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History of Kalamazoo

It really began 334 years ago when Sir Samuel Morland, private secretary to Oliver Cromwell, was appointed "Master of Mechanics" to His Most Excellent Majesty, Charles the Second, King of Great Britain, France, Ireland, etc.

In 1664, Sir Samuel Morland produced a calculating machine to add, subtract, multiply and divide. He also produced a pocket-sized machine.

In 1904, his descendant, Oliver Morland, head of the English printing house of Morland & Impey Ltd; heard of a loose-leaf binder - constructed on a flexible thong principle - which had just been invented in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. He acquired world rights, excluding North and South America.

The English company then began production of the loose-leaf binder and, because of its birthplace, gave it the trade name of "Kalamazoo".

In December, 1915, the doors of Charles Howie Pty Ltd opened for business in Aberdeen Buildings, Collins Street, Melbourne. The company was set up by Charles E. Howie to market Kalamazoo loose leaf ledgers in Australia.
After destruction of the building by fire shortly after opening, Mr Howie moved his offices to Collins House where he stayed for six years.

In 1918, an agreement was reached between Charles E. Howie and Morland & Impey Ltd (now known as Kalamazoo Ltd) for the establishment of a joint company to be known as Kalamazoo (Aust) Pty Ltd, to "take over the entire Kalamazoo trade of the Commonwealth".

On 28th January, 1919, Kalamazoo (Aust) Ltd was incorporated and registered in Victoria with Australian and British capital, and Charles Howie was appointed Chairman and Managing Director. He held those positions until 1969. The new company absorbed Charles Howie Pty Ltd. Head Office was established in Sydney in the Swift & Co building, 16 Clarence Street. Melbourne office retained as branch premises.

In 1922, the Melbourne branch moved to a new building at 444 Little Collins Street, remaining there for 12 years. The milestone of Kalamazoo's progress in the twenties was the acquisition of the agency for Powers Samas punchcard machines. The first Powers machine was installed in 1923.

In 1925, soon after the laying of the foundations for Sydney's Harbour Bridge, Kalamazoo made its first land purchase - half an acre on Victoria Street, North Sydney, on which a brick factory building of 12,000 square feet was erected during 1940. Elliott Fisher and Acme agencies acquired.

In 1927, Head Office moved to 330 George Street, Sydney. In 1929, Mr and Mrs Howie bought the shares of Morland & Impey Ltd and Kalamazoo (Aust) Ltd became a wholly - owned Australian company.

Kalamazoo was a leader in the marketing of adding, accounting, addressing and punch card machines. In the 1920s and 1930s, Kalamazoo installed punch card systems in many Government and Australian businesses and in 1940 there were some 100 employees.

Since 1944 Kalamazoo Australia maintained production of all the traditional products from its North Sydney plant with state of the art machinery and computer programmes delivering first class service and quality to make Kalamazoo one of the largest printing and solution companies in the Southern Hemisphere, Kalamazoo moved its plant to Sefton in the early 90's and then to Granville in 2003.

Following turbulent times in 2004 & 05, the Australian arm of Kalamazoo was purchased by Lithoforms and continued to trade under the Kalamazoo brand. Since this time the company has continued to grow by a mixture natural growth and company acquisition, including the opening of our West Perth digital centre in 2010. 

We are now producing the tried and trusted Kalamazoo products from our two production centres with the group now employing over 45 people in its full time operation that runs around the clock.