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Object Detail


In the 1950s Howard Wright started his own engineering business in a small workshop underneath his house in New Plymouth. At first he mostly made things out of wrought iron, like balustrades for stairs. Wright constructed his first hospital bed after a local nurse approached him asking if he could make one to match those available overseas. It wasn't long before he realised he could in fact do a lot better using the latest hydraulics. In the early 1960s he opened his first dedicated hospital bed factory.
By the 1970s Howard Wright Limited was making and selling most of the hospital beds in New Zealand, but it was the innovative M4 bed in 1976 that gained international success. Howard developed the idea of using remote hydraulic pumped at the foot of the bed to raise the bed surface. The M4 bed placed Howard Wright Ltd at the forefront of hospital bed design. The M4 was followed by the equally innovative Pacific Shower Trolley which was made to speed up the bathing of patients, won a Designmark Award and was exported to more than 25 countries. The Equipoise Intensive Care Bed was also exported and has saved many lives by allowing X-ray procedures to be carried out on the critically ill, without having to move them from the bed. Other inventions included general ward beds, a paediatric bed, a patient lifter, concealment trolley, variations on operating tables, and other custom-designed equipment for healthcare professionals.
Outside of his manufacturing business Wright designed the New Plymouth City flag in 1986 and also became an honorary ambassador for New Plymouth in 1990. In 2011 he was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours list for his outstanding work in designing and manufacturing hospital beds.
Order of service for the funeral of Howard Stanley Wright held at W. Abrahams Chapel, 4 April 2012.
Department
Archives
Classification
Subject Person

Archive Contents

  Part 1

Order of service

Accession No
ARC2012-076

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