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.
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.