Thursday, May 30, 2013

We used to make things in this country. #109: Beatty Brothers Limited, Fergus, Ontario

George and Matthew Beatty founded their firm in Fergus in 1874.  They began to manufacture agricultural implements, purchasing the Grindley farm implement factory, which made reapers, mowers, straw cutters, land rollers, single and gang plows, and even stoves and cast-iron kitchen utensils. The company grew in part through its voracious appetite for other companies, which included Cowan & Company of Ganonoque (wringers), the Washer Company of Canada, Clements Manufacturing Company of Toronto (cleaners), Gould, Shapley & Muir of Brantford (windmills, grain grinders), the Galt Machine & Screw Company (die castings), the Spencer Foundry Company of Penetanguishene (stoves, heaters, rangers), the James Stewart Manufacturing Company of Woodstock (stoves & heaters), the James Provan Company of Oshawa, the James Provan Company of Oshawa, Whitman and Barnes of St. Catharines, Cameron and Dunn of Strathroy, Tolton Brothers of Guelph, Emerson and Campbell of Tweed, Wortman and Ward of London, Ont., etc. In 1925, they were the largest producer and exporter of barn and stable equipment in the British Empire. 

By 1928 the Beatty product line spanned more than 600 items. Factories in Fergus and London, Ontario employed 600 people, and a further 800 people were employed in Great Britain. There were branches and stores across Canada; by 1939 there were also stores in Australia and New Zealand.  By 1941, their own letterhead declared them to be the "Largest Washer and Ironer Manufacturers In the British Empire".  The company is credited with building acceptance of washing machines in Canada by using door-to-door salesmen to extol the virtues of these appliances.  In 1961, the family sold their shares, and the company was amalgamated with General Steel Wares to form GSW Limited in 1969.  To old-timers, who remembered how the brothers had ruled the town, the new initials would always stand for "George Still Whirls."




For a more detailed history, see:
Business and History--Beatty Brothers and Beatty Bros.


Shaz said...

I have a wash tub stand from this company with the name a patent date on it. It is now 2015 so clearly they made good stuff!

Unknown said...

We have a wringer machine that still works! They put chrome all over it as well! What a great machine.

Wayne From Nova Scotia said...

I have two Beatty domestic electric, piston water pumps, still in operation. Both are gear driven, no belts. One is twin cylinder and supplies all my domestic water. The other almost identical except single cylinder and I use it every Summer to water my garden. Both are over 60 years old. Where today can anyone purchase a water pump that will be still in use after 60 years?
Yes, I've replaced the piston leather cups and rubber valves a couple of times, but so what, these are normal wear items in such a pump.

Michele said...

I bought a wash stand at an auction years ago. I had it in my flower patch for years. Recently we moved and I took my stand for my new garden. Some of the paint came off displaying the name. There was such a great history behind the wash stand, I scrubbed it down and varnished it. It now sits in the living room with plants on it.