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It was one of the things staff at Scott Technology Ltd tried to fathom during 100th anniversary celebrations at the Kaikorai Valley-based headquarters on Saturday.
''It's hard to imagine they thought their business would stretch across New Zealand and into the northern hemisphere,'' chief executive Chris Hopkins said.
The business was formed by engineer John Scott, a Scottish immigrant, and his sons on Leith St in April 1913.
J. and A. P. Scott specialised in general repairs to gas, oil, and petrol motors and their high standard of workmanship and the motoring craze of the next 10 years saw the business boom.
These days, Scott Technology Ltd is a publicly listed engineering company specialising in the design and manufacture of automated production and process machinery.
The company's headquarters are now located in Dunedin, and it has offices in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, with permanent sales and service offices located in Dallas (US), Bergamo (Italy), Shanghai and Qingdao (China), and Sydney (Australia).
Mr Hopkins said one of the challenges New Zealand companies had was they did not dream big enough.
''I would like to think our business will continue to grow across the world and have a wider global presence in international markets than we do at the moment.
''We continue to work towards that.''
About 250 present and former staff of the company gathered at the Kaikorai Valley headquarters on Saturday for an open day, and about 280 people attended the company's official centennial celebration dinner on Saturday night.