Monday, July 2, 2012

We used to make things in this country. #78: Maxwells Ltd., St. Marys Ontario

Found this yesterday in a free pile at the end of someone's driveway.  (Having a barn means never having to say "no"!)  Maxwell Ltd. No. 2 Diamond Food Chopper.

Who wrote the copy below?!!  From a time when you just described what your product would do.

All the parts are still there, along with the original pasteboard box!

Below, assembled:

I can personally attest to the fact that it does a terrific job of turning apple chunks into applesauce, much better than my British-made Spong.

Below, an older Maxwells No. 15 I picked up somewhere else:

Maxwells Limited was a foundry first established in Paris, Ontario in the late 1800's.  The business moved to St. Marys Ontario in 1888, where it became known as David Maxwell & Sons or simply Maxwell & Sons.  In its heyday, it employed over 100 people and was the largest factory in Perth County.  The two-storey building was 250 feet long, with another wing 200 feet long. The first floor was for machine work with storage in the wing and basement. Painting and finishing were done on the second floor. Three shorter wings, each 150 feet long, contained a wood shop, blacksmith shop and moulding shop. Initially, farm equipment was the main focus, but eventually it produced plows, harrows, scufflers, binders, hay mowers, tedders, sulky rakes, hay loaders, root cutters, corn shellers, ringer washing machines, lawn mowers, food grinders and churns.  During World War II, production was devoted to the manufacture of hand grenades.  Following the war, it was unable to compete and ceased operation in 1964.  The factory was demolished in 1987. 

Below, pictures of the factory from various sources, principally the St. Marys Museum Photo Collection.  The company even used to have its own band and yearly parade!

Above, 1890 group photo of employees of David Maxwell Company, St. Marys. The photograph is taken on the loading dock of the factory, located on James Street South. The dock was for shipping and receiving goods sent by train (the tracks are visible in the photograph.)

Above, photo showing the interior of the Maxwell factory (specifically the cooperage section). A group of male employees (including a boy) are posed together.  Somewhere between 1910-1920.

Maxwell's store and staff preparing for a parade of Maxwell's equipment, ca. 1901. Maxwell's staff can be seen sitting in the windows.

1944 photo of women inspectors of hand grenades at Maxwells during the World War II. The inspectors were government employees.


Anonymous said...

I have a Maxwell No.10 Food Chopper, which belonged to my Grandmother. I am 64 years old so you get some idea of how long this chopper has been around. Nana Webber lived in St. Stephen, New Brunswick and like most women of the day, was a very accomplished cook. The chopper was kept in her "pantry" (something houses of today do not have) and I recall playing with it as a youngster, just because it had moving parts. Last evening I cam across the chopper in my work shop, put it together after washing, and gave it a test run with some pieces of wing steak. It made fantastic burgers. Today I have just finished providing our 11 year old granddaughter with her own burger made with the Maxwell Limited No.10. It won't be the last time I use it as it's so much easier to clean up than with the modern equivalent, which will last, if lucky, no more than a year. Some "old" things are just plain BETTER!

-Dave Morell
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Anonymous said...

I just inherited a #15, after the death of my mother. My father indicates it is over 100 years old. It is in pieces but I should be able to get it working. She wanted me to have it since I'm the most likely to use it. I'm 56 and remember seeing her use it when I was 10 or so. Apparently my father's grandmother had it. said...

I have a no 10 food chopper in the original box and was wondering if it is worth anything

Anonymous said...

I inherited a #65 Home Food Grinder. Has X-mas 1953 written on the box. Will be interesting trying it out.

The Duke said...

I used one of mine to grind apples (after putting them through a hand-cranked apple peeler which also removed the core). It did a great job, much faster than an electric blender and so much easier to clean.

Altenbennett said...

I have a Maxville, horse drawn side delivery Rake (hayrake), frame mostly made of wood, wheels and gears out of iron. Also have a Maxville hayloader. Both are in pretty good condition.
I try to find out about the original colouring, of those implements, does anybody know?
Or mey be anybody interested to purchase this implements

Unknown said...

i dont know what its called but i have a no.1 laundry related maxwells limited

Unknown said...

anyone can tell me who to contact to have info on that

Unknown said...

Got a number 25 out of a dumpster from a neighbour who passed away in Alliston Ontario Canada