Scope and Content

The Orient Paint, Colour and Varnish Company Ltd [OPCo] was formed partly to provide a regular supply of paint fitting the requirements of the China Navigation Company [CNCo] and also because it was felt that there was an economic future for the paint factory in Shanghai in the 1930s. By December 1932, despite John Swire & Sons [JS&S] and Butterfield & Swire's' [B&S] admitted lack of technical knowledge of paint production, the project was well under way and it was only in December 1933 that the British paint manufacturers Pinchin, Johnson and Company [PJ&Co], whose paint was distributed in China by Wilkinson, Heywood and Clark [WH&C], became interested in the proposed factory. The jointly financed company was registered in Hong Kong in 1934 with JS&S appointed General Agents, acting through B&S Shanghai, and PJ&Co as Expert Advisers. In 1938 OPCo and WH&C were amalgamated in China and in 1942 the entire operation was appropriated by the Japanese and for the war years was run by a Japanese company. The factory reverted to JS&S ownership in 1945 and production was in full swing again by 1946. In 1948 the company merged with Duro Paint Manufacturing and was relocated to Hong Kong. The correspondence and legal papers listed below cover the formation and management of the company from 1933-1941, and the post-war redevelopment of the company.

See also 'Orient Paint, Colour and Varnish Company History and Chairman's Speeches at the Annual General Meetings of Shareholders' for more detailed history, JSS/9/7/1

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Paper handlist available

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Copying for personal research purposes is permitted. Please contact the archivist for all publication requests.

Copyright is owned by John Swire & Sons, Ltd, 59 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ

Related Material

Related MaterialAdditional material on the factory can also be found in the records of B&S Shanghai, in particular JSSII 3, for the years 1939-1941, and in file JSSI 6/10 concerning the Japanese take over of the plant in 1942. On the accounting side, however, little documentary evidence remains.