AC Trading - Hippo Mills : Milling Grain Moving Equipment Hammer Mills Shelling
The Original Since 1928

Celebrating our 90th Anniversary!




The History of Hippo Mills

When 26 year old Arthur Collins stepped ashore in Durban in 1892, it was almost certainly not with the intention of designing products that 126 years later would still be in great demand.

His first job as resident engineer with a Nigel gold mine lasted for five years before he moved to Pietermaritzburg to set up a business for himself as a millwright and blacksmith. It was here that he pioneered much of the machinery used in the Wattle Bark Industry. Some of these machines are still in use to this day.

When his son Frank was old enough to join his father’s business, they turned their joint attentions to the needs of the farmers. Arthur Collins was an outstanding engineer with an inventive turn of mind. He was also farsighted enough to realise that agriculture would inevitably turn more and more to mechanisation as demands upon the industry increased with the coming years. Consequently his preoccupation with farm machinery took most of his time and effort.

In the early 1900’s "ARTHUR COLLINS & SON" exhibited their products at the Royal agricultural show. For the following 50 odd years the company was a regular exhibitor and their machines won many gold, silver and bronze awards at this famous annual event.

Perhaps their greatest achievement was in 1928 when both father and son pooled their talents to produce the first ever South African manufactured hammer mill. This was so successful as to engender considerable pressure from local farmers to produce more and more mills. In 1931 the first 3 "assembly line" models were completed. These mills were built into wooden frames. It was at this time that the famous "HIPPO" trade mark was born.

It was decided to brand the mill “Hippo” in honour of the famous hippo Hubert (later found to actually have been Huberta) who journey by herself from northern Natal into the Eastern Cape. A quite uncommon thing for hippo’s to do and in the process befriending many people along the way.

As uncommon as Hippo equipment is. It became synonymous with a wide range of quality agricultural equipment - evidence of the outstanding popularity that these machines enjoy among South African farmers.

In 1958 Arthur died, leaving a legacy of hundreds of mills in use all over the country. (Most of which are still in use to this day and still supported for spare parts by ABC Hansen). Frank, his son, took over the reins and for the next eleven years guided the company through an uninterrupted period of growth and prosperity. He began looking beyond the borders of South Africa for a wider more challenging market. Frank Collins retired in 1969 and Hippo Mills became part of Conac Engineering. In 1985 Conac Engineering went out of business following a major fire and one of its directors, Duncan Walker (and later joined by his son Clynt) bought out Hippo and manufactured the equipment under AC TRADING which in turn was bought in the mid 2000’s by the ABC Africa Group, the present owners and ABC Hansen Africa now manufactures Hippo Mills together with its wide range of other agricultural processing equipment, in the same spirit of design, development and manufacture with world class quality as priority, that has marked the history of Arthur Collins & Son.

Today Hippo Mills are exported throughout Africa, the USA, Europe, Australia, the Far and Middle East and is sought after for its cast iron, bolt together design eliminating metal fatigue on welded seams. Its quality sustains all uses, whether for village scale milling, specialty smaller scale processing industry, large scale feed milling and today exceedingly more for industrial milling applications of a wide variety of materials.

Hippo Hammer Mills today operate virtually dust free, has a standard mechanical self-regulating feeding mechanism, has optional electric and electronic feed control for utmost production efficiency, is manufactured with very tight laser cut tolerances, uses the highest quality bearings available and is a world leader in hammer milling technology. The range starts with the 2.2/4kW Baby and ends with the 90kW Mammoth.

ABC Hansen in 2018 is celebrating Hippo Mills’ 90 years of service to agriculture and industry, and you are invited to make these iconic machines part of your business.