Yesterday, I happened to be using my RAE vise, and noticed a previously-overlooked decal on the screw, partially obscured by spilled varnish:
Four new pieces of information are offered here. The company was based in Orillia, Ontario; it billed itself as "Canada's largest vice manufacturer"; it was operated by OTACO Limited, and it used "Ductalloy" as a trademark.
OTACO goes back a century. The name itself, first used in 1936, is an abbreviation for the Orillia Tudhope-Anderson Company. The firm started with William Tudhope, a blacksmith and wheelwright, whose company later made carriages. In 1897, his son James formed the Tudhope Carriage Company in Orillia, and in 1902 he expanded into the agricultural equipment business with partner Harry Anderson. The Tudhope Motor Company was another business, which from 1908 to 1913 made cars which were equipped with the most Canadian-made components of any other car manufactured in this country. Tudhope purchased mechanical parts from McIntyre of Auburn, Indiana. The Tudhope-McIntyre sold for $550, and one of them became Bell Canada's first motorized vehicle. In 1909, the Tudhope-Anderson Company was founded. In 1936, the company ran into financial difficulties and Ross Phelps bought it and renamed it OTACO. The names OTACO and TACO were used on a variety of products, including stoves, heaters, logging sleighs, snow-plows, wheelbarrows, pumps and farm and logging wagons. During the depression, OTACO produced the "Auto-Trac" kit to convert a car into a tractor. The kits were priced from $149 to $300, well below the $600 price tag of a new tractor, so the product was very successful. Over the next 25 years, over 6000 of these kits were sold. The Simcoe County Museum has a 1929 model in its collection.
Below, some photos of two Auto-Tracs for sale at a local auction. Note that epicyclic gearing was used, with a planetary gear from the axle turning the ring gear in the wheels.
During World War II, the factory was retooled to make undercarriages and wheels for the Mosquito fighter-bomber. After the war the range of products expanded to include pumps and water systems, boat kits and boat trailers. The production of farm implements and plow shares continued to grow and Otaco became one of Canada's largest manufacturers of farm wagons, wheels and hubs.
|1951 photo of the OTACO In-Throw Disc Harrow in front of the factory. From Postcard Memories: Otaco plow
"The history of the Rae Vise was probably the same as several of the cast consumer products that migrated to the Tudhope Anderson Company ( TACO) later changed to Otaco , believed to be the Orillia Tudhope Anderson Company. In late 1915/16 period several regional small foundries made such things a Marvel Stoves , Peerless Plows and probably the Rae Vises. Foundries need to have tonnage to make pouring economical these products migrated to larger foundries Taco was such a foundry. Otaco was a ductile casting foundry which was malleable iron suitable for cast vises but this was not until the late 1930's so it may have been this time period. Because of the scale of Otaco and varied consumer products it was able to merchandise and distribute more efficiently than say a smaller company. "
I recently found the 1914 ad below online:
I wonder if this company was the one acquired by Otaco, hence the Rae name and Hamilton location (as marked on one vise in Mister G's previous post)?
In any event, the Rae Vise division was sold in 1972 to Harcox Holdings Ltd. of Orillia.
In the mid 1950s Otaco designed and built a wide range of over-the-snow equipment for operation "Deep Freeze", an Antarctic expedition. Sleighs of up to 20-ton capacity, wanigans ( a mobile home made to withstand the most hostile environments) and ice runway maintenance machinery were made resulting in Otaco receiving the U.S. Navy Certificate of Merit – the first to be awarded outside the United States.
Otaco was purchased in 1961 by R.M. Barr and became a division of Bartaco Industries until sold to Redlaw Industries in 1984. Redlaw continued to operate the foundry until closing in 1990. A division, Otaco Seating, made train and bus seats. It was acquired by the Michigan-based American Seating in 1985, which closed its Orillia operation in 2007.
|J.H. Ashdown Hardware Company Ltd, Winnipeg, 1953 catalogue
A visitor (see comment below) drew our attention to the following:
I had published a previous post on the McCoy Foundry and somehow had missed the fact the the vise jaws in that post also carried the RAE name. So, it looks like the McCoy Foundry was the company behind this product. At some point, they must have sold this off to OTACO. I sent an email to McCoy, asking if they could shed any light on this. Typical of most Canadian manufacturers, I did not receive the courtesy of a reply.
Update, June 2023. Below; Small Rae Anvil found at Aberfoyle Antique market.