In 1917, four brothers – Ben, Ern, Ted and Bill Gerlach – began an engineering business in Port Melbourne. Shortly later, they were joined by three more brothers – Arthur, George and Ed.
During WWI, the Gerlachs found it difficult to find work due to German xenophobia. They changed their name to Gordon.
Two years later, in 1919, the business moved to Brunswick. Growing from their initial factory (a tin shed in a paddock with a single lathe), the company eventually established a substantial manufacturing and administrative complex.
Offices were also established in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, providing industrial refrigeration solutions in the food, beverage, chemical and mining industries.
In 1922, they produced one of the first totally enclosed ammonia compressors – mainly for small dairies and butcher shops. In 1931, the company produced its own Jack Frost refrigerator, and the Jack Frost beer cooler became a recognisable feature in hotels.
As part of the Second World War relief programs in Asia, they manufactured 40 ice-making plants for China. They also supplied 60 self-contained refrigerated air conditioning units to India.
The Gordon Brothers company has continued to grow over the years. In fact, it is highly likely that a large percentage of frozen or chilled food products appearing in your local supermarket has, at some stage of its processing, been frozen or chilled using the company’s refrigeration equipment.
For more, find Gordon Brothers’ 100-year history here.
Pictured, left to right: Bill, Arthur, Ern, George and Ed Gerlac