Showing 37 resultsPersoon/organisatie
Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario
The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (HEPCO) was special statutory corporation established by the Act to Provide for the Transmission of Electrical power to Municipalities of 1906. Prior to its creation, hydro-electric power had developed as a series of solo ventures, private or public stations powering towns or businesses, but forming no common network. These often operated as monopolies, providing poor services at high prices. In response to these practices, the Ontario provincial government recognized in 1905 that electricity should be consider as ‘public good’ rather than commodity. The Commission’s role was to supply the electrical needs of the citizens of Ontario municipalities, and later to rural areas, at the lowest possible cost. Over the course of its history, HEPCO connected Ontario municipalities to its delivery system through the upgrading of local distribution lines and extension of transmission lines. To supply its clients, HEPCO bought power from private companies and acquired or built its own stations. In 1939, the Power Control Act gave the Commission the authority to regulate other electricity generators. The network extended past the borders of Ontario as HEPCO bought power from American-owned utilities and from private hydro producers in Quebec. As the Commission developed its capacity for thermal and nuclear-generated power starting in the 1950s, it became more self-sufficient and even became a net exporter of power. HEPCO was officially renamed Ontario Hydro in 1974 when the six-man commission that governed it was changed to a Board of Directors composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, President, and a number of directors. Ontario Hydro continued to operate the generation and delivery system until deregulation of electricity market in Canada split the corporation in 1999 into two entities: Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to produce energy, and Hydro One to distribute it on the open market. The deregulation ultimately ended the generation and delivery model established with the creation of HEPCO in 1906.
- 1841 -
Grattan Township in Renfrew County, Ontario was surveyed and settled in the 1850s. Early settlers needed a sawmill for cut lumber and Duncan Ferguson and Donald Cameron built one in 1855 on Constant Creek which flowed out of Constant Lake. The small settlement which grew up around the mill was called Balaclava, named after the battle in the Crimean War. By the 1860s there were two hotels (later called boarding houses) and a general store, owned by Joseph Legree. In 1868 the sawmill was bought by William Richards (1841-1908) for $1 325. The Richards sawmill cut both hard and softwood for local consumption as well as for the larger commercial market. It is possible that William Richards bought the general store in 1896.
In 1896 the wooden dam at Balaclava broke, sending sawdust and other wood debris downstream. In 1903-1904 the mill’s waterwheels were replaced by more efficient water turbines and a sawdust burner was installed to get rid of the sawdust. However in 1911 William Hunter, who had a grist mill 2 km downstream, started a lawsuit against Richards for the sawmill refuse that was clogging up his mill. Hunter was eventually awarded $200 in damages and Richards was instructed not to pollute the creek with sawdust. This was one of the first environmental cases in Ontario.
In 1900 the name of the company was changed to William Richards and Son when his son, Harry Richards (1875-1938), became a partner. After William Richards’ death in 1908, the name was gradually changed to H. Richards. By this time the company was selling lumber to wholesalers in Montreal and Toronto and had large contracts to supply railway ties to Canadian railways. In 1936 a fire extensively damaged the sawmill, but it was quickly rebuilt. Harry Richards died two years later and his son, William (Bill) Richards (1899-1967) took over the mill and general store. Gradually timber supplies dried up and the mill worked less and less. In 1957 the sawmill was bought by David Dick. The sawmill continued to function and by 1967, it was recognized as the last functioning water-powered sawmill in Ontario.
At various times Richards family members were on the public school board for the Townships of Grattan and Brougham as well as executives on the board of the Brougham and Grattan Telephone Co.
- 1914-05-03 - 2000-12-20
John J. Windsor, known as Jack Windsor, was born 3 May 1914, the eldest of four children, in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated from a technical college in Toronto in 1931. Over the next years, he worked as manager of White Corners fast food restaurant in Lindsay, Ontario, while continuing to take night courses in drafting. In 1938, he married Paula Thora Card. He joined Massey Ferguson in January 1941 and seems to have retired around 1979. While at Massey Ferguson, he was instrumental in designing the model 37 combine and was sent as representative (engineering advisor or project engineer) to Australia for one year and to France for three years. Windsor died on 20 December 2000.
Fritz Lehmann was born in 1936 in Oak Park, Illinois. He received his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College in 1958, and his master’s degrees and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (1961, 1967). His area of expertise was the history of India and the South Asian region, in particular the role of Islam in the region, technology and its relation to the region`s culture and development, and Urdu language and literature.
