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For The Love Of Cars: Guelph's Automotive Industry

Bonnie Durtnall 0 669 Article rating: No rating
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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I Want to Ride My Bicycle: The History of Bicycles in 19th and Early 20th century Guelph

The late 1800s saw the emergence of a bicycle craze across Canada. The invention of the "Safety Bike" was partially responsible for the renewed popularity in this form of transportation. Guelphites became a part of this fad. The Middle and Upper classes established a cycling club. Small shops and individuals manufactured bicycles and made repairs. Bike gear was available for men and women - the latter taking to this new mode of transportation with a passion.. 

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The Guelph Carriage Top Company: 1879 to 1923

At the corner of Dublin and Norfolk, once stood the Guelph Carriage Top Company. Also known as the Guelph Buggy Top Factory it managed to transition from buggies to automobiles. with a small workforce, including a woman mechanic during its early years, to produced quality products shipped nationally and even globally. 

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