The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company, Limited
Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company, Limited. Directors: Hon. C. J Johnston, M.L.C. (chairman), Messrs. W. A. Fitzherbert, J.P., C.E., W. H. P. Barber, A. Warburton, A. E. Gibbs, and C. E. Zohrab. Head office, warehouse, and clothing factory, corner of Jervois Quay and Willeston Streets. Mills, Te Koro Koro, Petone. Telephones 200 and 400. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, General manager, Mr. M. G. Heeles; secretary, Mr. A. E. Donne. The capital of this large Company is £100,000 in 20,000 shares of £5 each, of which 17,710 are allotted, £4 per share being paid up in respect of 11,275 shares, and £1 10s. on 6441 shares. The Company was incorporated in June 1883, commenced manufacturing operations in August 1886, and has paid many dividends, the last (1896) being at the rate of six per cent. The splendid mills at Petone are described in the article dealing with that manufacturing borough. The head office and factory—lately completed—which appears in the engraving, is a handsome brick building of three and four stories designed by Mr. F. Penty, architect, and erected by Messrs. Paterson and Martin, contractors. The total floorage space of this fine building is from fifteen to twenty thousand square feet. On the ground floor is the showroom, the entrance being at the corner, where there are tastefully finished glazed folding doors. Samples of the well-known goods manufactured by the company are arranged in all directions. The cart entrance extends right through the building at the side next to Messrs. Sharland and Co's warehouse, and is so arranged as to bring the platforms of the carts to the same level as the floor of the building. A portion of the ground floor near this entrance is utilized as the packing room. The various floors are connected with this department by an electric goods lift. The Company's office—including the general manager's office, which is also used as a board room—secretary's and public office, fireproof safe room and telephone room are situated above the cartway, the entrance being by a staircase from the show-room. The first principal floor is used as a cloth-cutting and machine-room. Here the large patent knife for cloth-cutting is worked, and about seventy hands are employed. The electric motor which furnishes the power to drive the plant is placed on a concrete floor above the Company's safe, the rooms immediately above the offices being used as the cutter's department. On the second or top main floor—known as the machine-room—is a busy scene, about 150 hands—mostly girls—being engaged. The Company has just doubled the number of machines—all of the Singer Company's make—which now total forty-eight. The irons for smoothing are of the patent electric pattern, the subtle fluid being used for heating purposes, this being said to be the first practical application of electricity for heating purposes in Australasia. Altogether some 250 hands will be employed in this department of the Company's business. The building, which is admirably adapted for the purpose of the trade, is splendidly lighted and well ventilated, and as the Woollen Company has secured an adjoining allotment they have ample room to double the size of their premises when required. Excellent provision has been made for the girls on the top flat: a large dining room suitably furnished, supplied with hot water and lavatories attached being allotted to them. The entire building is lighted with electricity, and an iron fire escape communicates with each floor.