Next generation steps in at ES Wigg & Son

David Davidson has stepped down as managing director of the 154 year old printing and stationery company, ES Wigg & Son, following 39 years in the position.

He will become chairman of the board of directors of ES Wigg & Son, replacing Alan Giles who is retiring.

Tom Davidson, David’s eldest son, has taken over as the company’s new managing director.

ES Wigg & Son, the state’s oldest printing company, was founded by ES Wigg in 1849 as a bookselling business in Rundle Street.

Today, the company employs a total of 100 staff in four states – including the printing operation based at Thebarton, retail stationery outlet at 65 Grenfell Street Adelaide and sales offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Under the management of David Davidson, the company has grown to become one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of envelopes, photographic packaging, direct mail and fundraising products.

E.S. Wigg arrived in Adelaide from England in May 1849, bringing with him his wife, son Edward and fifty pounds. On June 22nd of the same year, he leased premises at No. 4 Rundle Street, adjacent to Beehive Corner, and commenced business as a bookseller.

In 1850, recognising a need for account books, he purchased paper from Geo. Elder, and later that year employed a paper ruler and a book binder to commence the manufacturing section of the business. As sales increased, the business moved to No. 12 Rundle Street, and in 1867 purchased the business of Charles Platt, thus becoming the Colony’s largest bookseller.

By 1875, William Davidson had arrived from England, persuaded to come by his brother –in-law, Edward Neale Wigg. Manufacturing increased, with premises being opened in Apollo Place. Artist supplies, Educational and Stationery supplies, printing and Homeopathic Medicines had been added to the range of products sold.

In 1885, E.S. Wigg’s daughter Mary married William Davidson, who had taken over the day to day running of the business.

E.S. Wigg died, aged 81, in 1899.

Meanwhile, branches had been opened in Western Australia, and in 1901 the first envelope machine was installed. In 1902 land was purchased on the corner of Port Road and Phillips Street Thebarton, and by 1904 all manufacturing was located in the new factory, which boasted South Australia’s first saw-tooth roof. 1921 saw the Head Office move from Rundle Street to 65 Grenfell Street, where the Retail shop is still located today.

By 1924, when William Davidson died, his son Hugh became Managing Director, a position he held until his death in 1964, when his son David assumed the role, maintaining the family involvement in the company.

Rationalisation over this period had taken place, with greater emphasis on manufacturing.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Sales Offices were opened in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, giving Wigg’s a presence in five states.

Throughout recent years, the accent has been on quality and innovation, placing Wigg’s as one of Australia’s foremost manufacturers and printers of specialty envelopes and mailers for use in the photographic industry, fundraising and direct mail, as well as stocking a large range of commercial envelopes for every day use.

In Adelaide, its office product and stationery division continues to offer value for money and traditional service at our Retail shop in Grenfell Street.

The tradition of business integrity started by E.S. Wigg back in 1849 has flowed down through successive generations of management and employees, so that in 1999, E.S. Wigg & Son was proud to celebrate it’s 150th Anniversary as a South Australian company.

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