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Warren & Brown, Pty Ltd
Industryautomotive engineering
Fatefrom 1985 a privately owned Pty Ltd company
Headquarters
Maidstone, Melbourne
,

Warren and Brown, often styled W & B, was an Australian company known for manufacturing hand tools for the automotive and engineering trades. Founded in 1947, it was taken over by Repco, an Australian engine manufacturing and reconditioning company, and under their management continued manufacture and development of products aimed at suburban automotive workshops. In 1985, in a major restructure, Repco sold W & B to a small group of investors, in what was termed a management buyout, and continued to operate, manufacturing a diverse range of products.

History

The company was founded in 1921 by Andrew Canfield Brown and company secretary William Howard Warren ( – 24 March 1947),[1] as jobbing engineers, in premises at 119 Ballarat Road, Footscray, Victoria.

In 1930 the business was restructured as "Warren and Brown Pty Ltd, ironfounders, mechanical engineers, and manufacturers of machinery, etc." valued at £5,000, as 5,000 £1 (one pound) shares, owned equally by the two principals.[2]

After carrying out work of this nature for several years, the company's production focus shifted to the manufacture of tools to service the motor trade. An early innovation was tooling for inserting valve seats into cylinder heads;[3] This would remain a "W & B" speciality.[4]

The business was gradually extended with the development of a number of production lines suited to automotive reconditioning equipment.

World War II

At the outbreak of World War II the factory's resources were used to aid the war effort and apart from manufacturing its normal range of products, the company undertook production of tools and gauges for military purposes, including some associated with .303 ammunition.

The company was approached by the United States Government's Director of Machine Tools and Gauges to manufacture a range of self centering chucks, never before manufactured in Australia, and information regarding overseas manufacturing procedures was not available. Warren and Brown commenced an extensive design and tooling programme and after many initial problems made their first deliveries of chucks to Government in February, 1942.

Post-war

Two W&B torque wrenches

With the war over, the company was prepared to continue manufacturing these chucks, but now instead of supplying them to American industry, they were in competition, and substantial protection was sought for its post-war expansion.[5] In 1946 its capital value was increased to £50,000 by the issuing of a further 45,000 ordinary £1 shares.[6] Sales in 1946 amounted to nearly £13,000, with an estimated annual market of £30,000.[7]

In 1948, Warren and Brown took out patents on the "Dual Signal" trip mechanism for their range of tensioning wrenches. They were released onto the market in 1949 and held a major share of the Australian market well into the 21st-century despite availability of cheaper imports.

Another development around this time was the W & B valve refacing machine, which would be found in most well-equipped engine repair shops.[8] It performed this important job more efficiently than other methods, which usually entailed tying up a (much more expensive) lathe. Other equipment of their design and manufacture commonly found in Australian garages includes their valve seat cutters.[9][10]

In April 1949 a government inspection reported production staff consisted of 99 males and 9 females; total staff 125 persons.[11]

Warren and Brown, Pty. Ltd was taken over by Repco Ltd in 1949 and became an autonomous subsidiary of that company. Managing director A. C. Brown and directors R. A. Brown and G. W. Cox, were retained on the new board.[12] Their range of manufactures did not change markedly under the new owners, with tension wrenches, valve refacers and precision reamers key products[13] but had the advantage of wider distribution.[14] A year later, Repco increased the nominal value of W & B to £100,000 by the issue of a further 50,000 £1 shares. Five other subsidiaries were similarly revalued.[15]

In 1985 Repco disposed of Warren and Brown in a management buyout. Under this structure the company continued as a manufacturer and supplier of specialized tools to the automotive, industrial, electrical and electronic industries.

21st-century

Around 2007, at a time of economic malaise, Warren and Brown Technologies (WBT) undertook a $ 5 million upgrade of their factory, with (unspecified) assistance of the Victorian Government.[16]

The company was inducted into Victorian Manufacturers Hall of Fame 2017[17]

The principals

William Howard Warren ( – ), generally known as Howard[18] or "W. Howard Warren",[19] was the eldest son of Margaret Hamilton Warren (died 1952) and Daniel Caddins Warren (died 1936), of "Athenae", 55 Napier Street, Footscray, Victoria. He married Queenie Haysom on 18 December 1920.[20] He was an engineer at D. Richardson and Sons' gear works (founded 1890)[21] in 1916[22][23] before teaming up with A. C. Brown, also employed at Richardson and Sons'.[24]

Andrew Canfield Brown ( – 24 March 1947), engineer,[25] was the eldest son of Robert Canfield Brown (1852 – 19 March 1926)[26] and Catherine Rachel Brown, née McLeod (1856 – 28 December 1931)[27] in 1884; lived at 62 Moreland Street, Footscray, later 30 William Street, Seddon. Brown married Elizabeth Alice "Lizzie" McWilliam on 22 July 1916[28] lived at "Belle Vue", 119 Ballarat Road, Footscray. An uncle, also named Andrew Canfield Brown (1 July 1859 – 1931) of Blackburn Road, Blackburn, Victoria, was grandfather of Eric Canfield Brown (c. 1924 – 26 September 2008)[29] was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 1989 Australia Day Honours for services to engineering.[30] The identity of director R. A. Brown, who with A. C. Brown joined the Repco board at the takeover, has not been found. He or she was appointed to the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education (later Australian Commission on Advanced Education) in 1969.[31]

Currently:

Neil Domelow Managing Director and co-owner; may be viewed here (YouTube clip) Domelow grew up in Queensland and became an apprentice with Repco. By 1985 he was MD of the (privately owned) Warren and Brown.[32]

Stephen James "Steve" Normoyle

John Domelow Marketing Director

David Henderson General Manager

Who were the five owners in 1986?

