Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Building Petone's Machines.

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General View, Engineers' Workshop.

The general engineering firm of Burn and Sons is the biggest in the district, and is rapidly expanding with the growth of manufacturing in Petone and Lower Hutt. Throughout its 37 years of service in Petone, it has built for itself a reputation of prompt and efficient craftsmanship.
In 1903 Mr. J. H. Burn, senr., started as a general engineer in a small shed in Jackson Street. In those days, the now great manufacturing centre of Petone was in a rather small way, but there was still plenty of work to be done by an experienced engineer. In his spare time, Mr. Burn worked on a few ideas of his own, and it was not long before one of them bore fruit.
This was a stamp-cancelling machine of unusual merit, which at once scored a great success with the postal authorities. Among the honours achieved by this machine was the notable one of being employed at the Coronation Durbar of 1911, at Delhi, India.
One of the most prized souvenirs of the firm is a letter bearing the Coronation Durbar postmark. After the Durbar had been held, the machines were broken up to avoid the use of the valuable postmark by unauthorized persons.
These machines are now used in post offices all over New Zealand and Australia, in Burmah, and in many Indian cities, including Calcutta, Lahore, Karachi, and Bombay. There is also one in the King Edward Post Office in London.
Soon after his success with this invention, Mr. Burn bought the property on the corner of Buick and Elizabeth Streets. It was about twenty years ago when the present factory was built on this site. Mr. Burn continued with an active interest in the firm until his death five years ago.
The firm is now operated by Messrs. T. E. and J. H. Burn, the sons of the founder, who have done much to build up the firm's splendid reputation. The factory is recognized as one of the most up-to-date machine shops in the North Island. It has to be, for the firm does the maintenance work for the machinery of most of the industries of the Hutt Valley.
Burn and Sons at present employ sixteen men. During the past half- century the firm has grown amazingly, and it is in the fortunate position of being fully capable of expanding with the industries of the Valley. The partners are already talking of extending the premises, owing to the phenomenal increase in business.
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A Corner of the Workshop.

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