Continuously improving on 40 years of successful trading in the Perth
Cooling Brothers was formed in 1946 by Ronald Ernest Cooling, together with wife Doris Cooling. Frank Cooling, Ronald’s elder brother, was invited to join the Company in the beginning, and Harold, his other older brother at a later date, leading to the ‘Cooling Brothers’ name.
Initially, the company was unable to import glass and had to use second hand sheets from demolition buildings. When eventually the company obtained an import licence, the glass first came from Denmark and Sweden. After the second world war, glass machinery was unavailable so Ronald would design and have it made in the factory to fit whatever job was required.
An extensive range of products included general window glazing, mirrors, including brilliant cutting and gold leaf frames , wire glass shower screens, vitrolite in black or green, brilliant cut glass trays with sand blasted etchings with chrome handles attached to clear twisted perspex surrounds. Cooling Brothers was also the first company in WA to fabricate perspex and mould it into shapes, including perspex fluorescent signs for shop advertising and display stands.
In the mid fifties Cooling Brothers purchased land on Oxford Street, Leederville, just up from the corner of Newcastle Street. A factory, including an office and shop front, was built by the staff. This was a period of substantial growth bringing the total staff to about 25. Two vehicles displaying the Cooling Bros logo, an Austin Hereford ute and a flat top Thames Trader, were a regular site delivering glass around the area.
In 1980 the company was sold to Rodney Cohen of Newcastle Shop Fitters in 1980 for $150000, who later sold on to a foreman of Walshs Glass. By the early 90’s the once thriving business was a fading presence, held back by a reluctance to embrace the technology revolutionizing the glass industry around it.
From the outside looking in, it’s not easy to see what was attractive to the group of private equity investors that purchased the company in 1992. “Up until around 1980 Cooling Brothers had one of the largest beveling businesses in Western Australia,” explains Paul King, Managing Director. “They focused on hand beveling and silvering, and because they invested little in machinery, they were quickly left behind by an industry that through the 80’s and 90’s became more and more integrated with technology.”
The new owners quickly set about
re-establishing the business, and soon outgrew their factory space, moving to a larger space in Belmont. Updating the machinery with the latest technology from Italian manufacturers such as Bavelloni, the business shifted towards a greater focus on the processing of glass to meet the ballooning demand in the market. In 2004, Cooling Brothers took over the adjoining factory in Belmont, installing a TamGlass toughening furnace, CNC machines and laminating cutting benches.
In 2009, the company moved to a custom built 7000sqm facility in High Wycombe, complete with two furnaces and a full featured custom laminating line. The investment in technology continues today, and the company now specialises in products such as digital printing, ballistic and switchable glass, and complex custom laminates. Cooling Brothers now operates as one of Western Australia’s leading glass processing companies, operating with over 100 staff working to supply glass to projects all over Australia.
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