Thursday, May 22, 2014

We used to make things in this country. #153: C. Wilson & Son, Toronto, Ontario

Canadian Machinery, 1903

Below, a photo of the scale I found on Antique Hunter, which also provides a history of the company which I have summarized below.

C. Wilson was born in Ireland in 1818 but came to Ottawa, Ontario in 1840.  He moved to Toronto in 1849 and established his business in 1851.  By 1885, he was employing 25 men as well as 8 "travellers" (salesmen). The firm made a variety of scales, from small confectioner's ones up to 1000-pound platform scales.  In the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900, the firm was awarded a silver medal.

I'd love to see the particulars on their "Ball Bearing Computing Scale."  Around the turn of the 19th century, a number of such devices were patented:

The record for the first such scale goes to Julius Pitrat of Gallipolis, Ohio, who was awarded U.S. patent 314,717 in 1885.  Six years later, Edward Canby and Orange Ozias of Dayton, Ohio, purchased Pitrat's patents and incorporated The Computing Scale Company as the world's first computing scale vendor.  In 1895 they introduced the first automatic computing scale. In 1911, the Computing Scale Company merged with the International Time Recording Company and Tabulating Machine Company to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.  In 1924 it was renamed IBM. 

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