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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 9

I Introduction

II The Australian Chemical Industry

III Pharmaceuticals

IV Chemists In Other Industries

V The Dawn Of Modern Chemical Industry - High Pressure Synthesis

VI The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links

VII Australian Industrial Chemical Research Laboratories

VIII The Plastics Industry

IX The Paint Industry
i The pioneers
ii The early years - home- and trade-made paints
iii Industrial manufacture
iv Some important developments in the 1920s and 30s
v Rapid growth in the 1950s and 60s
vi Some Australian inventions
vii Recent trends
viii Pigments manufacture
ix Trends in the chemical industry in the 1980s

X Acknowledgements



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The pioneers

Taubman's are the oldest industrial manufacturer of paint in Australia and to this day are an independent Australian enterprise.[128] George Henry Taubman, born in Sydney, started out as a signwriter but soon, in 1897, established himself as an importer of painters' supplies. Within two years he had made the transition to manufacture, at first from the backyard of his house in Arncliffe and then at St. Peters, which became the site of a large Taubman factory. Between 1900 and 1912 the enterprise grew from 600 to 6000 capital; by 1928 it had branches in five States and New Zealand and by 1930 it was a public, wholly Australian company. The Taubman family recognised the need of links to overseas technology and in 1930 became associated with Pinchin Johnson, one of the largest paint producers of the USA. During the Second World War raw material shortages induced Taubmans to branch out into the manufacture of intermediates and some industrial chemicals (e.g. ethylenedichloride, DDT), but it later sold its chemical business to ICI Australia. The association with Pinchin Johnson did much to maintain the company's technical competitiveness and steady expansion. Until 1952 it was chaired by the founder's son, Henry G. Taubman; it became Australia's second largest paint company with factories in all States and New Zealand.

Several other paint manufacturers can trace their origins back to the First World War. Wattyl,[129] a wholly Australian public company, was started by German immigrants, the Walters family, in 1915; they were French polishers who branched out into manufacture of wood finishes. In 1960 they became a public company and grew steadily into Australia's third largest paint company (about 12 per cent of market share)[130] largely by a process of rationalisation with and purchase of other producers (Tafel-Shone, Sydney; Usher ('the Brusher'), Queensland; National Paints, Pioneer Chemicals, Kilrust, Davison, Spartan). As a result the company, originally mainly in wood finishes, by 1985 produced virtually the whole range of modern paints.

Bergers, originally a subsidiary of a UK Company founded in 1790, had a warehouse in Sydney in 1911 and began manufacture at Rhodes (white lead in oil) in 1916/17. One of their historic events was the order of 250,000 litres for the Sydney Harbour Bridge; about 1968 they took over British Paints from Celanese Corporation and in turn became a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoechst in 1970.[131]

Australian Chemical Holdings goes back to A. C. Hatrick, who began as an importer of kauri gum, copal and resins. In 1928 he made contact with an Austrian paint company, Beck Koller, and imported phenol formaldehyde resins from them. Local manufacture was contemplated when Reichhold, USA took over Beck Koller and, with their help, eventually was implemented in 1939 at Roseberry (UF resins, alkyds); a synthetic resin plant at Botany followed and was expanded by the addition of pigments (chrome, toluidine reds, lithol reds). Technical information was broadened by links to Reichholds USA (phthalic anhydride manufacture 1955), Spencer Kellog (urethane oils, 1960), Hercules Powder Cpy (paper chemicals), and J. W. & T. A. Smith (printing ink pigments). With changing technologies the company structure changed several times, from A. C. Hatrick, to Reichhold Chemicals Australia Pty. Ltd. and, in 1963 it became Australian Chemical Holdings, with Hercules Powder as a majority shareholder.[132]

DULUX Australia Ltd. was formed in 1918 under the name British Australian Lead Manufacturers Pty. Ltd. (BALM), as manufacturers of white lead, colours and paints. Through the Australian United Paint Company (AUP), which it purchased in 1918, its links go back to H. L. Vosz, a German migrant joiner and painter whose business flourished and developed into manufacture under family control in 1906. With additional shareholders he formed AUP in 1912; much of BALM'S original technical know-how in 1918 stemmed from Vosz/AUP. The opportunity for formation of BALM'S manufacture arose from the prohibition of white lead exports from the UK during the First World War. BALM'S founders (May 1918) were three Broken Hill Barrier Companies and seven UK white lead corroders; the driving force and long time Managing Director was H. J. Barncastle, originally an importer. AUP's South Australian factory was the first production site; in 1921 Cabarita, a new factory followed and was progressively extended. In 1927 BALM and Broken Hill Associated Smelters Pty. Ltd. (BHAS) jointly formed Commonwealth Litharge and Red Lead Pty. Ltd., (later to become a BALM Subsidiary).

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Chemical Holdings; Australian United Paint Company (A.U.P.); BALM Paints; Berger Paints; Broken Hill Associated Smelters Ltd (B.H.A.S.); Celanese Corporation; Commonwealth Litharge and Red Lead Pty Ltd; DULUX Australia Ltd; Hoescht Australia Ltd; J. W. & T. A. Smith; National Paints; Pioneer Chemicals; Tafel-Shone; Taubmans Pty Ltd; Wattyl

People in Bright Sparcs - Barncastle, A. J.; Hatrick, A. C.; Taubman, George Henry; Taubman, Henry G.; Vosz, H. L.; Walters, family

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