Sydenham Pottery Requests Chance to Supply Insulators Made in the Colony


Publication: The Star

Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
no. 5771, p. 3

Encouragement of Local Industries.



We have much, pleasure in complying with a request to publish the following correspondence: —

Sydenham, Oct., 1886.

Hon Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G. Electric Commissioner, &c., Wellington.

Sir, — Mr Luke Adams, of Sydenham, forwarded a few days ago five samples of insulators to the Telegraph Department, Wellington. He tells me that the samples sent are numbered, and that they are manufactured from local clay alone, and a mixture of imported clay in various proportions. I need not ask you, Sir, considering the very great interest you take in all matters relating to the welfare of the Colony, and especially in encouraging the establishment of local industries amongst us, that you will cause the samples sent to he properly tested; and if found suitable for the purposes of the Department, "at a reasonable cost," you will take the necessary steps to have them made in the Colony, and thereby be the means of giving work to a number of men at present out of employment. — I have, &c., R. N. Taylor, M.H.R.

Christchurch, Nov. 6, 1886.

R. N. TAYLOR, Esq., M.H.R.,


Sir, — I delayed answering your letter until I could inform you with some precision as to how the question stood of manufacturing insulators in the Colony. I enclose you a copy of a letter which I have addressed to Mr Luke Adams, which will, I think, be sufficiently explanatory. You will observe the result of calling for tenders has left it very much in doubt whether the industry can at present be prosecuted with hope of success within the Colony. As I have explained in the letter, it is above all necessary that the insulators should be of the very first quality, as the comparative success of the telegraph system depends on their being so. — I have, &c.,


New Zealand Post Office and Telegraph Department,

General Post Office,

Wellington, Oct. 22, 1886.

Sir, — I have the honour to state, in reply to your letter of 18th ult., respecting the manufacture and supply of telegraph insulators, that you, in common with others, fall into error in supposing that it is appearance and finish we seek in asking for articles as good as the samples. These samples are types of the porcelain insulators which have come into use in almost every telegraph system, not because of their appearance, but because of their powers of insulation. It is of the greatest importance to the cheap and efficient working of the telegraph lines that the insulation should remain complete. It is therefore necessary this Department should get the best, and no consideration would justify its being contented with inferior ones. I am but repeating the experience of other administrators of telegraph lines, therefore, in asking for as close and dense a porcelain and as perfect a glaze as those of the samples.

I am reluctant to shut out from you an opportunity of further experiment if you desire it. Though I warn you, l am advised that at present you will not be able to make the manufacture a success, and that you run the risk of loss in attempting to do so. I can import the insulators and make the bolts and fixtures in the Colony at a total cost of 1s 1d, of which 7d would be spent here. It is manifest I could not continue for any length of time to much, if at all, exceed this price, and it would be folly for you to proceed with the matter if you do not see your way to complete the article for this price, if a large order were given to you. If you are disposed to accept the risk, l am willing to arrange the following terms with you, and with Mr W. M. White, of Dunedin, whose samples I consider about on a par with yours. I will pay you 1s 6d each for 5000 insulators, which must be in every respect equally as good as the sample, otherwise they will be rejected. The insulator must be made in the Colony, but any substances necessary to its manufacture may be imported. The bolt portion must be made in the Colony. If, of which I am to be the sole judge, acting on such advice as I may elect to be guided by, the insulators complete are not equal to the imported ones in every resect, I will reject them without compensation; but if they are equal to the imported ones in all respects, then I undertake to give you an order for 40,000 at 1s 3d each. I am aware these terms are onerous and with the information at my command I do not advise you to accept them. But I feel myself bound to offer you the best terms I can consistent with maintaining the proper working of the telegraph lines, and in order to get the article made in the Colony, I am willing to pay a somewhat extra cost.

I have, &c.,


Postmaster-General and Electric Telegraph Commissioner.

Mr Luke Adams, Sydenham Pottery,

Sydenham, Christchurch.

[We understand that Mr Adams is prepared to comply with the stipulated conditions.—Ed. Star.]


Keywords:Foreign : New Zealand : Sydenham Pottery
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:March 23, 2010 by: Elton Gish;