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 (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.
When it comes to burial, the choices have always varied. This is also true with the type of vessels chosen to hold the remains of the deceased. Cultural norms and personal preferences play a significant role in selecting the right container. In North America, two common types used for ground burials are coffins and caskets. Although sometimes used interchangeably, they differ in shape and perception.
In Guelph, coffin makers tended to be cabinet makers or carpenters during the early to late 19th century. Later, as funeral directors emerged, caskets became the popular term for burial boxes. Mechanization also came into play together. The result was casket making companies such as the (New) Dominion Casket Company and the Guelph Casket Works.
Guelph has been home to various textile factories. Carter’s Royal Knitting Company, Zephyr Looms and Cartledge’s Knitting Company are a few examples. The Cartledge Knitting Company appeared at about the same time as Carter’s. It, too, was a cottage industry, located in the back of what was one of the oldest houses when it was torn down in 1956. The actual shop behind 27 Quebec Street was, unlike Carter’s a family-operated industry. John (Joseph) Cartledge was to provide the basic training and introduce the skills to his son, Joseph S. Cartledge that was to give him what he needed to take the next step - founding his own business: the specialized and unique Guelph Elastic Hosiery
Samuel Carter (1860 – 1944) arrived in Guelph in 1882 after spending about a year-and-a-half in Philadelphia. He had been born in Ruddington in Nottinghamshire, England, a village where the main industry was hosiery. After a brief time boarding in a hotel, he settled on a cottage on 60 Manitoba Street in St. Patrick’s Ward joining forces with a partner whose name may have been Greenside or Grenside. This stone building was to act as a small-scale hosiery knitting mill from 1883 until around 1894/95. This was the start of what was to become known as the Royal Knitting Company.