Alternative Name(s): Carte de Visite or Visiting Card
Business Card for H.P. McColl and A.J. List, proprietors of the McColl Electric Works, 567 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The McColl Electric Works were established by Henry Percy McColl and A.J. List in a small workshop at 567 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne in 1916. The firm initially specialised in the re-winding of electric motors and repair of other electrical machinery. In about 1921, they also began manufacturing small electric motors around the same time as the business moved to larger premises in North Melbourne. The company was a beneficiary of Australian Commonwealth import duties on electrical equipment which helped them capture a significant share of the Australian market for small electric motors used in industrial, commercial and domestic applications and by the late 1920s was employing around 20 people. By the mid 1930s, the company had moved again, to premises in Moor Street, Fitzroy, just off Brunswick Street, behind the Fitzroy Town Hall. The company continued to expand both its output and product, specialising in the manufacture of fractional horsepower motors (smaller motors down to 1/100 h.p. or 75 Watts capacity), although they were also building larger motors of up to 25 h.p. by 1955. After World War II, the business was floated as a public company under the name McColl Electric Works Ltd and in 1961 was taken over by J. Stone & Co (A'asia) Pty Ltd, continuing to operate as a subsidiary of the later company at Springvale until the mid 1970s.

Norman Beaton Macdonald (1897-1976) was an electrical engineer who worked for McColls from the early 1920s after completing a diploma in electrical engineering at the Footscray Technical College (now Victoria University). In the late 1920s he travelled to the United States of America and Canada as part of his work and in the 1930s visited manufacturers in Germany. He was a keen amateur photographer taking many photographs of his work and family and acquired a movie camera with which he shot early cine-films in the 1920s and 1930s. Later in life he was awarded a Life Membership of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc for his contributions to electrical manufacturing.

Physical Description

Rectangular business card printed in black ink on white stock.


This collection of photographs and two related objects provide a rare insight into one of Victoria's most significant manufacturers of electrical equipment during the first half of the 20th century. They illustrate both typical products produced and repaired by the firm during the 1920s to 1940s and some aspects of working life with the McColl Electric Works, such as the high number of women employed.

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