • 1914 - Tin printing began (pioneer industry).

  • 1918 - Commencement of can manufacture in Wellington.

  • 1920's - Alex Harvey tin canisters made for Ambrosia Oil, Bears Smoking Tobacco, Bergers Paint, Gee-Bee Terebine, Houghton's Motor Oil & one of my favourites 'Tip-Top Furniture Polish'. Of course there were many more.

  • 1928 - Victoria Street Premises on the go with the Lithographic Tin Printers.

  • 1932 - Commencement of manufacture of commercial refrigerator cabinets (pioneer industry).

  • 1935 - Commencement of manufacture of domestic refrigerator cabinets (pioneer industry).

  • 1938 - Commencement of manufacture of washing machine components (pioneer industry).

  • 1948 - Business converted to public company - Alex Harvey and Sons Limited with a paid up capital of 300,000 pounds.

  • 1952 - Company started moving to new premises at Mt Wellington, Auckland.

  • 1956 - Alex Harvey and Sons (Wellington) and Harvey Can established.

  • 1957 - Harvey Can ceased.
  • 1957 - Albert Street moved to Mt Wellington (Container Division)

  • 1959 - New paint shop and new can line (Container Division) established.

  • 1960's - Anyone who remembers working on the Cincinnati's in the Press department - we would love to hear from you. Applying the huge press brakes in the sheet metal division would have been a tiresome job. Stationed at Alex Harvey Sheetmetal products in Mt.Wellington.

  • 1961 - 75th anniversary of Alex Harvey and Sons Ltd.

  • 1962 - Plastics Factory at Naenae and Auckland established.
  • 1962 - Mt Wellington expansion of container division.

  • 1963 - Boyce & Congreve acquired.

  • 1964 - Plastic Products of Hamilton acquired.
  • 1964 - Beer can production commenced. Harveytile introduced.

  • 1965 - W.H.Bond & Co acquired.
  • 1965 - Precision Engineering Company acquired.
  • 1965 - Plastic Sheetings Ltd established.

  • 1966 - Extensions to nearly all plants. PVC plant at Otara commissioned.

  • 1967 - New press for baths installed.

  • 1968 - Structural Aluminium acquired.
  • 1968 - Plastic Moulding established at Christchurch.

  • 1969 - Merger of New Zealand activities of Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd (ACI), Alex Harvey & Sons Ltd and L.J.Fisher & Co Ltd, from 1 April 1969, adding glass, fibreglass, paper and plastic groups.

  • 1969 - Name change to Alex Harvey Industries Ltd.
  • 1969 - Acquired 51% of Danband Products Ltd.

  • 1970 - New fibreglass plant established at Christchurch.
  • 1970 - New engineering facility established in Hamilton.
  • 1970 - Glenorchy development (Scheelite) began.
  • 1970 - AHI Fiji operations commenced.
  • 1970 - Acquired 25% of paper coaters. 

  • 1971 - George & Ashton purchased.
  • 1971 - 50% of Blades Plastics acquired.
  • 1971 - Joint venture with Comalco.
  • 1971 - Rylock & Fisher Falkiner chains acquired.
  • 1971 - Plastic Sheetings sold to Nylex.
  • 1971 - N.Z. Tungsten Mining Co. formed.
  • 1971 - New plastic plant constructed Carbine Road, Auckland.

  • 1972 - Lyte Aluminium acquired.
  • 1972 - Remaining 50% of Blades purchased.
  • 1972 - N.Z. Feldspar Ltd. formed with Ceramco Ltd.
  • 1972 - Merger with Pillar Naco.
  • 1972 - New enamelling line installed at Sheetmetal.
  • 1972 - Roll-a-door production commenced.

  • 1973 - Superfine Lime Co. acquired.
  • 1973 - Multiplex assets acquired.
  • 1973 - 50 year anniversary of New Zealand Glass Manufacturers Company (NZGM).

  • 1974 - 50th anniversary of W.H. Bond and Precision Engineering Companies.

  • 1975 - National Lass Reclamation Scheme established.
  • 1975 - Exports $6 Million.

