Cascade in New Zealand completed its first pool on 27th October 1971, after founder Larry Ogden returned home on holiday after six years working with Cascade Incorporated in the UK, Europe and USA.
A 1/2 page advert for "a home swimming pool for $1,495 in" the local Auckland Newsprint Media resulted in 80 pools sold that summer - so Larry Ogden and Rob Smith established Cascade Pools (NZ) Limited an stayed to build them.
Larry never went back to live in England! Rob Smith returned to the UK in 1977.
That's nearly FIVE DECADES ago, and we're still here!
Cascade Pools, New Jersey USA
Two pool displays:
- Bergen County NJ
- Essex County NJ
The Cascade swimming pool system was well established by the mid 1950's as more and more people realised that they too could have a home swimming pool at a reasonable price!
CASCADE Pioneered the swimming pool industry in the USA and New Zealand too in the 1970's
UK November 1967
Larry Ogden with our European Cascade Dealers at the 1967 Dealer Conference, London ENGLAND
England: Larry Ogden checking finished Installation of a new Cascade product - the "Aquadome" for all-year swimming. This was installed over a pool at Black Rock, Dublin Irelend.
ENGLAND: Rob Smith & Larry Ogden Excavating a new Cascade Pool Somewhere in the Home Counties
MEXICO: Larry Ogden & Cascade Crew at Puerto Vallarta, Cascade USA Dealer Conference
Top row ( left to right)
Larry Ogden, Ted Barrie, Cyril Slater, UK Manager Sam Gold, Herr Spittler, Frank Tierney
Vera Gold, Larry (Buster) Crabbe, Mikki Barrie, Mrs Tierney
Ted, Sam & Buster from Cascade Inc USA, Cyril from Cascade UK, Spittler (Hamburg) and Tierney (Channel ISlands) Cascade Dealers
Our first New Zealand Pool
Customer: Selwyn "Selly" Brown
Location: Swanson Road, Ranui West Auckland
Pool: 12 x 24 feet (3.6 x 7.2)
Cost: $1,495 installed
Ruth V Ogden (Assistant Builder) on site
Our first New Zealand Pool
Our first New Zealand Pool ... Filled and Filtering.
That's me scooping leaves out with a Fishing net. No pool tools around in 1971!
No nice bull-nose copings available in those days, hence the rectangle pavers used instead.
The finished effect was not too bad Considering that Selly had a very unique and historic pool, all of his friends and neighbours were gobsmacked at the nice little Cascade pool that appeared in less than a week!
And none of us ever imagined how the New Zealand pool industry would grow over the next 50 years.
New Zealand is such a beautiful country! After nearly six years in the UK and Europe, I had forgotten how much I missed the incredible outdoor life that is available to Kiwis!
I was starting to have second-thoughts about going back to England after the Summer holiday - especially as there was no established residential swimming pool industry here at the time!
Maybe this is where I should stay, and devote my life to Cascade and the New Zealand swimming pool industry?
The first pools included wall shutters that were constructed from Marine Grade ground retention treated 12 ply timber and galvanised screws.
These (amazingly) seem to last forever, as we frequently come across these old pools to install a new interior (liner) up to 38 years later - and the shutters are still good!
Our ULTIMATE concrete pool (introduced in 2002) make these old CLASSIC pools look primitive - yet many thousnads of families enjoyed them (and still do!)
Residential swimming pool equipment was non-existent in the early 1970's - so we made our own!
20" Spiral-welded pipe, welded bottoms and tops with removable access hatch, home-made internals,
cast bronze commercial market-garden three port valve,
Davies 1/3hp NON self-priming pump - and 32mm Class E (residential) grey pvc pipe! State of the Atr stuff!
Very primitive - but it WORKED!
Alan Chamberlain hard at work hooking up the filtration plant on an early Cascade pool.
Hamish Mc Gill, Tony (John) Sutherland, Alan Wayper and little Kimmy Sutherland (Now Aquatech Industries General Manager) hard at work hand-digging a Cascade swimming pool!
The Outdoor Emporium, Glen Eden
The Baker Brothers & Dad Colin,
Our first New Zealand Cascade Dealership
They sold more than 1,000 Cascade pools before closing in the early 1990's recession.
By 1973 we Franchised Cascade into 3 Auckland Dealers, (Pakuranga, Brian Smith Poolworld, North Shore Ron Winney, Marlin Pools, Papakura Frontier Pools ?? ) Dealers at Hamilton (The two Daves), Tauranga, and Wellington.