He joined the University of British Columbia’s Department of History in 1967, where he was a member of the faculty until his death in 1994.
Throughout his life Lehmann was a lover of railways, especially steam locomotives. Wherever he went, he sought out, photographed and studied railways. In the late 1970s he became aware that very little was known about the locomotive construction industry in Canada. He decided to write a book about this subject and started writing articles on various individual manufacturers. He also collected material on Canadian railways on the macro level. He worked diligently on this project on his own time. However a stroke in 1988 slowed work down and his book remained incomplete at the time of his death.
Parkhill, Douglas F., 1923-1995
- 1923-12-19 - 1995
Douglas Freeman Parkhill was born on 19 December 1923. He received a bachelors in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto in 1949. From 1949 to 1951 he worked for Canadian Comstock Corporation on the frequency change from 25 to 60 cycles in southern Ontario. He worked with Computing Devices of Canada Ltd. in Ottawa as a systems engineer. He was briefly with AVCO of Canada Limited in Toronto as a Supervisor of Engineering before going to AVCO Corporation in Wilmington, Massachusetts, as Deputy Manager of the Computer and Electronic Systems Department. In 1958 Parkhill became chief engineer of the Advanced Development Department for General Dynamics Corporation in Rochester, New York. Working for MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1961-69, he eventually became head of its Satellite Communications Systems.
In September 1969 Parkhill joined the federal Department of Communications in Ottawa as Director General of Policy, Plans and Programs Branch. He became Assistant Deputy Minister (Planning) in 1970 and was responsible for the Canadian Computer Communication Policy. He was also the OECD Panel on Computer Communications Policy which advised governments on changes brought about by computerization.
Parkhill’s final position with the department was as Assistant Deputy Minister (Research) starting in 1974. He was responsible for communication satellites, computer communications, the development of fibre-optic networks, image communications etc. Parkhill was one of the forces behind the development of Telidon, a Canadian public-private videotex and teletext system. Parkhill received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Government of Canada in 1982 for his work in this area. He died in 1995.
Parkhill was the author of numerous talks and articles between 1956 and 1984 on the evolving role and challenges of computers, computer networks, communication technologies and the role of the federal government in these areas. He also produced fifty-some classified reports on military information systems, military space systems, satellite control systems and other topics. Parkhill was author of The Challenge of Computer Utility (1966) and with Dave Godfrey, wrote Gutenberg Two: The New Electronics and Social Change (1979).
After Parkhill retired from government service in April 1984, he received a contract from the Deputy Minister of Communications to write a history of the development of the videotex/teletext industry in Europe, Asia, the US and Canada. His manuscript on the development of Telidon “The Beginning of a Beginning” was completed in 1987.
Pocklington, Thomas, 1882-1962
Thomas Pocklington was born in Vange, Essex, United Kingdom in 1882. He was apprenticed in London in 1894 to W.F. Stanley Limited, manufacturer of mathematical and drafting tools. He first moved to North America to work for Keuffel and Esser Company, a drafting instrument and supply manufacturer, in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. He immigrated to Canada circa 1905 to work for Consolidated Optical Company, in Toronto, Ontario, under L.G. Emsden. At Consolidated, he was asked to establish an Instrument Making Division and was at some point named Superintendent. During the First World War, he was called to work at Dominion Steel Products in Brandford, Ontario, where they were fixing alignment problems with navy guns. In 1919, Pocklington returned to Toronto and continued working for Consolidated. The company was sold to J. Frank Raw Ltd in 1925. He worked at the new company briefly before establishing his own company, Thomas Pocklington Limited, later that year. Sometimes listed as Thomas Pocklington Instrument Company, the business was renamed Thomas Pocklington and Son Limited ca. 1943 when Thomas’s son, William Carey Pocklington returned to Toronto to serve as its Director. Thomas’s wife, Mary, was Secretary-Treasurer of the company. From 1925 to 1940 the company occupied a location near what is now the Eaton Centre; from 1940 to 1953 they occupied 30 Bridgman Ave (presently Tarragon Theatre); from 1953 to 1992 they occupied 208 Weston Rd. William Carey’s son, Ronald Gordon Pocklington, led the business under the new name Pocklington Survey Equipment until it was dissolved in 1992. Thomas Pocklington, its founder, died in Toronto in 1962.
