Magazine Island – The British Dynamite Co / Nobel Explosives Co

HF: Magazine Island (火藥洲; Fo Yeuk Chau), originally known as One Tree Island (一木島) is located off the southwest coast of Hong Kong Island, and off the northwestern tip of Ap Lei Chau. Administratively, it is part of Southern District. The former Magazine Building on Magazine Island is now a Grade Three Historic Building. It was built by the British Dynamite Company, which later […]

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Vianini Lavori SpA – general contractor High Island Reservoir

Rico Lee + HF: HK: (1) Vianini Lavori SpA is an Italian company with a history of involvement in large construction projects including several in Hong Kong. It is a subsidiary of Caltagirone and I think has operated since 1890, though I unsure which of these companies commenced operations in that year. HF: (2) The above photo shows the dolo-shaped […]

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Netherlands Harbour Works Company – dredging HK harbour / reclamation at Kai Tak 1927

IDJ: Possibly the earliest large scale dredging and reclamation contractor in HK was the above company. HF: ‘…the road passes Macao Siac where the Netherlands Harbour Works Co has established its workshops in connection with the Port Works of Macao …” 1929 (1) Problems for the company in Australia during WW2: There is also a contemporary Royal Netherlands Harbour Works based in […]

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Olyphant & Co, China 19th century (Hong Kong office)

HF: Olyphant & Co. was a merchant trading house in 19th-century China. From its initial involvement there, the firm expanded into other countries including Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  Olyphant & Co’s business dealings in Peru caused the company to collapse in 1878. The firm was founded in Canton by David WC Olyphant (1789-1851) and Charles N Talbot after their former employer, King […]

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George Underhill Sands (1824-1881?) – connection to three HK companies

Stephen Davies and Hugh Farmer have collaborated in researching the life of George U Sands (1824-1881). In particular his time as the captain of a steamship in China and his later involvement in three Hong Kong companies. Stephen’s contributions are indicated, all others are from HF. Any information about Mr Sands during his time in both China and Hong Kong and […]

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Fresnel Lenses – Barbier, Benard & Turenne – AGA and Waglan lighthouse…

HF: Barbier, Benard and Turenne (BBT) was a French company founded in 1862. It specialized in the manufacture of lights, optical devices and lighting systems. And complete lighthouses including the one on Hong Kong’s Waglan Island. The lighthouse incorporated Fresnel lenses. The Swedish Company AGA was later involved as was its UK subsidiary Pharos Marine. I didn’t know the name […]

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Waglan Island lighthouse – a brief history

Stephen Davies provides further information about the history of Waglan Island lighthouse, its link to another in NE China and to two European companies. And a Swede who was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics for his invention regarding the illumination of lighthouses. SD: The light was built by Paris lighthouse makers Barbier, Bénard & Turenne as one of two identical lights for the […]

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The I-Feng Enamelling Company – details about associated family members

York Lo has sent biographical details of Tung Chi-fu, John Tung Chi-ying, Tung Hong-ying and other members of the family who founded and were associated with The I-Feng Enamelling Company and Freezinhot Bottle Co., Ltd. He also mentions others who were not family members but involved in other companies specially in Shanghai. York Lo: The founder of I-Feng, Tung Chi-fu (董吉甫, or […]

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The Sperry Flour Company in Hong Kong

  HF: The Company in Hong Kong: “The Sperry Flour Company has been interested in the flour trade of the Colony for upwards of forty years—a period considerably longer than any other similar company—and during the whole of this time it has lost no opportunity of studying the requirements of Eastern buyers, with the object of pushing business throughout the […]

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