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."
Business and History--Beatty Brothers and Beatty Bros.