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The Canada Ingot Iron Company: Surviving For More Than a Century

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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.

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

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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.

Burrow Brothers Royal Carpet

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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.

Making Furniture In Guelph: The Burr Brothers

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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.

Making a Clean Sweep: Guelph's Broom Making Industry

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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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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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