Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We used to make things in this country. #133: The Ontario Wheel Company, Ganonoque, Ontario

The Ontario Wheel Company was founded in the 1890's.  It suffered three disastrous fires, the last of which occurred on November 3, 1910 when the entire factory and its contents were destroyed.  The loss was estimated at $175,000, a huge sum in those days; insurance only covered $125,000.  The town subsequently offered the company 10 years tax exemption if they would rebuild, and employ at least 35 hands for the following 10 years.  Later the same year, it seems that amalgamation was considered with the Dominion Wheel Company of Lindsay, the St. Catharines Wheel Company, the Benjamin Wheel Company of Yarker, the Finlay Wheel Company of Norwood, and the Chaplin Wheel Company of Chatham.  I can't find any information on whether this merger took place, but I'm astounded that there were so many wheel-making firms operating in Ontario at that time.

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