The Crisp and Gunn business was founded in 1886 by Frederick H. Crisp, one of the sons of George Crisp who was a timber merchant in partnership with his father Samuel Crisp and later his brother, Alfred. Frederick Crisp built a saw-mill and offices in Melville Street, Hobart. He also had a saw-mill at Ida Bay for local timber. In addition he imported timber from the Baltic and America, and kauri pine from New Zealand and cedar from Queensland. It appears from advertisements that about 1903 or 1904 he merged with Ernest Crisp, the remaining partner of the original Crisp Brothers business founded by his grandfather. About 1908 or 1909 he took Frank Gunn into partnership. The firm supplied cut lengths of various timbers and prepared mouldings, flooring, hand rails, beading, shingles, palings, weather boards, etc. to contractors, builders and individual purchasers in and around Hobart and as far as Franklin, Kelly Basin (West Coast), Swansea and Macquarie Plains.