By 1975 in Christchurch we added ex Para Pools General Manager, Bill Strowger and by then were selling more than 350 pools per year.
Larry Ogden & Rob Smith
Serious discussion in progress!
We had just sold our 100th Cascade swimming pool in Auckland, and were wondering where it was all going to lead to!
Little did I expect in 2009 we would build our 8,000th pool !
Based on an idea from an old retired scientist friend, Larry developed the IG 450 Salt Chlorinator to eliminate the problem of having to supply customers with huge 100 Lb drums of Cal Hypo (chlorine powder) - with all the down side attached to that product.
From 1973 Cascade supplied a Salt Chlorinator with every pool for the next 21 years until the "downside" of electrolysis of sodium chloride caught up with us (i.e. the process also produces sodium hydroxide - or "Caustic Soda" in the pool in the same quantities as chlorine: not great for your kids to swim in - or the water pH!)
In 1994 we dumped "SALT" in favour of the US Cascade's "Aquagenie" system and in 2008 added OZONE for what is now possibly the BEST water treatment available for home pools!
The IG450 shown at right is a 1975 Aquatech Industries manufactured Series II export model (We sold heaps to the USA starting in 1973 with the Series I). This model has reversing polarity in an attempt to make the electrodes last longer. That didn't really work for us - although it's common these days!
23 July 1973
Larry Ogden building his first home pool. Volunteer diggers include Rob Smith (pink Jeans) Alan Wayper to his right, Hamish McGill & Sandra Metcalfe at the back and neighbor's boy Alan Chamberlain on the left!
My Mum watched over us!
Sandra Metcalfe (1961-1978)
Mum Dorrie Ogden BEM (1902-1995)
A lot of pools were dug by hand due to poor access!
I had a huge Pohutakawa tree blocking access.
Here we have Willy Wilson, Alan Wayper, Alan Chamberlain and Terry Middleton (Australia - just visiting) hard at work "on the tools"!
Cascade voulnteers plastering Larry's pool in Mt Wellington.
We adopted the US CLASSIC design with GalvSteel pool walls and plastered cement floors in those days (since upgraded in 2002 to full 25 mpa concrete construction with the introduction of the ULTIMATE pool range).
I shot the first Cascade Video Promo on a Super 8 film camera - writng the script and editing "in camera".
The original has been long lost but in 2005 a later version was scripted and re-shot by me on digital tape - so it's probably time to re-visit this project to update it!
The 2005 DVD version was available by mail order, and there is a link to this on-line version on the Cascade TRIVIA web site, under the PROMO link
60 POOLS A MONTH!
Factory Manager Lennie Owens was in charge of ultimately getting thousands of pool component kits shipped out - sometimes as many as 60 pools per month were being produced, sent out - and built!
By then we had Cascade Dealerships in eighteen (18) New Zealand towns and cities, and the home swimming pool industry really took of in those early days!
Len married a visiting Canadian gal, emigrated to Canada in 1977 and has never returned to New Zealand. They own a Pub called "The Golden Kiwi" in Vancouver.
By now we were selling more than 350 pools per year and as well as our country Dealers had five dealers in Display Areas in Auckland.
You drove through farm-land to get to Auckland Dealers in those days - at Henderson, Glen Eden, Papatoetoe, Takaninni, North Shore and Central at George Terrace Onehunga.
The central Auckland "Cascade Fleet" had expanded to a Ford Transit Van, a Holden Ute, Holden Station Wagon and three Holden cars - as well as my Jag, of course.
Kurt (Geert Kremer) was our first Liner Fabricator and trained those who followed. Kurft was instrumental in the design and upgrading of the Cascade pool liners and component kits.
R.I.P. Kurt (1929 - 2007) You were a cool guy - and a good friend.
Kurt designed and developed our first underwater pool light - things were pretty primitive in those days! (See pic on right)
This ABS fabricated container attached to and fitted through the pool wall and was faceplated into the pool water with a clear acrylic cover.
We simply placed a $20 240v spotlight into the device. It worked! BUT having 240 v in Zone 1 would be unacceptable these days!
We also fabricated our Surface Skimmers from ABS sheet PVC plastic in the same manner - until the newly released WA72 became available in 1975
Every CASCADE swimming pool came with a free Life Saving Ring.
