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Making a Clean Sweep: Guelph's Broom Making Industry

Bonnie Durtnall 0 374 Article rating: No rating

Brooms were an essential tool for Guelph’s housewives. Shopkeepers, hotel operators and other service and retail personnel also needed them to sweep floors, the sidewalks in front of their shops and for general cleaning purposes. Unless they could afford to import them from elsewhere, Guelphites purchased and used locally-made brooms.  From its founding in 1827, Guelph provided employment for several small shops during the 1800s. Most were small cottage industries. Like boot and shoe makers, those who worked in this trade tended to work out of their homes.

In the same fashion as many crafts and trades, technology was to negatively impact these small operations. Indeed, the arrival of broom factories was to reduce the need for many of the independent shops. Later, with improved transportation and shipping, the favour was returned as local broom factories succumbed to cheaper imported brooms.

Brewing Beer In Guelph: Early Breweries

Bonnie Durtnall 0 388 Article rating: No rating

Beer and ale were important to early and even later settlers. Many innkeepers produced it on site – small batches of a select brew they could sell in their hotels/inns. Later, brewers produced product to be consumed and sold to local businesses, including taverns and hotels. These were often small cottage industries.

Guelph had several breweries. The most celebrated of these were Sleeman’s and Holiday’s.  However, these two well-known companies were not the first or the only breweries producing beer and liquor to slake the thirst of Guelphites. Before their arrival, four men and their breweries played prominent roles in providing beer and ale for locals. Two: Hodgert and Harland, were also responsible for giving Guelph's future brewers both the skills they required and/or the facilities they needed to make their own brewing ventures successful ones.

Federal Wire and Cable: Wiring the World Part II

Bonnie Durtnall 0 406 Article rating: 2.0

In 1919, Live Wire, a branch of an American company, moved into the basement of a building on Metcalfe Street at that point housing Partridge Rubber. The founder, John Godfrey Smith, hired 6 employees to begin with. Their product was insulated wires and cables.

Here, they were to remain growing their product base and slowly increasing the number of employees. After several years, they relocated to Dublin street north, renting the space from Guelph Carriage Top. By 1926, they had doubled their staff. A year later, with John Kennedy as company president, they had changed their name. Live Wire was now to be known as Federal Wire and Cable -although the name did not legally change until October 21, 1929.

Federal Wire And Cable: Wiring the World: Part I

Bonnie Durtnall 0 391 Article rating: No rating

In 1919, Live Wire, a branch of an American company, moved into the basement of a building on Metcalfe (Huron) Street at that point housing Partridge Rubber. The founder, John Godfrey Smith, hired 6 employees to begin with. Their product was insulated wires and cables.

Here, they were to remain growing their product base and slowly increasing the number of employees. By 1926, they had doubled their staff. A year later, with John Kennedy as company president, they had changed their name. Live Wire was now to be known as Federal Wire and Cable . 

Sole Work: Guelph Boot And Shoe Manufacturers: Part 2

Bonnie Durtnall 0 365 Article rating: No rating

Originally, the making of boots and shoes was a craft requiring great skill and training. Like blacksmiths shoemakers had to go through an apprentice system. Shoemakers cut and stitched the leather - usually obtained from a tannery,  in their shops often their homes or an attached small shed/shop. A basic wooden form, called a last, helped to mould the shoe or boot into the proper shape.

Everyone in town would have known where to find a shoe or boot maker. In 1851, a directory lists around 8 boot/shoe makers in Guelph. In 1867, the number had grown to at least 24. This number of independent boot and shoemakers was to shrink as technology reduced the need for their skills.

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Thomas Worswick: Brown Engine Specialist

Guelph has several companies that have vanished in mind as well as time. Among the forgotten ones is a firm that produced fine engines, including the Brown Steam Engine. Although originally a partnership, Arms & Worswick soon became the sole property of one man, Thomas Worswick - one of Guelph's most prominent engineers.
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