Nearly everyone will have used a Hansells product. Remember Jungle Juice?
You probably have one in your kitchen right now. Check the baking soda, or food flavourings.
It is still operating after 88 years - at the same Masterton premises where it was opened in 1934.
The man behind it was Leslie Beauchamp Maunsell, son of John Frederick Maunsell (whose father Robert came from Ireland with his wife Susan in 1835) and Emma.
Maunsell was born August 18, 1835, in Tinui, Wairarapa and enlisted when World War One broke out. In 1916 he was reported as having been gassed and taken to an Italian hospital where he recovered.
Later that same year he was shot in the chest while in action in France. He received the Military cross for bravery.
He met and married Catherine Jane Martyn-Johns in Sussex in 1917. He recovered enough from his wounds to return to light military duty.
Back in Masterton he co-founded a company with a chemist only known by the name Hansen. They combined their names to make Hansells.
Initially they were making experimental products in a chicken shed on the property with the first products being culinary essences.
Many of the brands were household names: Vitafresh, Thriftee, King Traditional Soup, Sugromax, Sucaryl, Hansells and Kings. It was best known for flavour essences, but other products include food colouring, gravy browning, drinking chocolate, drink powders, pancake mixes, baking goods and mousse.
The factory was also the family property and staff - who bottled and packaged many of the well known products - were also considered family.
Sports were often played on the ground and weddings of staff were held there.
Hansells and its various brands were acquired by Old Fashioned Foods Group in 2006.
Maunsell died August 18, 1953 and is buried in the Masterton Archer St cemetery.
And what about the chemist Hansen? Well, the rumour was that he was wanted in Australia for bigamy so left the company in the early days. Without a first name it's hard to track him but a newspaper article in The Brisbane Telegraph from 1937 lists a Joseph Nichol Peter Hansen, 42 as having appeared in court charged with being married to two women at once.
He appears to vanish from sight after that.
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