Monday, August 6, 2012

We used to make things in this country. #73: W.H. Dunne Skate Co., Toronto Ontario

Several years ago, I picked up a nice pair of spring clamps at a church garage sale:

As can be seen from the stamped information, they were "Handy Clamps" made by the W.H. Dunne Skate Company of Toronto.  I can't find much information on the company.  They appear in the City of Toronto Directory in 1896, and a January 1908 ad in Rod and Gun reads

"THE DUNNE Diamond Tube Skate

The skate of Quality, Elegance and Durability — proved by test of past twelve years. Fully guaranteed.

W. H. DUNNE FACTORY : 1492 Queen St. W., Toronto. Canada"

Someone has posted a photo of workers at the Dunne Skate factory, year unknown:


Unknown said...

That's my grandfather second from the left.taken at the factory on Macdonnell st. in Toronto. I can't remember when the picture was taken but IM sure it's prior to 1955. Dunnes were at one time the largest skate makers in North America. Almost all NHL players wore Dunnes skates.they had an Ad in the first program at maple leaf gardens and lots of stuff in the hockey hall of game.

Unknown said...

So what is a handy clamp? Some of my cousin and I have collected many ice skates and roller skates but what was a handy clamp. Looks like a took for the work bench and not for skating. Thanks for posting. Want to sell it.

The Duke said...

Thanks for contributing to the information on this company. The clamps are definitely for bench work. They really are handy, so I'm not ready to part with them yet.

Unknown said...

To my understanding, the clamp was designed by my Grandfather Cecil Dunne. He also patented the first plastic blade holders. I have many of them including the prototypes. In the picture to the far right in the back is my Great Uncle Bill Dunne and the tall man on the right is my Great Grandfather Thomas Valentine. I believe the man kneeling down in front is Herb Charlton.

Anonymous said...

Hello don,t no if you care or not but I have a surf king skateboard made by WH Dunne skate company it has roller derby clay wheels and is 22 inches long looks to be oak the writing is red kind of cool going to sell it at Christies antique show in May. I hope it helps with another item made here.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,
Your skateboard...did it sell and how much if you don't mind me asking!?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. My grandmother (Kaye Charlton - married Kaye Broughton) was Herb's sister. I heard about the skate manufacturing company. However, my mother said they were reluctant to modernize and were still using foot-powered lathes in the 1940's. Not sure how accurate this info was. My mother recalled always having very good skates when she went to the rink, though she wasn't much of a skater.

Padre Jud said...

I still wear a pair of Dunne Lake Placid skates, that I've had since the early 1970s. I get some strange looks at the ice rink here in Buffalo!

Bill Tee said...

William Hamilton Dunne [W. H. Dunne] was the bro to my maternal grandfather, George Mackie Dunne. As well as making Handy Clamps, as a side line, they made skate wheeled scooters of which I had one. My mother's bro Bill Dunne took over the
manufacturing of handy clamps after the factory closed and I still have a number of them after selling a bunch for my uncle. Ultimately the manufacturing rights were taken over by Herb Charleton's company, Dominion Skates, in Brampton after Bill's death. I do not think that any were manufactured by them to the best of my knowledge. I did spend some time working at the Macdonell Ave site while going to school.

Bill Tee