Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We used to make things in this country. #181: Weir Wardrobe Company, Mount Forest, Ontario

Views of Mount Forest
The Weir Wardrobe Company was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba by Rod Weir.  The company made sectional dust-proof cases for use in stores and homes, selling to firms like the T. Eaton Company, the Hudson's Bay Company, Holt & Renfrew & Caisley & Company.  Apparently, the company won some prizes for its furniture design at the New York World's Fair in 1853.  (In spite of this, I can't find a single online image of anything this company made.) In 1900, the head office was relocated to Mount Forest, Ontario  to take advantage of growing trade in eastern Canada. (At the same time, the company purchased a factory in Mason City, Iowa.)  In Mount Forest, the Emil F. Zoellner Furniture Factory was purchased for $35,000, and plans were to employ 60 workers full-time.  For some reason, the company failed to weather changes in the industry brought on by the First World War and the factory was bought in 1924 by Superior Converters, which made overalls. It burned to the ground in 1966.

Workers at Superior Converters.  From Homer.  Mount Forest Magazine.  Number One, 1994.

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