Canadian Locomotive Company Limited
The Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC) was Canada's oldest, second largest, and second longest lasting locomotive-building company. It was originally known as the Ontario Foundry, established by John Counter and John Honeyman in Kingston, Ontario, circa 1848, and taken over by James Morton in 1854. The company was often referred to as the Kingston Locomotive Works. The company built its first five locomotives for the Grand Trunk Railway over the period 1854-1856. Morton died in 1864 and the company was sold to a group of prominent Montreal investors, who renamed it the Canadian Engine and Machinery Company in 1865. Following a reorganization in 1878, the name was changed to the Canadian Locomotive & Engine Company and the head office was moved to Montreal. However, in 1881 control of the Company was assumed by an influential group of Kingston politicians and businessmen, including William Harty, and it was once again reorganized and the head office returned to Kingston. A new two-story erecting shop was started and heavy machinery was updated. The success of the Company during this period attracted the famous Scottish firm of Dübs & Company, who purchased a controlling interest in 1887. Bankrupt in 1900, the Canadian Locomotive & Engine Company was purchased by former owner William Harty and a different group of partners in 1901, who then renamed it the Canadian Locomotive Company.
For a short period from 1900 to 1904, aside from the railway companies themselves, CLC was the biggest builder of locomotives in Canada. This was the case despite the fact that the International Association of Machinists staged a strike in 1902 that was not effectively settled at CLC until 1906. Montreal Locomotive Works began to outproduce both CLC and the railway companies in 1905. CLC was sold to group of Canadian and British bankers headed by the Aemelius Jarvis in 1911, who started expanding and modernizing the Kingston plant in 1912 and re-named it the Canadian Locomotive Company, Limited. It continued under this name until 1965. The Company carried on with a surge of orders and produced munitions during the First World War. The Federation of Metal Workers went on strike in May 1919, but signed a new contract and were back at work in October of that year. Railway strikes in the United States during the early 1920s slowed production at CLC because they resulted in delays in receipt of raw material, but the Company returned to economic health after 1923. During this decade the company built the first mainline diesel electric locomotive in North America, the CNR 9000. CLC built 1386 steam locomotives for Canadian railways between 1900 and 1929, but with the onset of the Depression in the 1930s, production mostly shut down in Kingston. The Second World War created a surge in locomotive orders again and the Company produced munitions among other war efforts, such as, for example, the training of 100 Royal Canadian Navy boiler makers in CLC’s boiler shop. CLC averaged a production of 84 locomotives a year between 1943 and 1945. The Company was in a good position in the immediate Post-War period, having had sufficient locomotive orders during the war that its plant did not need large scale reconversion. A substantial interest in CLC was purchased by the Baldwin Locomotive Company in 1947. Outright control was purchased in 1950 by Fairbanks-Morse Canada, a subsidiary of the Fairbanks-Morse Company of the United States. While the North American market continued to transition to diesel locomotives, CLC’s participation in Canada’s part of the Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and Southeast Asia saw it build 120 WP 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotives to the Indian Government between 1955 and 1956. Over the course of its existence, CLC built approximately 2709 steam locomotives, as well as a large number of diesel-electric and industrial locomotives, for both domestic and foreign markets.
In 1955, CLC purchased the design assets of industrial locomotive maker Davenport-Bessler Company, which included design assets of the H.K. Porter Company. The company had built 328 diesel locomotives between 1929 and 1955, when diesel orders began to dry up. The company ultimately failed to make a successful transition from steam to diesel locomotive production. Its Fairbanks-Morse opposed-piston designs proved no match in the market place for locomotives built by the Montreal Locomotive Works (a division of the American Locomotive Company) and especially the General Motors Diesel Division located in London, Ontario. The name of the company was officially changed to Fairbanks Morse (Canada) Ltd. in 1965. Attempts were made to build a variety of other equipment, but a strike led to the closure of the plant in 1969. It was demolished in 1971.
The W.W. Whitehead Company was founded in 1901 in Davenport, Iowa, and specialized at first in stationary engines and boilers. They soon began to concentrate on light duty steam locomotives used as switchers. In 1904, the company was renamed the Davenport Locomotive Works. It enjoyed considerable success in manufacturing small steam locomotives for industrial use. The company was reorganized and renamed the Davenport-Besler Corporation in 1933 and its products at the time, apart from railway switchers, included road snow plows, grey iron castings, drop forging, steel hammer forging, as well as steel tank and structural steel work. The company began manufacturing its first gasoline locomotives in 1924 and its first diesel locomotives in 1927. Davenport-Besler contributed to the US Second World War effort by manufacturing locomotives. Their contributions were recognized in 1943 with the Army-Navy black "E" Production Award for Excellence in War Production. After the Second World War, the company began focusing almost exclusively on diesel locomotives. Davenport-Besler acquired the locomotive business from the H.K. Porter Company in 1950. Davenport-Besler was to service all Porter Locomotives in use and build duplicate Porter locomotives. However, Canadian Locomotive Works purchased the locomotive division of Davenport-Besler in 1955, including locomotive designs and parts, inventory, patterns, jigs, tools, and fixtures as well as trade names of both Davenport and Porter locomotives. Davenport-Besler closed its plant in Davenport in 1956.
