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Crown Lynn

The Crown Lynn story is part of the New Zealand's heritage. Operating during the period 1948 - 1989, the factory produced domestic ware commonly used in most New Zealand homes c1950.

The story began in the 1860s, at Hobsonville where a farmer, R. O. Clark, encountering drainage problems, made his own clay drainage pipes. Demand was such that he went into business as a manufacturer of bricks and tiles and began a family business which was to have a lasting impact on New Zealand households.

In 1931 Thomas Clark, the great grandson of the original owner joined the firm. He realised the opportunities and expanded into domestic ware, opening a porcelain Specials Department in 1937. During WW2 the Specials Department was declared an essential industry and moved into making vitrified mugs and cereal bowls for the American Forces in the Pacific. Until 1947 half the production from the specials department was exported to Australia. The Specials Department became a separate company in 1948, and was called Crown Lynn. Important designers include Dave Jenkin, Mirek Smizek, Frank Carpay, Daniel Steenstra, Ernest Shufflebottom, Dorothy Thorpe.

By 1959 Crown Lynn Potteries had produced its 100 millionth article, and at their peak in the 1960's Crown Lynn employed 650 people in their Auckland potteries, manufactured around 17 million pieces of dinnerware annually in over 82 patterns and exported half of their production.

Crown Lynn became Ceramco in 1974 and diversified into a series of new interests, including electronics, appliance wholesaling and making acquisitions including Bendon lingerie. The Crown Lynn pottery factory closed in 1989, unable to compete with foreign competitors. Sir Thomas Clark died in 2005.

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