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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Fear, Francis James Webber

Fear, Francis James Webber, Engineer, 88 Willis Street, Wellington. Telegraphic address, “Fear, page 679 Wellington” Telephone 976. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales. Private residence, Kilbirnie. The above business was established in 1880, and may be said to embrace the importation, manufacture, sale and repairing of sewing machines, bicycles, and all kinds of light machinery. The trade is, of course, largely local; but Mr. Fear being the sole New Zealand agent for several special lines, his transactions extend throughout the length and breadth of the Colony, and occasionally to the South Sea Islands and even Australia. The sewing machines handled by Mr. Fear include the “Standard Rotary,” the “Vibrator,” the “White Peerless,” the “Davis,” the “Jones,” the “American No. 7,” and others; and his principal lines in bicycles are the “Raglan” and the “Warwick” Finding, however, that almost every make of bicycle has an advantage in some of its parts over the similar parts of all others, Mr. Fear has entered upon a course which would seem to recommend itself. He is now importing the various parts and making up the machines himself. By this means he hopes to unite the best features and the strong points of all the leading makes, and thus produce an unrivalled bicycle. Mr. Fear's many years of practical experience should certainly fit him specially for this branch. He does a very large business in repairs of all kinds of light machinery, but particularly of bicycles, sewing machines and typewriters Mr. Fear's premises are most central, being almost opposite the new building of the Evening Post. At the rear of the shop is a large workshop containing lathes, and a great variety of smaller tools, besides a gas furnace and many other useful implements. The front portion of the premises is two stories, and in the upper are kept the bulk stock of articles sold below, including every variety of rubber and pneumatic tires for bicycles, sewing machine needles of all kinds, and every description of duplicate parts, machine oils, and numerous other articles. The more bulky goods are kept in a store in Old Customhouse Street. Mr. Fear, the proprietor, was born at Barnstaple, in North Devonshire, England, and was educated at the Wesleyan Day School and Dunstone's Seminary. He was then elected a member of
Fear, Francis James Webber,

Photo by Mrs. Hermann

the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institution, where he attended its Science and Art Classes held in connection with the South Kensington, passed its examinations, obtained a full certificate in drawing, and won, just before emigrating, a valuable prize for the best mechanical drawing. He was apprenticed to Messrs. Miller Bros., the well-known lace-makers, of Barnstaple. Messrs. Miller Bros, make all their own machinery, Mr. Fear's father having been in the firm's service over fifty years, part of the time as manager, and it was to that branch of the business that Mr. Fear was apprenticed. On the completion of his term he remained in the employ of the firm until he decided on coming to New Zealand in 1879. The experience which Mr. Fear gained in the manufacture of such delicate machinery as that needed for lace-making, was, of course, of just the right kind to help him in his present line; and it is small wonder that he has so thoroughly secured the confidence of the public. A resident at Kilbirnie for many years past, Mr. Fear has been actively engaged in the public life of the borough. He has been a member of the Borough Council from its foundation, some seven or eight years ago; for six years he was a member of the school committee, occupying the position of chairman for four consecutive years; he has occupied a seat on the licensing bench, has been a trustee of the public reserve, and is now a trustee of the new Wesleyan Church. Mr. Fear is a member of the Rechabite Order, Hope of Wellington Tent.