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Celebrating a Century of Success

Patton 100th Anniversary | 1923 - 2023

Kiwi Ingenuity at Its Best

Blessed with breath-taking scenery at every turn, there is no surprise that New Zealand has an enviable horticultural history but when it came to delivering our produce to far-flung destinations, technology wasn’t originally on our side.

Frozen meat had been successfully shipped to Europe from Argentina and Australia since the mid 1870s, but the voyage from New Zealand was even longer.
In 1882, after a lot of planning and some genuine number-8-wire thinking, the first successful shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand to Britain took place on the sailing ship Dunedin.
This voyage from Port Chalmers to London would go on to pave the way for a successful future in the meat and dairy export industry, the cornerstone of our modern-day economy.
The Dunedin sailed on 15 February but once entering the tropics, the crew realised the cold air was not circulating effectively. To save his historic cargo, Captain Whitson crawled inside and cut extra air holes into the walls. Overwhelmed by the freezing conditions, Whitson was pulled out by a rope attached to his ankles and resuscitated by his fellow crew.
When the Dunedin arrived in London after three months at sea, all but one slab of meat was in perfect condition.
It’s this Kiwi ingenuity that inspires New Zealand entrepreneurs to do great things and
our very own business founder, George E Patton was no exception.


The Dunedin, 1876


Like every success story, Patton Refrigeration began with a focused idea and a commitment to hard work. In 1923, George E Patton set up a business, selling refrigeration to Cantabrians!

Often seen around town on his bike with tools and a ladder on his shoulder servicing equipment George was tireless in his efforts and building his start-up. GE Patton Ltd soon produced a range of domestic refrigerators and flip-top ice cream cabinets for the rapidly expanding local market and although the weather outside was freezing, business was booming!



Partly thanks to the country’s growing reputation for refrigerated export of quality lamb and dairy products, Patton had made significant strides in the local market and by the mid-thirties, Patton employees were numbering in the forties; quite an achievement for those times. Further growth followed and after many years of hard work and dedication, George Patton passed away and the company was sold.
By the mid-seventies the head office had relocated to Auckland and was developing new and exciting ranges of cooling equipment.



The ensuing years saw Patton’s product range expand and diversify on the back of our innovative engineering and industry specialist team.

Known as market leaders in the dairy, kiwifruit and supermarket refrigeration industry, Patton was quickly expanding to the world stage and becoming a household name with outlets, sales
offices and manufacturing facilities spanning Australia, Thailand, India and New Zealand.
Patton has made its mark on the worldwide refrigeration industry, this successful business has a bright and exciting future.


Patton Timeline

A history in milestones | 1923 - 2023

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