Brunette Machine Works – The History
In the mid 1920’s two (2) machinists/blacksmith’s Gustav (Gus) Pousette and Adam Murray formed Pousette and Murray in a small shop located on Nelson Street, near Brunette Street in Sapperton District of New Westminster.
Gus Pousette, born in Gavle, Sweden, immigrated to Canada with two (2) brothers who stayed on in Ontario while he migrated to the West.
Adam Murray immigrated from the English midlands about the same time.
Both had worked at one time in the Brunette Sawmill machine shop a few blocks west of their new shop. In addition to a repair business, the firm manufactured shingle machines and other equipment. The Pousette patented shingle ratchet became a standard on many other competitive machines as well. On Gus’ death in 1942 his son Harold Pousette, who had worked up from Sawfiler to Superintendent of Flavelle Cedar, Port Moody purchased Adam Murray’s share of the business and incorporated Brunette Machine Works Ltd.
Brunette manufactured a number of special machines for shingles, grooving, sawmill and veneer plywood applications. In the mid 1950’s, after manufacturing a number of early cable and coil spring tool arm Ring Debarkers for the late Sid Hansell of Seattle, Brunette developed and began manufacturing of a revolutionary Ring Debarker with an air seal and air pressure actuated tool arms.
The Brunette Air Seal Ring Debarker grew in popularity over the years as new features and advancements where added. In the late 1950’s Brunette purchased Webb and Gifford Ltd., another New Westminster machine shop facility, on the New Westminster waterfront to add to its manufacturing capacity. Mechanical Engineer Ron Pousette joined his father in 1963 and the business expanded its manufacturing and marketing program to include Chippers, Screens, Bandmills, Auto Chip Edgers and other equipment. During the 1970’s and 80’s International licensing agreements led to manufacture of Brunette Debarkers and other equipment in Carthage, NY, Salem, OR, Tauringa, NZ and Hammars, Sweden with additional sales representation in the US South by the Jack Flanders Co. of Little Rock, Arkansas. A Northern machine shop facility was added by Brunette in Prince George, BC in 1965 to provide service and repairs for the Northern part of BC.
In 1980 a large new facility was opened on the river front in New Westminster, BC to house both Brunette and Webb and Gifford staff and machinery. Brunette Machine Works was sold to Per Brunes in 1988, who helped establish Brunette as a leading supplier of chippers, hogs, and debarkers.
In 2013, Kirk Forbes partnered with Murray Latta Progressive Machine Inc. (MLPM), and together purchased the assets of Brunette Industries Ltd., forming the current Brunette Machinery Company Inc. Brunette moves its head office staff and operations to the MLPM facility in Surrey, BC, with access to their 60,000SF manufacturing facility. Kirk Forbes was the General Manager at Brunette for 10 years, now serving as President, and continues to uphold the company’s tradition of commitment to quality, performance, durability and value through the trusted line of Brunette products.