In 1884 Lauritz H Marthinusen arrived in South Africa from Norway, joining a Norwegian settlement on the Natal South Coast, now known as Port Shepstone. His electrical training found little use in Natal so he made his way to the early Reef Gold Mines catching the stage coach to Ladysmith and literally walking the rest of the way to Johannesburg where he joined the Nourse Mine. His entrepreneurial mind was quick to see the opportunity of winding electrical rotating machines locally which in the absence of a repair facility in South Africa were being returned to Europe. The full repair cycle therefore often taking as long as 18 months. LH’s initial approach was the winding of low voltage motors in his private time but this part time work flourished such that it necessitated the establishment of LHM in 1913.
Almost from the time of its inception LHM tackled all categories of work and soon required cranes and electrical equipment for the handling of armatures upwards of 50 tonnes in weight. The company grew rapidly gaining the reputation of a local facility that was competent in handling complex repairs in a short space of time coupled with technical standards that were equivalent to that of the OEM’s. The substantial Green Street premises were to prove adequate taking the company through World War I & II and it was not until 1946 that new and special purpose facilities were built in Denver which although now much extended are still occupied today.
From its inception LHM has enjoyed the reputation of the leading repair shop and without doubt is the largest facility in Southern Hemisphere. LHM was first sold to First Electric in 1947 which was later to become GEC a situation that was to perpetuate until Delta Electrical purchased the company in 1982. Since Delta’s entry LHM has grown rapidly which has been assisted by the purchase of the latest technology and equipment available to our industry. The establishment of branches in most major industrial centres in South Africa as well as a number of vertical integration purchases of our main suppliers now firmly places LHM as the most comprehensive and foremost electrical repairer in Southern Africa.