This was before the days of Pool Fencing laws, so we gave the life rings and a sign warning parents not to leave children unattended in the pool.
In 1976 Cascade's Larry Ogden inititiated a compulsory "Pool Fencing Rule" that was followed by all the Cascade Dealers as part of their agreement wih us,
We previously imported stainless steel filters from Muskin in the USA, when Auckland Entrepreneur Roger Clarke RIP approached us with a proposal to produce pool filters in New Zealand.
We agreed, and with an FPI knockoff copy of the US Haywood Multiport Valve the 24 inch "FPI Contractor" sand filter was launched.
The 4,000 or so Contractor filters we purchased put FPI* on the map, and it became a very successful company under Roger's astute management.
They went Public in 1984 Roger selling his shares for a reputed $21 million dollars!
Roger went into (I believe) the Property Development business until his death some years ago.
* Filtration & Plumbing Industries Limited
1975 AQUA-LEISURE CENTER
We opened New Zealand's first dedicated Pool Shop in 1975 managed by my sister Zoe-Ann Johnston and Father in Law Bernard Whall - and developed (in conjunction with inventor Selwyn Reed) the first fibreglass Spa Pools to hit the Kiwi market - the 'SUPERSPA ' - then developed the roto-molded TV Top Cascade which sold more than 3,000 in two years.
The Aqua-Leisure Center was a great success and by 1980 was selling over 1,000 spa pools per season. Sister Zoe was a top notch Salesperson!
Unfortunately, this sales success also contributed to the divorce rate, as the saying "Love thy neighbour" was taken a little too seriously by many of our customers sharing the pools!
1975 - 1984
The downturn in the economy (and business) in the early 1980's meant the closure of the Aqua-Leisure Center.
Cascade also discontinued the production of fibreglass and acrylic SuperSpa pools after a production line of approximately 5,000 units.
From 1975 until 1978 we dabbled in full-size fibreglass pools, producing around 180 pools - but after many interior finish (Gel Coat) failures (28, actually) we decided to shelve this direction for home pools until the technology matured.
1976 Pool Season
We increased our office staff by three with the hiring of General Manager (Mike Van Skiver) PA (Dale Perry) and Accounts Lady (Beverly Day).
In order to allow the sale of our swimming pool products we had developed to the pool trade , in November 1975 we started an off-shoot company.
In 1980 John Sutherland purchased a 50% shareholding and took the reigns of Managing Director.
In July 2005 John purchased the remaining 50% and his family became the sole owners of AQUA-TECH INDUSTRIES which is still in operation at this time (2018)
Mike Van Skiver left Cascade in 1985 and has never been in contact with us since.
We upgraded John Sutherland's role in the company from Factory Manager to Installations & Credit Control Manager, as by this time we had sixteen full-time Crews building pools, a Sales Manager and four full-time commission salesmen.
We installed 353 pools that year, and equal numbers for the next 14 years, reaching more than 7,000 pools sold by 1990
At times we were sending out 60 pool kits for installation per MONTH!
Our serviceman "Willy" Wilson - photo taken March 1976 - was our sole pool service person for sixteen years until he "retired" to Great Barrier Island. We have never heard from him since!
We expanded into #18 George Terrace and made it our liner factory. We were now producing neary 400 liners per year. Quite an undertaking!
Shown here (Left to right):
Ken George Teale, Will WIlson, Anthony (John) Sutherland, Mike Van Skiver.
Check out the cool fashions of the day:
Rob Smith visited Cascade Inc in New Jersey USA to check on their latest developments in the US pool industry and especially Aquadome pool covers.
These Domes are popular in the eastern states of the US as the winters have snowm but days can be clear and sunny, so a heated pool can be used all year 'round with a Cascade Aquadome!
They never caught on in New Zealand. We tried inflatable domes as a cheaper option - and sold a few - but generally the weather is not bad enough for long enough to warrant the costs, which was almost as much as the pool!
The factory got so busy that we rented a house in Church Street, Onehunga, just around the corner from our George Terrace factory complex (which had grown to three buildings)
Can't remember who chose the colour scheme - probably Mike Van Skiver!
This became the administrative headquarters for Cascade Industries for a year or two - until #14 George Tce became vacant.
We leased the factory at #14 George Tce and opened a small spa & pool chemical shop, moving the administrative offices from Church Street to the upstairs offices at #14.