Liang Meng-Tsi (梁孟齊) – HK Paint Industry Pioneer
York Lo – Liang Meng-Tsi – HK Paint Industry Pioneer
Liang Meng-tsi (梁孟齊, 1902-1972) was an important figure in the history of the paint industry in Hong Kong. A US-trained chemist, Liang was a leading expert in paint technology in China and was involved in the founding of China Paint in 1932, Duro Paint (with backing of the Lee Hysan family) in 1939 and Gilla Paint Works (致利製漆廠, the HK Memory website inaccurately listed the English name of the firm as “Chi Lee Paint Factory”) in 1953 after Duro was acquired by Swire.
Below is the excerpt of his profile (as completed by him) from the 1967 Hong Kong Album:
“Born 1904, China; Married 1925 in Canton; Educated Lingnan University Canton; University of Southern California, USA; Member of Phi Kappa Phi & Phi Lambda Epsilon (USA)
Instructor in Chemistry, Sun Yat Sen University (中山大學), Canton 1925-29; Lecturer in Chemical Warfare, Kwangtung Aviation School, 1927-29; Professor of Chemistry, Provincial Technical College, Canton, 1929-32; Managing Director, Johnson Paint & Varnish Corp, Canton, 1932-35; Director, China Paint Mfg. Co. Ltd., Hongkong, 1932-34; Professor of Paint Technology, and head of Paint Research Laboratory, Shiangchin University (勷勤大學), Canton, 1934-38; Chief Engineer and Manager, Duro Paint Mfg Co Ltd, HK, 1939-48; Work Manager, Duro Paint Mfg. Co Ltd (國光製漆) 1948-53; Managing Director, Gilla Paints Work Ltd since 1953; Director, Duro Holding Co Ltd; Chairman of Supervisory Committee, Shaukiwan Kaifong Welfare Association 1956-59; Hon. President, Shaukiwan Kai Fong Welfare Association since 1962; Director, North Point Kaifong Welfare Association, 1955-59; Hon President, Sun Wui Commercial Association HK since 1962; Hon President, Five District Commercial & Welfare Association; Director and Hon. Treasurer, Lingnan Alumni Association, 1955-56; Chairman, Lingnan Alumni Club, 1957-59; Director, Chinese Manufacturers Association of HK; Member of Trustees, Lingnan Middle School, HK, Free School of Shaukiwan Kaifong Welfare Association and Free School of Sun Wui Commercial Association, Hongkong.”
Japanese troops passing the Duro Paint factory in North Point (Source: Gwulo)
According to Liang’s profile in《香港華僑團體總覽》(published in 1947 and edited by 陳大同、麥顯揚), when the Japanese occupied Hong Kong he moved inland to Hengyang where he was in charge of the research laboratory of the state-owned China Vegetable Oil Company where he developed synthetic rosins before moving to Guangxi province when Hengyeng fell in 1944. His scientific research was also referenced by leading US paint expert Dr. Joseph J. Mattiello in his landmark Protective and Decorative Coatings: Paints, Lacquers, Varnishes and Inks in 1941.
Ad for Leung’s Gilla Paints Works’ Diamond brand of paint in the 1950s (HKBCA yearbook)
Gilla Paints Works’ Diamond brand ad in 1963 (WKYP, 1968-2-8)
Liang died in June 1972 at the age of 70 and was survived by 2 sons and 4 daughters.
In 1989, Gilla Paints was acquired by Camelpaint and was dissolved in 1991. The Gilla Paints plant was located at 416 Kwun Tong Road in Kowloon.
This article was first posted on 9th June 2017.
- 香港工商日報, 1972-07-02
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- Hong Kong Paint manufacturing companies – from the early 1930s
- Duro Paint Manufacturing Company – initial notes
- Swire Duro Ltd – paint manufacturer
- The National Lacquer and Paint Products Co Ltd
- National Lacquer and Paints Products / Camelpaint timeline – HK factories
- Harry J Lowe, aka Huang Yang Yin 黃仰賢, co-founder of The National Lacquer and Paint Products Co Ltd
- Alfonso J. Ben, aka Yan Ben-Kwan 甄秉鈞, co-founder of The National Lacquer and Paint Products Co Ltd
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