La compagnie Pierre Thibault fit ses débuts en 1908 à Sorel avec Charles Thibault, carrossier et forgeron. Son fils Pierre poursuivit l’entreprise paternelle à St-Robert pendant quelques années avant de s’établir définitivement à Pierreville en 1938. Les contrats de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale procura un essor considérable à la firme québécoise. De là, la compagnie Camions Pierre Thibault prit de l’ampleur. Elle s’incorpora en 1957 pour devenir Pierre Thibault Canada Ltée. Au cours des années 1960, elle était devenue la plus grande entreprise canadienne de véhicules d’incendie. Ses camions étaient achetés partout au Canada et même aux États-Unis, en Amérique du Sud et en Jamaïque. En 1968, les malentendus familiaux survenus suite au décès du père menèrent à une scission entre les neuf frères ainsi que dans l’entreprise. Une nouvelle manufacture de camions à incendie, Camions à incendie Pierreville Ltée, vit le jour à St-François du Lac sous la direction des cinq fils aînés. S’amorça alors une ère de forte compétition entre les deux entreprises. La compagnie d’origine, Pierre Thibault Canada Ltée, connut par la suite vente et faillites avant d’être rachetée en 1979 par un des fils, René, l’un des fondateurs de la compagnie rivale. La compagnie devint alors Camions Pierre Thibault Inc. Lors de la faillite de Camions à incendie Pierreville Ltée en 1985, Camions Pierre Thibault Inc racheta Camions à incendie Pierreville, réunissant à nouveau la compagnie en une seule entité. Les opérations furent en majorité transportées à l’usine de St-François. Entre temps, trois autres compagnies de camions d’incendie furent créées par trois des fils, Guy avec Tibotrac à Terrebonne en 1979, Yvon, avec Phoenix à Drummondville en 1985 et Charles-Étienne avec C.E. Thibault la même année. En 1990, Camions Pierre Thibault Inc connut des difficultés financières et fut rachetée en 1991 par trois hommes d’affaires en association avec le Fonds de Solidarité de la Fédération des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ). La compagnie devint alors Nova QUINTech. Lors de la faillite de la compagnie Phoenix en 1992, cette dernière fut rachetée par Nova QUINTech . Deux ans après, la compagnie prit encore de l’ampleur avec l’acquisition des actifs de MCI, fabricant d’autobus. Nova Bus était ainsi créée. En 1995, Nova QUINTech devint une division de Nova Bus. Elle fut vendue en 1997 à la compagnie américaine Pierce mettant ainsi fin à 90 ans de labeur d’une importante compagnie canadienne. Aujourd’hui, seuls les travaux relevant de la garantie sont encore effectués à l’usine de Pierreville et ce, jusqu’en 2002, par la compagnie Québec Inc. 9053 2698, donatrice du fonds. L’ancienne usine de Pierreville fut rachetée en 2000 par un des petits-fils de Pierre Thibault, Carl, le fils de René, qui opère avec son épouse Marie, la compagnie de camions d’incendie Camions Carl Thibault Inc.
Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited
The Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR) was incorporated in 1881. It was originally founded to construct the transcontinental railway in Canada, but diversified its holdings over time to include hotels, shipping lines, airlines, mining and telecommunications. The CPR created its marine transport arm, the Canadian Pacific Railway Steamships Services (CPSS), and purchased three ships that were launched in 1883 for use on the Great Lakes in support of the construction of the railway.
CPSS expanded next into the Pacific by chartering sailing vessels to bring tea and other commodities from China and Japan, the first of which arrived at Port Moody only three weeks after the first regulary scheduled train had crossed the continent. The aim was to avoid sending empty freight cars east after trains delivered their western shipments. The company decided to establish a regular Pacific steamship service after securing the contract from the British Government for mail service between Hong Kong and the U.K. Mail contracts helped subsidize passenger transport, though the CPR’s future business would come to be dependent on the flow of emigrants to Canada. Freight transport was a secondary focus at this time, with passenger ships transporting low volume, high value freight.
