Yates and Thom, Blackburn, UK – Makers of the original Peak Tram engines

HF:  Yates and Thom, (formerly W and J Yates), 9 Canal Ironworks, Blackburn, UK, were makers of engines for mills, collieries and waterworks. And the orginal engine for the Peak Tram which was opened for public service on 28 May 1888. Construction had begun іn September 1885. Initially a static steam engine was used to power the haulage cable “built by […]

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Sir Alexander Binnie, Binnie & Partners

HF:  The engineerng consultancy Binnie & Partners, though British, has had a close connection to Hong Kong through several large-scale engineering projects. From the late 1990s it has been part of the multi-national consultancy Black and Veatch which has its HK office  in Ngau Tau Kok. In 1909 AR Binnie and Son merged with another UK engineering consultancy to become […]

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Imperial Airways – including first scheduled flight into Hong Kong 1936

IDJ: Imperial Airways (Far East) Ltd Many people in Hong Kong have no concept of how airlines developed in the territory despite air services being their primary means of transport overseas. Airline services arrived late in Hong Kong relative to the rest of the world. Not until 1936, when the UK based Imperial Airways was slowly extending its routes from […]

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A History of the Wong Family Textile Business – Part One: Life in Shanghai

Eleanor Wong has written A History of the Wong Family Textile Business, a detailed account of her family’s business history in Shanghai, then in Hong Kong and finally Indonesia. She was assisted in this project by her editor, Carey Vail. Part One: Life in Shanghai  is a history of the Wong family’s interests in the textile industry in the city from 1911, […]

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A Look Back : Civil Engineering in Hong Kong 1841-1941

HF: Tymon Mellor and IDJ have both sent the article, A Look Back : Civil Engineering in Hong Kong 1841-1941 written by C Michael Guilford. The preface says this was  written as a contribution to mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers which was from 1947 to 1975, The Engineering Society of Hong Kong. […]

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Dinky Toys, made in Hong Kong by Hong Kong Industrial (HKI)

Hugh Farmer:  I grew up with Dinky Toys as did many British boys in the 1950s and 60s and had a good collection of battered, tyre less cars. I had always assumed they were made in England and indeed the main factory was at Binns Road, Liverpool. It is perhaps difficult to believe now that when I was a child, […]

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Submarine Cables – Maps 1901 + 1991 worldwide / Hong Kong networks

HF: Bill Burns runs a fascinating and detailed website about the history of submarine communication cables (linked at the end of this article). He has kindly sent four maps related to the worldwide network of such cables in 1991 and 1991. Two of the maps are centred on Hong Kong. The first is a 1901 World Map of “Grandes Communications […]

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Eastern Extension Telegraph Company – linking HK to the world

HF: The article containing the report, The Causes and Effects of the Present Trade Depression in HK 1935 mentions The Eastern Extension Telegraph Company Ltd and its manager, a Mr Carter. Curious about the history of submarine communication cables linking Hong Kong and the rest of the world I discovered  an absorbing website run by Bill Burns. This goes under […]

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Socony-Vacuum Oil Company in HK from 1896

HF and Elizabeth Ride (ER) New information in red. The article 1941 Report – Future Control and Development of the Port Of Hong Kong mentions the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. The first Hong Kong mention I can find is about the Vacuum Oil Company  from The Hongkong Government Gazette of 23rd May 1896. Then this from the Hongkong Government Gazette of […]

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Walter Dunn & Company – nautical instruments

James Chan: This advert from 1951 is courtesy of Grace’s Guides: British Industrial History. However, the company doesn’t appear to have operated in the UK. So I wonder if it was a Hong Kong based company. If so did it manufacture here? I can find no mention of Walter Dunn & Co. in the HK Public Records Office newspaper search. […]

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