Tuesday, February 9, 2016

We used to make things in this country. #229: Vancouver Engineering Works, Vancouver, British Columbia

Above, a Nepro "Spitfire" Model 55 tool.  It may have been used for sandblasting.

Nepro was a brand of the Vancouver Engineering Works, the first steel foundry on the west coast, and the largest west of Toronto and north of San Francisco.  The Nepro brand name was also used on their electric irons.  Below, some photos of the Nepro Model 72 "Maid" sent in by Allan Collier from Victoria, B.C.:

Even the Belden "Viceroy" plug on the iron was made in Canada!  (Founded in Chicago in 1902, Belden merged with Syracuse, New-York based Crouse-Hinds in 1980, before being absorbed by Cooper Industries in 1981 and then becoming a stand-alone firm in 1993.)

The company dates back at least to the 1890's when they made Truac iron ore cars under license from that Denver company. Among many other things, they made steam donkeys, boilers, hoisting machines, and even the cable clamps for the Lions Gate Bridge.  

Below, from Industrial British Columbia 1945, published by the Vancouver Sun.  These images were also kindly contributed by Allan Collier.  See his comment below about the relationship between  Vancouver Engineering Works, the Van Iron Works and Neon Products.

The company was bought by a U.S. financier in 1966, but lasted for only a few more years.  Its former factory has long been replaced by housing.  To see then and now pictures of the factory, visit Changing Vancouver.



1945.  Source:  https://vanasitwas.wordpress.com/tag/engineering-works/


Unknown said...

I found a Nepro electric iron the other day, complete with box, both in new condition.
I would be pleased to send you a picture, but you may already have one.
Thank you for the information on the company. I suspect Vancouver Engineering Works and Van iron Works amalgamated at some point to produce the firm Vancouver Iron and Engineering Works (VIEW)
Is Nepro short for Neon Products? Apparently it amalgamated with VEM during or after the War.

The Duke said...

We'd love to have a photo to add to the post! Thanks also for the additional information. As for Nepro and Neon Products, that's an insightful connection. Could be. Anyway, if you'd be so kind, please send the photo(s) to bishrip@gmail.com.

Jenifer said...

very good post, Liked to know about this things...

fancy product designer woocommerce said...

Good post, Thanks for sharing

Bill Elder said...

I worked af Vancouver Iron and engineering from 1962 to 1967. I was a machinist. My father and grandfather worked there as well, my dad was a boilermaker and worked at VIEW for over 30 years. When the bank shut the company down my dad led the group that fought to have the company opened again. I have many pictures and would love them to go to a good home. Bill Elder

Mister G said...

I'd love to post some of them and I'd love to hear more stories of the company! Maybe someone closer to Vancouver would be a better custodian of your pictures though, anyone?

Unknown said...

I found a spitfire gun like yours today

Unknown said...

I would like to know more about it

Mister G said...

Sorry, all I know is what is in the post.

Anonymous said...

I have a little Nepro Maid heater that I found at a local thrift store. Looks like a major fire hazard, but still a cool piece. Didn't come with original cord unfortunately.