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Blacksmiths: The Most Important Craftsmen in Town Part I

Bonnie Durtnall 0 291 Article rating: No rating

When Master Blacksmith John Owen Lynch (1793-1860) arrived from New York in Guelph in 1827, he was facing a considerable challenge. This was a pioneer community. As the only blacksmith, he was expected to help John Galt fulfill his plans to create a thriving community in this wilderness.

There is no doubt that the blacksmith was an extremely important individual in any early settlement. He was the proverbial and indispensable jack-of-all-trades. While farmers took care of their own tools to an extent, it was the blacksmith who was educated in making and repairing these same tools to a higher standard.

Biltmore Hats: Part III

The 1970s: The Beginning of the End

Bonnie Durtnall 0 303 Article rating: No rating
In 1917, Fried Grill Hats arrived in Guelph. Their owners, John Fried and Mr. Grills had previously operated out of Niagara Falls and Toronto. By 1919, the company had settled in premises located at 154 Suffolk Street. Thirty hands were at work producing various types of hats. A year later, they sold the business at the price of $45,000 to be paid over 6 years. This was the beginning of one of Guelph's longest operating companies - Biltmore Hats.  It was not to close until  2011.

Biltmore Hats: Part II

Biltmore Hats from the 1930s into the 1970s

Bonnie Durtnall 0 276 Article rating: No rating
In 1917, Fried Grill Hats arrived in Guelph. Their owners, John Fried and Mr. Grills had previously operated out of Niagara Falls and Toronto. By 1919, the company had settled in premises located at 154 Suffolk Street. Thirty hands were at work producing various types of hats. A year later, they sold the business at the price of $45,000 to be paid over 6 years. This was the beginning of one of Guelph's longest operating companies - Biltmore Hats.  It was not to close until  2011.

Biltmore Hats: A Major Part of Guelph's Industrial History: Part 1

Bonnie Durtnall 0 322 Article rating: No rating

In 1917, Fried Grill Hats arrived in Guelph. Their owners, John Fried and Mr. Grills had previously operated out of Niagara Falls and Toronto. By 1919, the company had settled in premises located at 154 Suffolk Street. Thirty hands were at work producing various types of hats. A year later, they sold the business at the price of $45,000 to be paid over 6 years. This was the beginning of one of Guelph's longest operating companies - Biltmore Hats.  It was not to close until  2011.

Keeping In Tune: The Bell Organ and Piano Company

Bonnie Durtnall 0 343 Article rating: No rating

Bell Organ and piano were once one of the largest employers in Guelph. Founded in 1864, they remained a viable concern until they were finally closed in 1934. In fact, Bell pianos were found in parlours around the world. Queen Victoria was the proud owner of one of their models. The employees suffered a variety of blade-related accidents common to factories where machinery was not guarded. This lead to the formation of the Piano Workers' Union in 1902 - the first of its kind in Canada. 

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Chemical Companies: Spills And Takeovers But No Thrills

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.

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H. A. Clemens Planing Company

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.

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