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We Cover The Floor: Guelph Carpet

Sold: Not Once but Thrice

Bonnie Durtnall 0 286 Article rating: No rating

Early Guelph offered something many companies could use – water power. It was particularly conducive for the operation of mills – not simply grist mills but woollen and carpet mills as well. Situated in the area referred to as the mill-lands, Guelph Carpet took advantage of whatever power the river could provide to produce its product. For at least a century, under diverse managers, owners and names, it rose to be a one of the largest carpet and yarn companies in Canada. 

We Cover The Floor: Guelph Carpet

Early Owners/Managers

Bonnie Durtnall 0 262 Article rating: No rating
Early Guelph offered something many companies could use – water power. It was particularly conducive for the operation of mills – not simply grist mills but woollen and carpet mills as well. Situated in the area referred to as the mill-lands, Guelph Carpet took advantage of whatever power the river could provide to produce its product. 

Over the century it was in existence, the company rose to be the second largest facility in its line, employing as many as 600 Guelphites in the production of carpets and yarn.

We Cover The Floor: Guelph Carpet Factory - Origins

Bonnie Durtnall 0 477 Article rating: No rating
Early Guelph offered something many companies could use – water power. It was particularly conducive for the operation of mills – not simply grist mills but woollen and carpet mills as well. Situated in the area referred to as the mill-lands, Guelph Carpet took advantage of whatever power the river could provide to produce its product. 

Over the century it was in existence, it rose to be the second largest facility in its line, employing as many as 600 Guelphites in the production of carpets and yarn.

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Burrow Brothers Royal Carpet

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.

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

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

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.
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Victor Canham And Company: Guelph's Hanger King

Guelph has many companies that remain a footnote in its history. While Raymond Sewing Machine Company, and Bell Organ and Piano Company are names people recognize, V.H. Canham & Company is not. In fact, the company’s contributions are forgotten except by those who recognize his genius in creating common domestic products. In other words, Canham made products that housewives and small business owners could use to make their work easier.
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Guelph Carpet and Pattern Manufacturers

Carpet manufacturers have played a role in creating and boosting the economy and profile of Guelph. They have been small, medium and large enterprises. Some, such as the Guelph Carpet and Worsted Spinning Mill were extensive in facilities and employed many Guelphites. Others, such as Clark and Thompson, were small companies that existed only a brief time as carpet makers before changing fields. Clark and Thompson became a dry goods retail store.

No matter what the size, the early carpet manufacturers worked most frequently, if not exclusively, with wool. The size of their work force and their market was also variable. The same applies to what was to change this industry, like so many others - mechanisation and the deskilling of the crafts. 

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JB Armstrong And Family: From Carriages to Automobiles

Carriages were the main form of transport for individuals and businesses alike in Guelph during the 1800s. Blacksmiths were responsible for the horses that pulled them. They also made repairs to the carriages, wagons and carts used for carting goods and conveying people in, around and out of Guelph. Among them, the Sallows family remains the most recognized for their work in this trade. They had a large shop at the corner of Gordon.

However, blacksmiths did not make carriages. In Guelph, this trade fell to several individuals. Those who had shops included Charles H. Thain – who is better known for his agricultural equipment and Robert Anderson. However, the most prominent and successful Guelphite in this competitive trade was J. B. Armstrong, son of Robert Armstrong.

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Carriages And Wagons: From Minor Repair Work To Manufacturing

Along with Blacksmiths, carriage and wagon makers and repairers played a significant role in the development of Ontario, physically and economically. Until the arrival of first the railway and then the automobile, wagons and carriages were the main mode of transportation. They not only carried people from one point to another, they also conveyed various types of supplies and goods, including those for retailers. Until the railway made shipping goods faster and more practical, wagons fulfilled this essential role in any community, including Guelph. T

o service this need, Guelph not only had blacksmiths and wainwrights but also carriage/wagon manufacturers.

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Samuel Carter And The Royal Knitting Company

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.
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