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Goes Like Sixty: Gilson

Bonnie Durtnall 0 690 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.

H. A. Clemens Planing Company

Bonnie Durtnall 0 901 Article rating: No rating

Guelph had several planing and lumber mills in the late 18th and early 19th century. These included the Guelph Lumber Company, Knight's and Robert Stewart's.  Among the lesser known companies was H. A. Clemens Planing Mill. It started off as the Electric Planing Mill in 1894. It was then owned and operated jointly by Herbert Clemens and Louis Wideman. In around 1898, Clemens became sole owner. He operated his company until it went into assignment in 1910.

Chemical Companies: Spills And Takeovers But No Thrills

Bonnie Durtnall 0 1104 Article rating: No rating

Guelph had become known for its piano and sewing machine companies, foundries, woollen mills and hardware manufacturers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its textiles and clothing companies also made their presence felt. However, Guelph also entered into the less commonly touted chemical industry with E.C. McFarland. 

This was the only chemical company located in the downtown core. Fielding Chemical chose to establish its business somewhat outside – on Perth and Norwich, while Hart Chemicals moved into premises on Victoria Road.

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Libby, McNeill and Libby: Guelph's Other Pickle Factory

When people in Guelph talk about the “Pickle Factory,” they are referring to the Matthews-Wells factory - once located at Victoria and York. It opened in 1938 and closed in 1968. This was where many young men and women had their first job – often as summer employment.

However, Matthews-Wells was not Guelph’s first “pickle factory. Over two decades before, in 1914, Libby, McNeill and Libby founded in Chicago by Archibald McNeill, Arthur Libby and his brother Charles in 1868 made Guelph its Canadian headquarters.

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The Pipe Mill in the Ward: The Page-Hersey Tube Company

In 1889, an American, Randolph Hersey (1829-1918) founded Page & Hersey Company in Montreal in partnership with E. N. and G. H. Page. It operated out of a then idle tube mill owned by J. C. Hodgson. Located along the Lachine Canal, under Hersey, the tube mill began to prosper. Then Hodgson threw a wrench into the system. When the lease ended, he sold the property to the Montreal Rolling Mills. Hersey and his partners responded by deciding to move the plant halfway across the country to Guelph, Ontario. It was to remain in operation there for close to 50 years.

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