In 1889, CPSS placed an order for three 6,000-ton vessels with Naval Construction & Armaments Company of Barrow, UK, for the Pacific route. The ships were the Empress of India, the Empress of Japan and the Empress of China. Canadian Pacific historian George Musk notes “the traffic brought to the railroad by the Pacific Empresses undoubtedly helped to save the Canadian Pacific from the disaster which overtook so many American railroads during the depression years 1893-1895.” (Musk, 1956, pp.3-4).
CPSS built business on new routes by first chartering ships or signing agreements with established steamship lines, and then purchasing or commissioning the construction of its own ships. At first CPSS depended on other companies for North Atlantic crossings, however Canadian Pacific wanted to control the last link in the route from Asia to the UK, and there was political pressure on the company to introduce faster steamships to compete with steamship lines serving ports in the United States. In 1903, CPSS acquired eight passenger and seven cargo liners from the ‘Beaver Line’ of the Elder Dempster Company to begin its Atlantic passenger and freight services. The Allan Line, which at the time held the British mail contract, introduced the first large turbine-driven vessels in North Atlantic service, in 1905. To be competitive, CPSS ordered the passenger liners Empress of Britain and Empress of Ireland and negotiated a half share in the mail contract, in 1906. Gradually the two companies began to cooperate. The CPR bought the Allan Line in 1909 but continued to run it as a separate line until 1915. During this time CPSS attended its first Atlantic Conference. These passenger conferences held between rival companies led to agreements on minimum prices. The outbreak of the First World War put the Conference in abeyance. In 1921, the Transatlantic Passenger Conference continued its work.
Fifty-two ships of the CPSS fleet were made available to the British Admiralty during the First World War. They were used as armed merchant cruisers, transports or cargo carriers. Fourteen ships were lost to enemy action or marine accident during the War and others were sold to the Admiralty. Post-war shortages slowed orders for new liners, but the company bought four German ships that had been seized as reparations.
In 1915 the CPR changed CPSS to a separate operating company within its overall corporate structure called Canadian Pacific Ocean Services Limited (CPOS) with its own Board of Directors. The operating company’s head office was in London, England. The name Canadian Pacific Ocean Services Limited was changed to Canadian Pacific Steamships Limited (CPS) in 1921. The name better reflected all of its marine transport services, including those on the Great Lakes and the lakes and rivers in British Columbia. The company entered into the cruise business the following year when the Frank C. Clark Travel Agency of New York chartered the Empress of Scotland for a cruise to the Mediterranean. CPS launched nineteen ships over this period of expansion in the 1920s despite strong ongoing competition from other companies.
During the Second World War, twenty-two CPS ships were made available to the British Admiralty. They served as troopships, armed merchant cruisers, prisoner of war carriers and passenger liners. Only five of these vessels returned to service. Two of the ships were sold to the British Admiralty, the others were damaged or sunk. CPS staff, including Canadian Pacific Chairman and President Sir Edward Beatty, were loaned to various government departments. Seventy-one of these employees were decorated for their service and 236 died in the war.
In June 1948 CPS headquarters moved from London to Liverpool. CPS did not replace its full fleet of passenger liners after the War and began to implement cost-reducing measures. The growth of air travel made CPS passenger service uneconomical and both ocean passenger and cruise services ended in 1971. The remaining passenger liners were, for the most part, sold to cruise companies.
The focus of the company’s marine transport business shifted entirely to freight. In the early 1960s, the revolution in container shipping had transformed freight handling. CPS chartered its first container vessels in 1963. Whereas the marine shipping service had been seen as a feeder to railway service in the past, in 1968 the company decided to begin operating it as an independent profit centre. The name of the company changed to CP Ships in 1969, while remaining a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific limited, and its headquarters moved from Liverpool back to London. The company ordered and chartered new ships. From the mid-1980s through the 1990s, CP Ships expanded through the acquisition of a number of lines.
With the break up of parent company, Canadian Pacific Limited, CP Ships became a separately traded public company at the end of September 2001. CP Ships was then purchased by TUI AG in 2005 and the name was not used after 2006 when the services were incorporated into TUI AG’s Hapag-Lloyd division. The trademark name, Canadian Pacific Steamships, and the right to use its checkered house flag was acquired by Eyecon Enterprises Inc in 2012, and Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. as an apparel company was incorporated in 2013 (Wikipedia).
Donald S. