Mudaliyar Don Carolis Hewavitarane who was operating a small scale workshop at his home in Matara, establishes H. Don Carolis & Sons (Pvt) Ltd., manufacturers of fine crafted wooden furniture to meet the increasing demands of the coffee, coconut and plumbago industries for furniture, casks and barrels. The workshop moves to modest premises in Keyzer Street, Pettah. They continue to meet the demands for solid crafted furniture to European styles but at moderate prices.
History & Milestones
A Tradition Of Quality ContinuedA family owned enterprise over 150 years strong, our company has continued to grow from strength to strength. Keeping up our renowned tradition of quality and highest of standards as of yesteryear, our new Home Store - the largest in Sri Lanka today, provides the best in home needs, very much in step with the ever changing lifestyles and needs of the 21st century.
A Few Significant Milestones From Our Illustrious Past
Setting a precedent, the company becomes the first national enterprise to export furniture, sending consignments of goods to Australia. Venturing further afield, orders are also taken from India, Burma, the Straits settlements, the government of South Africa, United Kingdom and USA.
An Indo-African syndicate is formed to further expand exports to South Africa.
The company takes part in the Paris Exhibition, and products win Gold and Silver awards.
Participates in the Indian Industrial Exhibition.
Participates in the St. Louise Exposition. The showroom and offices move to premises in 1st Cross Street, Pettah. The workshop also shifts to bigger premises in Slave Island and renamed as Colombo Steam Furniture Works. A 30 H.P steam engine is used to saw timber. The labour force rises to around 250 persons with training being given to youth in carpentry.
Arnold White comments on the merits of the company in his significant work "The 20th Century Impressions of Ceylon"
A mail order catalogue system is introduced - A unique idea at that time. The extensive showroom occupied nearly three acres (Approximately 13000 square meters/150000 square feet) and was the first department store in Asia with over 50 departments offering everything from furniture, upholstery, rattan and cane goods, coir matting, lamps, crockery, cutlery, iron beds, spring mattresses, marble clocks, carpets, fabrics and more.
Don Carolis Hewavitharana continues beneficiary activities to Buddhist causes - becomes the founder of Vidyodaya Pirivena. His son David enters priesthood and is better known as the heroic figure Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala.
Upon the demise of Don Carolis Hewavitharana , his sons take over the management of the company.
Taking part in the World Trade Exposition at Wembley, England, the company creates a unique stall for the country, building an intricate wooden replica of the Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy).
The first company to introduce Peugeot cars and Raleigh bicycles to Ceylon.
An important commission is received from the Government of Ceylon to create a seventeen piece bedroom suite as a wedding gift to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the II.
To offer an additional range of modern furniture, a designer was brought in from overseas and a distinctive range of furniture was offered to the local market. A centenary sale is held at Keyzer Street and the "new furniture gallery" opens in November.
A significant move is made away from custom built furniture to quantity production - whilst maintaining high standards, incorporating modern designs to meet increasing demand. Large scale contracts are also taken on from commercial enterprises and big organizations such as banks, hotels and government institutions. The company continues to hold the unique privilege of providing furniture to both the new and old Parliaments of Sri Lanka, the President's House and offices and the Prime Minister's Residence.
The warehouse opens as a showroom promoting "inspired living" at Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2. Investments of Rs. 118 million made towards expansion of factory complex in Kalutara.
Factory opens in Kalutara.
Opening of our New Showroom in November 2012