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Federal Wire And Cable: Wiring the World: Part I

Bonnie Durtnall 0 195 Article rating: No rating

In 1919, Live Wire, a branch of an American company, moved into the basement of a building on Metcalfe (Huron) Street at that point housing Partridge Rubber. The founder, John Godfrey Smith, hired 6 employees to begin with. Their product was insulated wires and cables.

Here, they were to remain growing their product base and slowly increasing the number of employees. By 1926, they had doubled their staff. A year later, with John Kennedy as company president, they had changed their name. Live Wire was now to be known as Federal Wire and Cable . 

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Sole Work: Guelph Boot And Shoe Manufacturers: Part 1

Originally, the making of boots and shoes was a craft requiring great skill and training. Like blacksmiths shoemakers had to go through an apprentice system. Shoemakers cut and stitched the leather - usually obtained from a tannery,  in their shops often their homes or an attached small shed/shop. A basic wooden form, called a last, helped to mould the shoe or boot into the proper shape.

Everyone in town would have known where to find a shoe or boot maker. In 1851, a directory lists around 8 boot/shoe makers in Guelph. In 1867, the number had grown to at least 24. This number of independent boot and shoemakers was to shrink as technology reduced the need for their skills.

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Sole Work: Guelph Boot And Shoe Manufacturers: Part 2

Originally, the making of boots and shoes was a craft requiring great skill and training. Like blacksmiths shoemakers had to go through an apprentice system. Shoemakers cut and stitched the leather - usually obtained from a tannery,  in their shops often their homes or an attached small shed/shop. A basic wooden form, called a last, helped to mould the shoe or boot into the proper shape.

Everyone in town would have known where to find a shoe or boot maker. In 1851, a directory lists around 8 boot/shoe makers in Guelph. In 1867, the number had grown to at least 24. This number of independent boot and shoemakers was to shrink as technology reduced the need for their skills.

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Federal Wire And Cable: Wiring the World: Part I

In 1919, Live Wire, a branch of an American company, moved into the basement of a building on Metcalfe (Huron) Street at that point housing Partridge Rubber. The founder, John Godfrey Smith, hired 6 employees to begin with. Their product was insulated wires and cables.

Here, they were to remain growing their product base and slowly increasing the number of employees. By 1926, they had doubled their staff. A year later, with John Kennedy as company president, they had changed their name. Live Wire was now to be known as Federal Wire and Cable . 

Read more
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Federal Wire and Cable: Wiring the World Part II

In 1919, Live Wire, a branch of an American company, moved into the basement of a building on Metcalfe Street at that point housing Partridge Rubber. The founder, John Godfrey Smith, hired 6 employees to begin with. Their product was insulated wires and cables.

Here, they were to remain growing their product base and slowly increasing the number of employees. After several years, they relocated to Dublin street north, renting the space from Guelph Carriage Top. By 1926, they had doubled their staff. A year later, with John Kennedy as company president, they had changed their name. Live Wire was now to be known as Federal Wire and Cable -although the name did not legally change until October 21, 1929.

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Brewing Beer In Guelph: Early Breweries

Beer and ale were important to early and even later settlers. Many innkeepers produced it on site – small batches of a select brew they could sell in their hotels/inns. Later, brewers produced product to be consumed and sold to local businesses, including taverns and hotels. These were often small cottage industries.

Guelph had several breweries. The most celebrated of these were Sleeman’s and Holiday’s.  However, these two well-known companies were not the first or the only breweries producing beer and liquor to slake the thirst of Guelphites. Before their arrival, four men and their breweries played prominent roles in providing beer and ale for locals. Two: Hodgert and Harland, were also responsible for giving Guelph's future brewers both the skills they required and/or the facilities they needed to make their own brewing ventures successful ones.

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Making a Clean Sweep: Guelph's Broom Making Industry

Brooms were an essential tool for Guelph’s housewives. Shopkeepers, hotel operators and other service and retail personnel also needed them to sweep floors, the sidewalks in front of their shops and for general cleaning purposes. Unless they could afford to import them from elsewhere, Guelphites purchased and used locally-made brooms.  From its founding in 1827, Guelph provided employment for several small shops during the 1800s. Most were small cottage industries. Like boot and shoe makers, those who worked in this trade tended to work out of their homes.

In the same fashion as many crafts and trades, technology was to negatively impact these small operations. Indeed, the arrival of broom factories was to reduce the need for many of the independent shops. Later, with improved transportation and shipping, the favour was returned as local broom factories succumbed to cheaper imported brooms.

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Making Furniture In Guelph: The Burr Brothers

In 1872, Burr and Skinner operated a furniture factory in a newly constructed 2-storey building on the north side of Oxford. With a workforce of between They manufactured a variety of furniture including bed frames. The business did well, expanding in size b in 1880, 1882 and 1886. 

The company mainly relied on an Ontario market but produced fine furniture that found buyers from Halifax to Vancouver. Burr Brothers Furniture Company remained active until 1901. It was then bought by a conglomerate - Canadian Furniture Manufacturing, Ltd. They remained in Guelph until 1911 when they closed the factory.

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Burrow Brothers Royal Carpet

The Royal Carpet Factory operated in Guelph in a few locations starting off with 15 employees in a shop at the corner of Gordon and Essex Streets. At least two Burrows were involved at this time: Alvin and Harry. The company relocated later that year to part of Allan’s Mill. However, the factory location best remembered was at the corner of Norfolk and Paisley where Market Fresh currently stands.

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Keeping It In The Family: The Callander Foundry And Manufacturing Company

In 1915, Alex Callander, age 55, left the Taylor-Forbes Company with plans to set up his own foundry business. In 1916, together with five of his six sons, a silent financial partner and a relative - Hugh B. Callander, he opened the Callander and Manufacturing Company, Ltd. On Crimea Street. It was to remain a viable concern right up until it was sold to Rockwell in 1953.
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The Canada Ingot Iron Company: Surviving For More Than a Century

n 1908, Robert William Gladstone (1879-1951), Henry Burton Sharman (1865-1953) and John N. Lyon of Manitoba, combined forces to form the Ontario Metal Culvert Company. Based in Guelph, this company was to metamorphose into, first an American branch plant of the American Rolling Mill Company (later Armco) called Canada Ingot Iron Company in 1915, in 1931 to Armco Drainage and Metal Products and, in 1946, into Armco Canada Ltd. The company became one of the oldest producers of corrugated galvanized metal culverts and pipes as well as road equipment in Canada.
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Victor Canham And Company: Guelph's Hanger King

Guelph has many companies that remain a footnote in its history. While Raymond Sewing Machine Company, and Bell Organ and Piano Company are names people recognize, V.H. Canham & Company is not. In fact, the company’s contributions are forgotten except by those who recognize his genius in creating common domestic products. In other words, Canham made products that housewives and small business owners could use to make their work easier.
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