Warren & Brown Technologies India Private Limited

Incorporated on 13 Nov 2007; registered office is in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. Directors: Devesh Chander Mukhija, Stephen James Normoyle, John William Bridges[33]

References

  1. ^ "Family Notices". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 31, 377. Victoria, Australia. 25 March 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 4 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "New Companies". The Herald (Melbourne). No. 16, 731. Victoria, Australia. 31 December 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 4 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Renewing Valve Seats". The Herald (Melbourne). No. 16, 598. Victoria, Australia. 28 July 1930. p. 13. Retrieved 23 November 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Making "Goodwill"". Labor Call. Vol. XLIV, no. 2317. Victoria, Australia. 27 September 1951. p. 4. Retrieved 23 November 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Machine Tool Production". The Age. No. 28634. Victoria, Australia. 1 February 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 23 November 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Engineering Company Increases Capital". The Herald (Melbourne). No. 21, 479. Victoria, Australia. 22 March 1946. p. 14. Retrieved 8 January 2023 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Machine Tool Production". The Age. No. 28634. Victoria, Australia. 1 February 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 8 January 2023 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Modern Automotive Service". Maryborough Chronicle. No. 24, 839. Queensland, Australia. 26 September 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 18 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Auction Sale of Garage Equipment". The Beverley Times. No. 8119. Western Australia. 20 March 1959. p. 2. Retrieved 8 January 2023 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Auto Engineering Service". Coffs Harbour Advocate. Vol. XLVII, no. 2028. New South Wales, Australia. 10 December 1954. p. 9. Retrieved 9 January 2023 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "NAA B3533, 1074/3/69 Factory Standards and Design Branch - Warren and Brown Ballarat Road Footscray". Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Repco Expands". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 32, 042. Victoria, Australia. 14 May 1949. p. 8. Retrieved 4 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. 36, 397. New South Wales, Australia. 17 August 1954. p. 7. Retrieved 18 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Repco Touring Service". The Northern Argus. Vol. LXXXII, no. 5, 188. South Australia. 28 February 1951. p. 4. Retrieved 5 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "Repco capital moves". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 32, 315. Victoria, Australia. 28 March 1950. p. 11. Retrieved 10 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Media release: NBN Co awards equipment contracts to Australian located employers" (PDF). 17 January 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2022.
  17. ^ "Victorian Manufacturers Hall of Fame 2017: Souvenir booklet" (PDF). Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Family Notices". The Age. No. 30452. Victoria, Australia. 4 December 1952. p. 8. Retrieved 6 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "Family Notices". Table Talk. No. 1786. Victoria, Australia. 16 October 1919. p. 9. Retrieved 6 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "Family Notices". Table Talk. No. 1854. Victoria, Australia. 10 February 1921. p. 13. Retrieved 5 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ "D. Richardson and Sons". The Australasian. Vol. CXIV, no. 2, 967. Victoria, Australia. 10 February 1923. p. 10. Retrieved 10 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ "Claims for Exemption". The Independent (Footscray, Victoria). No. 1558. Victoria, Australia. 21 October 1916. p. 3. Retrieved 6 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  23. ^ "Exemption Court". The Advertiser (Footscray, Victoria). No. 2254. Victoria, Australia. 4 November 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 5 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  24. ^ "Picnic". The Independent (Footscray, Victoria). No. 1171. Victoria, Australia. 13 March 1909. p. 2. Retrieved 10 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  25. ^ "Law Notices". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 31, 189. Victoria, Australia. 17 August 1946. p. 33. Retrieved 7 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  26. ^ "Family Notices". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 24, 841. Victoria, Australia. 22 March 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 7 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  27. ^ "Family Notices". The Age. No. 23937. Victoria, Australia. 30 December 1931. p. 1. Retrieved 7 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  28. ^ "Family Notices". The Age. No. 19, 179. Victoria, Australia. 9 September 1916. p. 5. Retrieved 6 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  29. ^ "Obituary: Eric Canfield Brown". The Herald Sun. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  30. ^ "Australia Day 1989 Honours". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Special. No. S29. Australia, Australia. 26 January 1989. p. 3. Retrieved 7 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  31. ^ "New Committee on Advanced Education". The Canberra Times. Vol. 44, no. 12, 436. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 8 October 1969. p. 3. Retrieved 7 December 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  32. ^ The Age. 2 March 1985. p. 192. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "Warren & Brown Technologies India Private Limited". The Company Check. Retrieved 18 December 2022.

Further reading

Gough, Deborah (2022), Warren & Brown: the first 100 years, Stories to Keep, ISBN 978-0-645-24570-7

Resources

Museums Victoria holds a collection of ephemera associated with Warren and Brown in their Trade Literature collection: TL 8248, TL 10608, TL 17013, TL 37991 – TL 37999, TL 48157 – TL 48166, and TL 59239: publicity brochures, catalogues and instruction sheets published by the company c. 1960 – c. 1963.