  • 1976 - Sale of 49% of Fiji operation to Stinson Pearce Ltd.
  • 1976 - Architectural Joinery Components acquired.
  • 1976 - AHI (Caribbean) formed.
  • 1976 - Forestry land purchased.

  • 1977 - 20% of Nylex sold to Fletchers.
  • 1977 - Head office building commenced at Manukau City.
  • 1977 - New Hygrade Packaging factory started at Levin.
  • 1977 - Exports $18 Million.

  • 1978 - Interest in New Zealand Overseas Trading Corporation (NZOTC) acquired.
  • 1978 - Turoa Skifields development commenced.
  • 1978 - USA Company - AHI Roofing Inc established.
  • 1978 - 30% of Polytuil S.A., Belgium acquired.

  • 1979 - Singapore subsidiary of N.Z.O.T.C. formed.
  • 1979 - 30% interest in Villadsen, tile company, in Denmark arranged.
  • 1979 - Precision Plastics acquired.
  • 1979 - 50% of Whimpway Products acquired.
  • 1979 - Exports $32 million

  • 1980 - Investment holding companies established in Europe.
  • 1980 - Te Kao forestry operations commenced.
  • 1980 - Turoa Ski Village established.
  • 1980 - Exports $46 Million.

  • 1981 - Increase of authorised capital from $50 Million to $100 Million.
  • 1981 - 81% interest in Aakronite Ltd acquired.
  • 1981 - AHI Forests Ltd formed.
  • 1981 - Exports $48.7 Million

  • 1982 - Acquisition 51% of Vacation Hotels
  • 1982 - Acquisition 23% of Carter Holt
  • 1982 - Acquisition 50% of Canterbury Timber Products.
  • 1982 - Acquisition 40% of N.Z. Fibreglass, making a shareholding of 100%.
  • 1982 - Acquisition 15% of N.Z. Overseas Trading Corp, making a shareholding of 100%.

  • 1982 - Acquisition 50% of Oakley Architectural Windows.
  • 1982 - One-third interest in Ngatihine Forest project acquired.
  • 1982 - Assets of Laminex Industries sold to Formica.
  • 1982 - New Cardboard container factory established at Nelson.
  • 1982 - Exports $62.3 Million.

  • 1983 - Acquisition 56% of ANI Plastics (Caribbean) Ltd.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 50% of AHI St.Regis, making a shareholding of 100%.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 50% of Zanpro Lucerne (N.Z.) Ltd.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 49% of Golden Manufacturers Ltd, Fiji.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 25% of Oakley Seiko Aluminium, Singapore.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 25% of Paper Coaters Ltd - making a shareholding of 50%.
  • 1983 - Acquisition 50% of Tetra Pak (N.Z.) Ltd.
  • 1983 - Disposed 51% of Vacation Hotels
  • 1983 - Disposed 23% of Carter Holt Holdings Ltd
  • 1983 - Exports $60.8 Million.

  • 1984 - Acquisition 50% of Fern Holdings Pty Ltd Australia.
  • 1984 - Acquisition 50% of Henderson and Pollard Ltd
  • 1984 - Exports $83.7 Million.

  • 1985 - Acquisition 100% of Smith and Smith Limited
  • 1985 - Acquisition 100% of J.F. Oakley Ltd
  • 1985 - Acquisition 70% of Danband Products
  • 1985 - Acquisition 95% of CEMAC Commercial Interiors Ltd.
  • 1985 - Acquisition 75% of Watkins & Starr Pty.
  • 1985 - Acquisition 50% of Welding Industries of Australasia Ltd.
  • 1985 - Acquisition 24.9% of Euro-National Corporation Ltd
  • 1985 - Disposed -100% of Coverall Industries (NZ) Ltd.
  • 1985 - Disposed - 100% of AHI South Pacific Ltd.
  • 1985 - Disposed - 100% of Superfine Lime Co.
  • 1985 - Disposed - 50% Tetra Pak (NZ) Ltd.
  • 1985 - Exports $102.4 Million

  • 1985 - July - Carter Holt Holdings Ltd acquired AHI. As a result, the NZGM, Crown Crystal Glass and AHI Closures reverted to ACI International.

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