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F.E. Partridge Rubber Company: Changing The Face Of the Retail Tire Market

Bonnie Durtnall 0 762 Article rating: 5.0

In 1916, rubber tires were becoming essential for both bicycles and automobiles. Companies sprung up to respond to the increasing demand for these products. In Guelph, while several companies began to produce rubber tires, only one remained in operation for several years. This was the F.E. Partridge Rubber Company. It was to leave a lasting imprint on the tire industry when it made the decision to retail its tires in hardware and harness shops. This introduced a way for small tire companies to expand their market while offering offering several retailers a new lease in life. 

Vulcanization: Guelph's Tire Manufacturers

Bonnie Durtnall 0 441 Article rating: No rating
Guelph was quick to embrace the automotive craze of the early 20th century. Although it never did manage to produce automobiles, it did more than satisfactory in manufacturing a variety of car components – a trend that continues today. However, in the early 19th century, where it increased factory size and employment was in the production of tires. Several tire companies were created to meet the needs of the  growing automotive industry. Interestingly enough all set up their shop in the same structure on Metcalfe (Huron) Street.

For The Love Of Cars: Guelph's Automotive Industry

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In the 19th century, Canada began to produce automobiles. The first Canadian-made vehicle was steam-propelled. This was the famous Taylor Steam Buggy built by Henry Seth Taylor in Stanstead Quebec. It was seen crashing around the Eastern Townships in 1867, clearly marking Canadian confederation. And crashing is the right word. The car suffered from a problem. Taylor had failed to include brakes in his design.

Guelph flirted with car production with the Gilson and Jules 30. The manufacturers were more serious and showed greater longevity when it came to tire production and the manufacturing of automotive components.

The Guelph Soap Company: Over A Hundred Years Of Production

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In early Guelph, as with most pioneer communities, soap tended to be made at home. However, for many women who were brought up to believe a lady’s hands should be soft, home made soap was not desirable. Bought soap – particularly imported French soaps, were the answer.  With more goods available and an increasingly urban society, store-bought soaps (among other items) became increasingly common. The entire supply chain was shortened even further when a Guelph manufactory  the Guelph Soap Company or Guelph Soap Works began to produce soap.

Goes Like Sixty: Gilson

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Townhouses are being built on the land at 249 York Road between Morris and Huron Streets. Beyond the tracks that subdivides the land is a parking lot. This property was once home to the Gilson Manufacturing Co. From 1906 to 1977, the plant produced a variety of items beginning with gas engines and ending up with a full line of washers and freezers. During its long life, it went from being a minor Canadian subsidiary of an American Firm - the Gilson Manufacturing Co. of Port Washington, Wisconsin, launched in 1850 by Theodore Gilson, to being a nationally recognized Canadian owned and operated company.
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No Relief From Relief: The Great Depression In Guelph

During the last few years of the 1920s, Guelphites were beginning to feel quite optimistic. After the post-war slump, the economy was turning around. Companies were hiring and workers were regaining much of what they had lost. Then, on October 29, 1929, came the crash plunging employers and employees alike into a new economic reality.

One year later, 400,000 Canadians were out of work. Wages were cut and those employed had to live on less pay. Businesses retrenched and the labour movement was brought to a temporary standstill. All levels of Government, attempted to curtail the downward spiral. They instituted various Relief Programs, including Relief Camps, Relief Settlements, Relief Gangs and Relief distribution. Truly, during the 1930s, there was no relief from Relief.

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