FL Bone & Son Limited




The full history of FL BONE begins in Napier in the early 1860’s when Michael Boylan started an Ironmongery Business in Hastings Street, Napier. On the 3rd of April 1862 the premises were destroyed by the Great Napier Fire in which many businesses in the Napier CBD were affected.

In 1877 Boylan and Company won 1st prize for their display of farming implements at the Hawkes Bay Show, held in Hastings.

Michael Boylan died in March 1914 at the age of 83. He was born in County Meath, Ireland.

Photo caption – This picture from 1870 shows the new Boylan & Company building (middle with dark window)

January 2015   Steve Brougham


On the 7th of January 1878 Harry Sherwood Ruddock and James Atkinson Fryer took over the business.

The business obviously flourished because in February 1886, they opened a grand brick and Oamaru stone building in Hastings Street, Napier. The building was 12.2m wide and 36.3m long and two storeys high. Ample provision was made against fire with a high pressure hydrant fitted to each floor. The building also featured a patented 2 ton lift and a very large roof light.

In January 1888 Messrs. Ruddock and Fryer along with engineer and inventor James Rochfort went to the Patent Office in Melbourne to jointly issue a patent for Mr Rochfort’s “Improved Automatic Flushing Syphon” (toilet cistern). The patent was granted and Ruddock and Fryer sold the units from their shop.

In 1895 Harry Ruddock left the business and setup on his own as a real estate agent and the business continued as J.A. Fryer lronmongers.

Photo caption – This picture from the late 1870’s / early 1880’s shows part of the building on the right.

January 2015   Steve Brougham


In December 1883 Ruddock and Fryer set up a Hastings Branch of their business. Frank Leonard (F.L.) Bone was apprenticed into the Ironmongery trade with them. He was born in London in May 1869 and was the youngest of 5 children. In the same year his father Henry (Jr) died and his wife Annie brought the family to New Zealand to be close to her sister who had married a farmer named Joseph Witherow. They were based in Waipawa but later moved to Patangata.


On the 13th June 1887 the Hastings branch was purchased by William Fletcher Burnett. He later served as the third Mayor of Hastings from 1890 to 1891.

W.F. Burnett had a room at the Carlton Hotel on the corner of Heretaunga Street and Karamu Road and on the morning of 5th October 1893, he left the hotel as usual at 7.20am to head to his business. There he took out a pistol and took his own life. FL Bone, who was then Mr Burnett’s Manager arrived at 8am to find the body.

January 2015   Steve Brougham

W.F. Burnett was 40 and he left no papers or documents to shed any light on his decision to end his life but it had been generally known that he had been in financial difficulties for some time.


In November 1893, F.L. Bone and Joshua Bennett took over the business changing the name to Bennett and Bone. Mr Bennett had previously been a partner in the Napier firm of Bennett & Brooking in the 1870’s and early 1880’s. They were insurance agents, real estate agents and involved with Government land transfers. In 1885 he moved to Hastings and set up on his own in Market Street as an insurance agent for North British and Merchantile Insurance, which he continued to operate from the new Bennett & Bone business.


In January 1898 Mr. Bennett retired and F.L. Bone was joined by Mr Thornton Charles Littlewood Holroyd (known as Charles), the firm then being known as Bone and Holroyd. Charles Holroyd was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, England in 1864 and came to New Zealand in 1886. He was a former meat preserver from Tomoana, in Hastings.

Photo caption – Bennett & Bone Ironmongers. Dealers in Posts, Firewood, Coal, &c., Hastings

January 2015   Steve Brougham


In October 1889 the partnership was dissolved due to a dispute and F.L. Bone officially took over the business on his own account at the start of 1900 with the company now known as F.L. Bone. F.L. Bone later advising his son Bill (R.L.) “Never have a partner”.

Charles Holroyd then joined the Army and fought in the Boer War in South Africa. His name is inscribed on the Boer War Memorial Statue on the Marine Parade, Napier.

Photo caption – F.L. Bone

January 2015   Steve Brougham

January 2015   Steve Brougham

January 2015   Steve Brougham


In 1921 Bill (Ralph Leonard) joined the staff with the business becoming F.L. Bone & Son in 1932.

The Building was destroyed in the 1931 Hawkes Bay Earthquake. The earthquake struck at 10.47am Tuesday 3rd of February and work commenced on rebuilding a temporary store so that the business could continue at 2pm on the same day amidst the ongoing aftershocks. The business operated from temporary buildings on the site until a new building was opened in 1934 at cost of £2,995.

Photo captions –

The wreckage of FL Bone after the 1931 Earthquake (facing Heretaunga Street)

F.L. Bone temporary store, facing Eastbourne Street. This building is the one used today as the shopfront

January 2015   Steve Brougham

In 1941 F.L. Bone & Son became a limited liability company with FL Bone as the Governing Director.

F.L. Bone died in 1945 at the age of 76

In 1957 Bill’s son Tony (A.D.) joined the company followed in 1958 by his other son David (D.R.). Both sons were very good sportsmen with Tony being one of the leading rowers in the country and David a member of the Hawkes Bay Magpies Rugby Team during the highly successful Ranfurly Shield era of the 1960’s.

1979 David left the business to pursue farming.

1977 and 1979 saw the production of comprehensive hardware catalogues.

Photo caption – F.L. Bone main entrance, Heretaunga Street (1980’s)

January 2015   Steve Brougham

Photo captions –

Eastbourne Street entrance, through bulk store (1980’s)

Interior of shop (1980’s)

January 2015   Steve Brougham

Bill Bone died in 1982 at the age of 76, like his father.

In 1980 Tony joined an export delegation to Fiji, Tonga, western and American Samoa. This resulted in the company developing an export market for architectural door hardware to Fiji. 1987 saw the Rabuka coup disrupt the market and through a contact with a former NZ Trade Commissioner the export focus was transferred to Papua New Guinea in 1989. Both markets continue today.

In May 1990, the decision was made to close the retail shop at 215 Heretaunga Street East. This was due to the very difficult trading conditions through the 1980’s. The company refocused on Architectural Door Hardware, a personal interest of Tony and a growing part of the business. The company went from a peak of 30 staff in the mid 1980’s to 5 in 1990.

The front shop in Heretaunga Street was rented out and most of the operations moved into the backstore facing Eastbourne Street.

Throughout this period the company also sold Rayburn Solid Fuel Cookers through its association with the parent company Glynwed (AGA). When AGA purchased the Leisure / Rangemaster Company, F.L. Bone started selling their Range Cookers from 1998. The Leisure / Rangemaster Cookers (name changed to Falcon) continued to grow and now forms 3/4 of the company’s turnover

1999 saw the opening of a branch at 409 Manukau Road, Epsom selling hardware, cookers and cookware. In 2008 the cooker side of the Auckland branch moved to a new award winning shop at 15 Teed Street, Newmarket. The hardware side moved to 35 Teed Street in 2011. In 2014 both divisions moved into larger premises at 14 Morrow Street, Newmarket.

In 2005 Kim (D.K.), David’s son joined the business.

A Central Heating Division was created in 2006. Centred around Grant Diesel Boilers from Ireland, Ideal Gas Boilers and Stelrad Radiators from England, the division focused on the supply and installation of systems. This side of the business was sold off to Plumbcraft Ltd, Auckland in 2013.

2012 saw the opening of a new retail shop at 54 Gorge Road, Queenstown, in part of the McKenzie & Willis building.

January 2015   Steve Brougham

Original digital file


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Date published

January 2015

Creator / Author

  • Steve Broughan


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