Diversification in war years
In the following year as World War II began, Hamer started importing Hoover products from England. As the supply of overseas products began to vary, an undaunted Harry Hamer concentrated on local products. Brands and products included the Morlynn, Elgene and Heco. The Speedway twin tub washing machine, forerunner to the Hoovermatic, was also successfully marketed.
Not to take any chances Harry Hamer further diversified the business into other business activities: including a 500 acre cropping farm, two orchards, a cool store and the South Island Oil Refining Company which recycled used motor oil. Through these efforts, Hamer Electrical emerged from the war years financially viable.
In 1950 his son Derek, fresh from Canterbury University with a Bachelor of Science degree, was appointed as a junior clerk and soon after was sent to the United Kingdom for sales training at Hoover Ltd, Bowthorpe and other companies represented in New Zealand by Hamer Electrical.
The 1950s was a period of rapid growth for Hamer. Sales of Hoover electric irons and cleaners were booming and the Hoover products, Ganoid food mixers, Heco heaters, Arko Electric Fences, Bowthorpe line taps were in demand throughout New Zealand, together with electrical cable, electrical accessories, Johnson outboard motors and many small appliances.
But the boom period did not last. In 1958 the Government of the day imposed stringent import restrictions to combat a serious overseas balance of payments problem. The products, which had been built up in the post-war years to become so much a part of Hamer’s success, were quite suddenly unavailable.