Articles / News

Celebrating Our 100-Year Journey at O’Brien®

1 March 2024

Celebrating Our 100-Year Journey at O’Brien®

O’Brien® has just turned 100!

That’s right, we’ve been serving customers in all kinds of glass across Australia since 1924.

And while a century of service is a rare feat that we’re incredibly proud of, time has truly flown.

What started as a humble silvering business by Frank G. O’Brien in Allen Street Waterloo, Sydney, has steadily grown to become one of Australia’s most iconic brands delivering expertise in home and business glazing, vehicle glass repair and electrical and plumbing services.

  • Today, O’Brien® is Australia’s leading
    vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration company, providing a national service to nearly 500,000 motorists in the past year,
  • We’ve come a long way, and with a shared passion for excellence and a drive to exceed customer expectations, we will continue to serve customers with high-quality products and service when they need us. To commemorate this special occasion, and to highlight the ethos that has driven us for a century, we’ve decided to take you on through the O’Brien® decades.

The 1924 – 1939: humble beginnings.

Founded in February 1924 by Frank G. O’Brien, our journey began here. We may have been small in size to start, but we were bold in our pursuit of customer satisfaction and employee well-being, and that hasn’t changed.

In fact, it was this zeal for service that led Frank and his growing team to incorporate under the Companies Act in 1930, laying the foundation for our future success.


The 40s and 50s: the war effort.

From 1940-1959, we quickly expanded our services into domestic and commercial glazing, specialising in shatter-proofing shop fronts and larger businesses.

As the World War II threat approached Australia, we were quick to support the effort by manufacturing windscreens for Australian aircraft and hand mirrors for our troops.

It was a trying time, but in the true Australian spirit, we persevered and did everything we could to assist.


The 1960s: mergers and expansion.

The 1960s brought a more peaceful era in Australian history.

In a time of rapid growth and industry, we merged with fellow Australian company, Glass Supplies, allowing us to broaden the scope and capabilities of our complex glass manufacturing and processing.

In 1965, we relocated our company headquarters to Padstow in Sydney (where our head office remains today) and introduced  Armourplate Doors to secure retail shop fronts and large office buildings.


The 1970s: joining Belron Group.

In 1971, we were proud to become the first overseas limb of the renowned vehicle glass repair and replacement, Belron Group.

With the support of Belron and our now 350 employees, we continued to grow and excel in the industry and established two separate divisions: Windscreens O’Brien and O’Brien Glass.

In 1976, manufacturing of laminated windscreens and architectural laminates became integral additions to our service offering in glass.

The company renamed to O’Brien Glass Industries Ltd on 2 March 1978.


The 1980s: expansion and milestones.

The 1980s was an exciting era for O’Brien®, despite the challenging economic conditions.

We started with extending our footprint to 95 branches, employing 800 staff.

Our Building Glass division diversified its product range to introduce the O’Brien Lock Service.

The first ever TV advertising campaign was launched in 1983. This marked the beginning of a range of quirky, yet memorable ads to grace Australian TV (and became part of advertising folklore for those that grew up in this decade). By this time, we were sourcing more than twenty thousand tonnes of glass annually for our automotive business and we solidified our presence across the country by opening branches nationwide.

By the end of the decade, we also reached several significant milestones, including:

  • 60 years of operations,
  • 1000+ employees, and
  • Manufacturing our millionth windscreen.


The 1990s: A branding and advertising focus.

As the 20th century ended, we continued our upward trajectory.

We continued to achieve record sales growth and in 1996, we launched a new TV advertising campaign for Windscreens O’Brien, showcasing our side and rear vehicle glass replacement expertise, together with our convenient mobile service.

We also refreshed our logo during the 90s, incorporating the distinctive Belron red and yellow symbol, and began to place an increasing emphasis on our customer service – a trait which we are still recognised and applauded for today.


The 2000s: “O’O’O’ O’Brien®”.

After the turn of the century, our windscreen and glazing divisions united under one brand: O’Brien®.

We introduced a new fleet of vehicles across the nation, revitalised our branch signage and forwarded our focus on technical expertise with the establishment of the Technical Training Centre of Excellence for our Auto division.

Then, in April 2005, the iconic O’O’O’ jingle was registered, becoming synonymous with the O’Brien® brand you know today.


The 2010s: advanced tech and service expansion.

The 2010s brought significant advancements in global automotive technology and we introduced best-practice tools like the Glass Medic Repair Kit and 1-Tek®. A formidable partnership with Bosch was formed and O’Brien® launched an Australian first for the automotive industry, our Cal-Tech® ADAS Recalibration service.

Our TV commercials continued to highlight our care and expertise and featured Mark, and our customer surveys were moved online as we embraced the digital future, sought greater convenience, and enhanced our customer’s experience with a new design for our branches.

In 2018, we acquired Laser Plumbing & Electrical, further expanding our service offering to our customers.


The 2020s: doubling down on advanced tech.

The 2020s brought a tumultuous time with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as we did during the 1940s, we adapted and persevered.

With the increasing demand for our Cal-Tech® Recalibration services, we strategically expanded our O’Brien® AutoGlass branch locations right across the country and continued to advance our service by introducing the Advanced Repair Technology (ART) Chip Repair Kits and remote headsets for Cal-Tech®.

From 2020, the first of our Electrical and Plumbing franchisee members took up the opportunity to brand as O’Brien Electrical & Plumbing.

Our iconic O’O’O’ jingle gained renewed focus with its familiar sound played across TV, radio, and digital advertising, reaching an estimated 200M+ jingles heard each year.


2024: O’Brien turns 100!

In late February 2024, O’Brien® turned 100!

And while we’ve grown and changed significantly over the years, one thing we are proud of: O’Brien® is committed to the highest standards of quality service.

We’re excited to celebrate a century’s worth of experience, expertise, passion for customer service and pride in our workmanship, but we will never get complacent.

We know that the key to our success and growth over the decades has been the pride we take in our expertise, the quality of our workmanship and our dedication to providing first-class service to every customer.

In 2024, as for the last century, we’re committed to solving your problems with real care whenever you need us, as our leadership team expertly steers our company towards new horizons.


Get in touch with your local O’Brien® experts for vehicle glass, glazing, electrical or plumbing services here.

At O’Brien®, solving your problems is what we do.

Nothing is more satisfying to us than delivering the high-quality service you need with genuine care and expert support.

From vehicle glass, and home and commercial glass to electrical and plumbing services, our O’Brien® team is here for you.

So, call us today or find your nearest expert.

For more images from our history, click here.


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We'd love to help you, but unfortunately cannot assist with:

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