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Sole Work: Guelph Boot And Shoe Manufacturers: Part 1

Bonnie Durtnall 0 379 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.

Blacksmiths: The Most Important Tradesmen in Town Part 2

The Decline of the Blacksmith

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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. However, as technology developed and urbanization increased, his role decreased substantially.

Blacksmiths: The Most Important Craftsmen in Town Part I

Bonnie Durtnall 0 389 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 0 414 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 0 385 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.
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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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