Patchouli Oil and Chua Seng Heng & Co
His foray into the produce/plantation business proved successful and with this new born energy, Tan Yong Thian decided to expand into the distillation and refining of the raw materials from his plantation. The distillation of patchouli oil (an essential oil used in making perfume) was what he was remembered for and he even managed to expand its export to other countries and its quality was parallel to the ones in Europe. The firm, Chua Seng Heng & Co became one of the largest producers of essential oils in the Straits Settlement. Two of his sons , Tan Kim Chua and Tan Guan Chua are joint partners in business together with a son-in-law.
In 1923, Chua Seng Heng & Co bought through an auction, a power distilling plant suitable for essential oil at 87 Kim Kiat Road. They also bought a new oil distilling plant for $2,000. Their office is listed to be at No 46 Armenian Street.
|Trademark of Chua Seng Heng & Co|
(source: NewspaperSG 1931)
|Tan Heng Chua taking ownership|
(source: NewspaperSG 1935)
Tan Kim Chua and his brothers were reported to have issued invitations to many of their friends from various communities that was held at their residence in No. 535 East Coast Road (6th milestone) in celebration of their father's 71 birthday in 1925. This was to be Tan Yong Thian's last birthday celebration.
Mr Tan Yong Thian passed away on April 9, 1926 at the age of 72 years. Mrs Tan Yong Thian nee Ng Hean Neo passed away on March 1, 1926 at the age of 59 years old. When Mrs Tan passed away, the newspaper list the number of children as 4 sons and 2 daughters: Tan Kim Chua, Tan Guan Chua, Tan Choon Chua, Tan Heng Chua , Mdam Kwek Noy Chia, Madam Lee Keng Jin
On the tombstone list 5 sons and 2 daughters:
Sons: Tan Khim Chua, Tan Guan Chua, Tan Kim Chua, Tan Choon Chua and Tan Heng Chua
Daughters: Tan Kim Kee, Tan Nie Kee
|Tomb of Mr and Mrs Tan Yong Thian|
Untitled. (1923, April 26). The Straits Times, page 8
Matters Chinese. (1925, October 16). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Death. (1926, March 2). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisement. (1931, December 15). The Straits Times, page 4
Patchouli Oil. (1933, January 2). The Straits Times, page 11
Advertisement. (1935, November 29). The Straits Times, page 2
Patchouli. [website] Wikipedia.
Burt, A. R. (1920). Biographies of Prominent Chinese. J. B. Powell, & C. Crow (Eds.). Biographical Publishing Company.