Thursday, August 20, 2015

We used to make things in this country. #205: Tred-Rite Shoe Company, Otterville, Ontario

The Tred Rite Shoe Company was founded by public subscription in 1917 by George Williams.  He started business on the site of the former woolen mills, but the building burned down the following year.  It was rebuilt further down the street as the G.L. Williams & Sons Company.  Among its better known products was the famous "Bunnyfoot" shoe for children.  A 1923 ad proclaimed
The old fallacy that comfort and smart appearance cannot be combined in a shoe is daily being disproved by Tred- Rite dealers. In design and construction this shoe complies with the hygienic principles laid down by the best foot specialists. Besides, Tred-Rite shoes are justly famous for their long wearing qualities and are all genuine Goodyear Welts. 
The company was featuring a new addition to their range — growing girl's sandals. These were shown in patent, brown calf and white, grey and fawn suedes, all Goodyear welt construction, and are calculated to appeal to the "flapperette" — the younger sister of the full-fledged flapper.
"Flapperettes"--the teeny boppers of the 1920's.

The company encountered financial difficulties, moving to Ingersoll, and finally to Toronto in 1928. In 1932, the former factory in Otterville was reopened by the Standard Tobacco Company, making cigars and cigarettes.  After another fire, the building became home to the Hartford Furniture Company.  In 1936 it was the turn of the Kennedy Biological Laboratories Limited, which made serums, insect sprays and insecticides.  In 1947, Tip Top Canners used the building for storage, and then it passed into the hands of several fertilizer companies.

Photo and information from South of Sodom.  The History of South Norwich.  (South Norwich Historical Society, 1983).

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