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H. A. Clemens Planing Company

Bonnie Durtnall 0 351 Article rating: No rating

Guelph had several planing and lumber mills in the late 18th and early 19th century. These included the Guelph Lumber Company, Knight's and Robert Stewart's.  Among the lesser known companies was H. A. Clemens Planing Mill. It started off as the Electric Planing Mill in 1894. It was then owned and operated jointly by Herbert Clemens and Louis Wideman. In around 1898, Clemens became sole owner. He operated his company until it went into assignment in 1910.

Chemical Companies: Spills And Takeovers But No Thrills

Bonnie Durtnall 0 540 Article rating: No rating

Guelph had become known for its piano and sewing machine companies, foundries, woollen mills and hardware manufacturers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its textiles and clothing companies also made their presence felt. However, Guelph also entered into the less commonly touted chemical industry with E.C. McFarland. 

This was the only chemical company located in the downtown core. Fielding Chemical chose to establish its business somewhat outside – on Perth and Norwich, while Hart Chemicals moved into premises on Victoria Road.

Making Cigars In Guelph

Bonnie Durtnall 0 387 Article rating: No rating
Cigar manufacturing was never a large industrial concern in Guelph in its early years. Imperial Tobacco with its extensive plant and large workforce did not arrive until 1959. The small shops that operated in the city until the end of World War II, rarely employed more 50. In general, they hired between 20 and 50 workers, some part time.  The staff usually consisted of women and youths. They were hired them because of their so-called “nimble fingers,” and, of course, the lower wages employers could pay them. This was common among many industries.

Caleb Chase: Reeve, Mayor And Carriage Maker

Bonnie Durtnall 0 381 Article rating: No rating
Caleb Chase (1838-1903) is recognized by Guelph political historians as one of the city’s mayors. In fact, he was elected to serve the 1863-1864 term replacing George Sleeman. However, Chase was also a tradesman and entrepreneur. He became involved in several enterprises but his best-known venture was his wagon/carriage shop on Woolwich Street.
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The Guelph Soap Company: Over A Hundred Years Of Production

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.

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For The Love Of Cars: Guelph's Automotive Industry

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.

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Vulcanization: Guelph's Tire Manufacturers

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.
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