Fonds BC1509 - Prince, Vintcent & Co Records

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Prince, Vintcent & Co Records


  • 1877-1974 (Creation)

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15 archival boxes

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Prince, Vintcent & Co, of Mossel Bay, was a family owned business. They were importers, merchant-wholesalers and retailers with developments into other activities over the years, including export.
The firm was founded, probably in 1863, by Joseph Vintcent and JS Prince, previously a partner of the London-based Prince, Collison & Co firm.
By the turn of the century, Prince, Vintcent was training in a wide variety of commodities and merchandise. Imports included sugar, possibly from Ceylon, steel from England, timber from Canada and the Baltic, whisky, firearms, manufactured goods and textiles.
As wholesalers, they were also financiers to their customers. They received credit from Blagden & Co in London, and in turn extended credit to many small traders, from Swellendam, north to the Karoo, and to a lesser degree eastwards to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
As a result of the ostrich feather boom, Prince, Vintcent established a business in Oudtshoorn in association with AC Kleinschmidt. The business grew into a large retail shop, with various departments catering for the wholesale, clothing, produce and building trades.
The importing and transporting business expanded in other directions, one of which was the connection with the aloe industry, which formed an integral part of their wholesale activities. A shareholder of the firm managed the export of the aloe extract, mainly to Germany, where it was used in the manufacture of medicines.
As cars began to replace the mule and ox-wagons, so the firm became involved in the motor trade. Prince, Vintcent became the official dealers in Mossel Bay for the Ford Motor Company in 1930.
After the Second World War, South African-made products formed the bulk of Prince, Vintcent’s stock.
By the 1950s, apart from wholesale, the business also included the motor business and panel-beating shop, the export of aloe extract, shipping agencies which included representing the Union Castle Line in Mossel Bay (which agency ended about 1973).
There was also involvement in brick-making, acquisition of a brickfield in the Mossel Bay district, and there were stone-crushing plants in Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay.
In the 1960s, with modern computer technology and national chain stores, the old fashioned wholesalers became unpopular.
Eventually, the firm evolved into a property holding company.

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Donated to the University of Cape Town Libraries by Corinne Golding, 2011

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