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A. Simpson & Son

Alfred Simpson and his family arrived in South Australia in 1849. Simpson had completed an apprenticeship as a tinplate worker, but had not worked in the industry in England. After trying various occupations and a stint on the Victorian goldfields, Simpson established himself as a tinsmith on premises in Topham Street in 1853.

Simpson manufactured many products for agricultural uses and, as agricultural industries became more established in South Australia, so his business, known as the 'Colonial Tinware Manufactory', expanded. By 1862, Simpson extended his premises, now in Gawler Place.

Simpson's son, Alfred Muller Simpson, joined the business in 1864 when he turned 21.

In the 1860s, Simpson began manufacturing safes, which became well-known for their ability to resist attempts to blow them open with dynamite.

In 1868 Simpson undertook a major expansion of the Gawler Place premises. Alfred M Simpson and his wife travelled to the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and brought back ideas for labour-saving factory machinery and for new products or methods of refining existing products. In the late 1880s A. Simpson and Son manufactured munitions and mines, when a war between the British Empire and Russia loomed.

At the time of Alfred Simpson's death in 1891, A. Simpson and Son had the largest metal manufacturing plant in Australia. New works were opened in Wakefield Street in 1894 and they eventually covered over three acres. From 1898, the company began enamel plating with porcelain and its reputation in the other colonies grew from this activity.

Alfred M. Simpson's sons, Alfred Allen (known as Allen) and Frederick Neighbour, joined the firm when they finished their schooling. The business incorporated 1910, with Alfred as chairman, and Allen and Frederick as directors.

Allen was associated with the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia over many years and when CT Madigan surveyed central Australia in 1929, the Simpson Desert was named in his honour. Cape Simpson in Antarctica is also named for him as a result of his assistance to Douglas Mawson.

During the First World War, Simpsons returned to the manufacture of munitions and in the 1920s the company expanded further. A new factory was opened at Dudley Park in the 1940s and the company began the manufacture of whitegoods. In 1963 A. Simpson and Son merged with Pope Industries to form Simpson Pope Holdings. Alfred Simpson became chairman of the board of Simpson Pope Holdings. The Simpson brand, now owned by Electrolux, continues to produce a variety of household appliances.

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