The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Dixon, Mrs. George
Dixon, Mrs. George, Aerated Water and Cordial Manufacturer, 3 Dixon Street, Wellington. Telephone 378. Bankers, Bank of Australasia. Agents: Auckland, Mr. Arthur H. Nathan; New Plymouth, Mr. E. L. Nathan. Dixon's Cordial Factory is the oldest business of its kind in Wellington. The premises occupied were originally built for the purpose of a saw-mill by Messrs. Compton Bros., but were purchased by Mrs. Dixon in 1886. The late Mr. Edward Dixon established the business in Cuba Street as long ago as 1852. It was most successfully conducted by its founder until the year 1875, when it was taken over by his son, the late Mr. George Dixon, who had for many years been connected with his father's page 612 business, and had acquired a thorough knowledge of the trade. In his hands, therefore, the factory flourished and developed with the growth of the city. About the year 1870, he married Miss Duck, the present proprietress, and for some years before his untimely death, Mr. Dixon took his wife into his confidence in relation to the secrets of the business, including, of course, the mixing of Essences, which is so important a part of the manufacture of Cordials. Mrs. Dixon soon became thoroughly competent to undertake the management of the establishment. Mr. Dixon was lost overboard from the s.s. “Taiaroa” during a heavy gale at sea on the 26th June, 1883. In consequence of this sad accident the management of this large concern has rested upon Mrs. Dixon, who has conducted it with conspicuous ability. The factory consists of a large wooden building of two stories in height, and comprises about 10,000 square feet of floorage space. There is also a brick factory of one story, which has a floorage space of 1,600 square feet. There is a grand chimney stack of from eighty to a hundred feet high, which creates a strong draught for the furnaces. The machinery, which is of the latest possible description, is driven by a fine horizontal steam-engine, and comprises Codd's patent bottling racks, Hogben's bottling rack, turnover bottling rack (by Dan Bylands, of Manchester and London), also a corking rack, and a Barnett and Forster's double cylinder aerated water machine. This last machine is one of the largest and best that has ever been imported into the Colony. Its capacity is 500 dozen for a period of eight hours. Mrs. Dixon has a first-class staff of hands, some of whom have been with the firm for considerably over twenty years. Dixon's cordial factory has been well known for a long period for the superior make of Ginger Ale. Besides this well-known beverage there are the no less popular Lemonade, Soda Water, Football Punch, Lithia Water, and a very excellent cricketer's drink which is known by the letters “W G.” The brick factory has a substantial concrete floor, and is large and airy. The success of the factory is largely due to the splendid supply of water from a deep well which has been sunk on the premises, and which is clear, good, and free from minerals. It is pumped into a large tank with a capacity of 1000 gallons, which is situated in the wooden portion of the factory. There is also a tank containing 600 gallons, which is heated by steam to supply hot water for the purpose of washing bottles. The bottle-washing is carried out by proper machinery, propelled by steam power. The ground floor of the large wooden building is used for the purpose of storing bottles, packing, labelling, and other work preparatory to sending the cordials from the factory. The first floor contains a large and valuable stock of corks and general stores used in connection with the business. The syrup department is situate in a comfortable room supplied with two substantial coppers for boiling the syrups, besides a large number of tubs which contain the several essences and mixtures used in connection with the various drinks turned out with such good results by this firm. Dixon's cordial factory has held appointments to Governors of the Colony ever since its establishment, and the present Governor, His Excellency the Earl of Glasgow, has been pleased to continue the appointment. Sir W. Jervois, Sir George Bowen, Sir H. Robinson, Lord Onslow, Sir A. Gordon, and Sir James Prendergast, when acting-governor, all conferred their patronage on this firm. Two waggons and a cart and five horses are constantly employed in the delivery of beverages in the city and suburbs. Mrs. Dixon is a direct importer of essences, bottles, and other materials used in the trade. The business is a very large one, and extends from one end of the Colony to the other; and Ginger Ale especially has been shipped to all parts of New Zealand; it has likewise been sent to Sydney, and other towns in the Australian colonies, Fiji, and the South Sea Islands. The accountant of the firm is Mr. Charles Godber, who has been closely associated with the business for over twenty-three years. At the various exhibitions that have been held from time to time, Mrs. Dixon has been very successful with her Aerated Water and Cordial exhibits, and was awarded prize medals both at the Wellington and Sydney exhibitions. Mrs. Dixon's family consists of one son and three daughters.