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Biltmore Hats: Post-War Production to 2011

From the War to the End

Bonnie Durtnall 0 1224 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. The company survived the Great Depression and moved optimistically into the Post-War era.  The 1960s and early 1970s were rough, but by the end, Biltmore had found new markets. Yet, as the century ground to an end, Biltmore was once again experiencing troubles. Although it tried, it was not able to make it. It was closed for good in 2011.

Biltmore Hats: The 1930s and 1940s

Biltmore Hats from the 1930s into the 1970s

Bonnie Durtnall 0 1227 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.  Through perseverance, the company made it through the Great Depression and beyond the war years. It was not to close until  2011.

Biltmore Hats: A Major Part of Guelph's Industrial History: From Beginnings to 1930

Bonnie Durtnall 0 1224 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 1060 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. 

The Rise And Fall of Gilson Manufacturing Company Ltd.

Bonnie Durtnall 0 1332 Article rating: No rating

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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The New Idea Spreader Company: Making Manure Spreading Easier

Joseph Oppenheim (1859-1901), a schoolmaster in Maria Stein, Ohio invented  the first modern “widespreading” manure spreader. Locally, it was referred to as “Oppenheim’s new idea.” The name was adopted and the New Idea Spreader Company was born.

Oppenheim died in 1901. His wife, Maria, took charge and aided in this by her eldest son, B.C. Oppenheim, and one of the company’s original employees, and co-inventor, Henry Synck ensured the success of the company. By 1916, the New Idea Spreader had branches in eight states as well as a factory or assembly plant in Guelph.

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