In 1868, two pioneering English brothers, Alfred and George Price, opened an engineering workshop in Onehunga, Auckland. At the time there was a flourishing industry producing flax rope for export, but the process was painstakingly slow. The brothers saw an opportunity for a machine to process the flax fibre, and the business was soon busy producing more than 100 of the Price-designed machines in the first year.
1871 saw the Price brothers open a foundry and engineering works in Thames, near the booming gold mining industry developing on the Coromandel Peninsula. Powered by Pelton wheels from water piped from the nearby ranges, the company was soon thriving, manufacturing ore stampers, crushers and feeders, steam engines, boilers, timber jacks and Pelton wheels – all designed or modified by the Price brothers.
In the late 1880’s the company designed and built a steam locomotive for the local gold mining industry. So good was the quality of this locomotive that a whole new industry was born. The implementation of a rail network within NZ led to A & G Price Ltd supplying a total of 298 steam and diesel locomotives for NZ Rail, plus numerous other shunting and special-purpose locomotives for private industry.
The decline of the rail industry in the 1960’s forced a change in direction for A&G Price. Relying on a long history of innovation, reliability and quality, the company won major contracts around the world. Investment in specialised heavy machining plant gave the works a unique capacity to cast and machine medium to large castings, as well as carry out highly technical refurbishment work for industries such as hydroelectric power generation, mining and processing. Prices won several key contracts on the ANZAC frigate contract, and the America’s Cup campaigns in 1995 and 2000. In both years, all winners and challengers for the America’s Cup were fitted with keels and bulbs manufactured in Thames by A&G Price.
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