Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1931. Hardcover. A presentation copy of a scarce volume celebrating the 25th anniversary of a Danish engineering company that brought western technology to the industrial development of 1900s China, and secured the exclusive right to represent General Electric in China.
Andersen Meyer first worked on a joint basis with an American import export firm based in Shanghai named Fearon, Daniel & Company, to set up an engineering firm in China. In 1907 it won the right to represent G. E. in China and in 1908 secured its first large contract with the Mukden Electric Light Works.
The firm quickly diversified from the construction and engineering fields to partner with American makers of textile machinery and equipment, selling the first cotton mill entirely equipped with American machinery. It also expanded into power plant machinery, electrical machinery including Xray equipment, plumbing and heating equipment, agricultural machinery, and drugs and chemicals. Offices were located in Tientsin, Peiping, Harbin, Mukden, Hankow, Tsingtao, Tsinan, Hong Kong and Canton. Meyer Andersen represented the major American manufacturers of the day, from G. E., American Radiator, International Harvester, Masonite, Parke Davis (once America's oldest and largest drug maker), Sherwin Williams and more.
This is a signed presentation copy, to a long term business associate who was the principal of a company acquired by Pittsburgh Coal Co., from the founder Vilhelm Meyer, and signed below Meyer's frontispiece portrait: "F. L. Robbins, with thanks for your long and loyal cooperation. From your old friend, Vilhelm Meyer. March 1931".
The first section is written in English; the second section in Chinese, translated and prepared by Kuang Chao Lee, with a special title page and separate pagination with Chinese numerals. The volume is impressive for its wide array of b&w photographic illustrations in all the areas in which the company operated, including staff portraits, showrooms of the various departments, interior views of factories including cotton & silk mills, power plants, lighting of Shanghai buildings, railway and locomotive equipment and workshops, and bridge construction. There is an unusual double spread photograph of the Bund in Shanghai with 29 numbered buildings and a chart below listing all the heating supplies provided by Andersen Meyer to the prominent landmark buildings all along the waterfront! (pp92-93). The many images in a broad range of fields provide a vivid sense of the tremendous impact of western technology on China's industrial growth.
In 1934 Vilhelm Meyer died, and the ownership of the company passed to its main American partner, General Electric. In 1949, following the founding of the People's Republic of China, many international firms in Shanghai were nationalized, including Andersen Meyer. By 1950 it was completely Chinese controlled.
Large 4to, 247pp; 134pp, frontispiece, b&w photographic illustrations (including portraits of staff, maps). With the book plate of F. L. Robbins at the front paste down. Dark blue stamped buckram covers, title in English at front cover, in Chinese at rear cover, original titles in yellow, somewhat dulled.
We located four copies, at the National Library of Singapore, National Library of Australia, the University of Hong Kong, and Stanford. OCLC: 123199443. Libraries Australia ID 5041194. Very good condition. Item #23260