Original 1950's CASCADE Logo!

FOLLOWING founder Larry Ogden's six years working with Cascade in the UK Europe and USA between 1965 - 1971Cascade New Zealand started building home swimming pools in October in 1971

Ed Gorman 1970

Original Founder: 1951 - Ed Gorman (1918 - 1989)
Cascade Industries Incorporated (U.S.A.)
Founding President & CEO 1951 - 1975 Ed & Norma Gorman

"In Post War 1949 we had a huge bunch of consumers who wanted the good life. Concrete pools were so expensive only the rich could afford them. In 1951 a Cascade pool could be sold for $995 ex factory ( + 5% War Tax) as a "Do it yourself" project ...everybody could have one of these and orders could also be placed through the Sears Roebuck Catalog of 1952. We started signing up Dealers and installing pools in New Jersey and a top favourite was the 15 x 30 foot kidney shaped "Capri" - it sold for $1,495 installed. In 1954 We started [selling through] the Spiegel Mail Order Catalog and Spiegel flew their team out to watch us put a pool together in just a couple of days. They were so excited about it, they sold 58 in the first year. Hey, an extra 58 pools was a lot for us in those days. We introduced the Steel Wall Pool "Islander Range" in the early 1960's and through (Export Manager) Ted Barrie, you could now buy a CASCADE pool in 28 countries world-wide!"

Cascade people that I remember from the 1960's: Ed Gorman (Cascade Partner/ Ray Westdyke Pools NJ with Norma Westdyke/Gorman) Bob West (US Engineer/designer) Charlie Adams (US Dealer Manager) Ted Barrie (US based International Sales Manager & wife Mikki BArrie) Sam Gold (UK General Manager, wife Vera Gold) Cyril Slater (UK Warehouseman) Robert (Bob) Smith (UK Pool Installer)

Click Here to read Nov. 1967 POOL NEWSThe History of Swimming Pools in the USA
Story: Rebecca Robledo
(edited for brevity/expanded for content)

Thanks to the introduction of Gunite and hand-packing concrete, the price of residential swimming pools plummeted between the mid 1940s and late 1950s, but they continued to remain out of reach for many homeowners in the Northeast and Midwest, where harsh weather conditions necessitated more expensive construction.

Several pioneering manufacturers reached out to the new middle class by producing and packaging easy-to-install wall systems with all the necessary components. As an added benefit, this method of installation required fewer men and a simpler building process than any in-ground pool to date. The first company to offer such a package, Cascade Industries, opened its doors in 1951. The company offered three sizes: 12 by 27 feet, 16 by 34 feet and 24 by 40 feet, all with depths starting at 3 feet and sloping down to 7 or 8 feet. The use of concrete blocks for the walls, however, did result in one problem: The non-standard size of blocks mean the pool could be as much as 6 inches off the original plans - meaning the pool liner would not fit.

These early packages did present their share of problems: The filters cost extra, and the fittings and drains used for concrete pools didn't work. Cascade's founders soon looked to the boating industry for components that could be adapted to vinyl-liner pools.

To popularize the availibility of home swimming pools, Cascade formed commercial arrangements with popular swimming champion of the day, Larry (Buster) Crabbe (Olympic Gold Medallist) and young USA Swimming Champion (and MGM movie star) Esther Williams, who lent her famous name to a range of home swimming pools.

Within a few years, Cascade and Esther Willams
Pools (under License to Esther) began offering pools with walls made of relatively new products: Aluminum, Galvanised Steel and Pressure-treated Wood. Cascade offered its 16 x 32 foot wood-walled model through the 1954 Spiegel catalog. The package contained panels, lumber bracing, liner, coping, a tank for filtration, four gate valves, 70 feet of 1 -inch pipe and 40 feet of 1-1/4-inch pipe, plus fittings, instructions and a layout kit. It sold for $995.00 plus the retained war years Federal Tax of 5%. Soon after this, Heldor Industries came out with a poured-concrete/vinyl liner package pool.

Esther - under the banner "Esther Williams Pools" was soon to follow in 1956 with her concrete-block package vinyl liner pools. The floors were finished with sand before crews placed the 20mil (.500mm) liners over the structure. The coping had no track-and-beading system to hold the liner in place, so builders wrapped the liner around the pool top.

(left) Esther in Canada Dry ginger ale magazine ad c.1947

Larry (Buster) Crabb was a well-known swimming figurehead in the USA - representing the USA in both the 1928 -and- 1932 Olympics, winning GOLD for 400m freestyle at the 1932 games. New Zealanders over 50 yrs old may remember his role as FLASH GORDON in the Saturday Morning three-penny picture-house serials


After acting or starring in 102 "flicks" - many of them "Westerns", Buster retired from the movies in 1949 to go into the swimming pool fultime business with CASCADE - promoting his "Buster Crabbe" line of Cascade swimming pools.

Over the ensuing 30 years - until his death on 23 April 1983, Buster was active in the promotion of CASCADE pools - spending many hours at shopping mall promotions, and static displays at exhibitions, and in his "spare" time, Buster devoted his time to promoting health and exercise at one of his many Christian Youth Camps in NY State.

He married only once - to Virginia - and that lasted until his death over 50 years later!


In the early 1960's, CASCADE INC - mainly due to the the determination of Sales VP SeymourTheodore (Ted) Barrie - expanded into overseas countries. Japan, and the Phillipines in the west, and United Kingdom and Europe in the east.

By the late 1960's you could buy a CASCADE "Buster Crabbe" pool in 28 countries - and you could guarantee the quality would be the same wherever you were located. Dealerships were commenced in England, Ireland, Channel Islands, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Malta. Cascade held regular Dealer Seminars, The CASCADE family expanded to New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Region in the 1970's becoming truly a GLOBAL COMPANY. In New Zealand "CASCADE" has become a household name for swimming pools proudly produced by Cascade Industries.


In the new millennium, the majority of inground vinyl-liner pools in the USA and New Zealand have the tough galvsteel wall systems, and time has proven that these seem to have excellent lasting and durability qualities, nearly 50 years on.

The introduction of the ULTIMATE pool in 2002 (a new design by Larry Ogden) is the first major update of the Cascade system.

Click Here for larger view

 Ester Williams Biography

An Autobiography
By Esther Williams
Simon & Schuster, 1999 (320 pages, $26.00)
Hardcover, ISBN: 0-684-85284-5

 "Over the years since 1954 - CASCADE pools have achieved a total of 34 US Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals, and Awards for Excellence of Design and Construction, and Cascade New Zealand has collected more than 11 Awards from the Australasian Pool Industry"
E&OE -Informatio from a bygone era, to the best of my recollection. LE Ogden January 2008







Counter re-set 15.01.2010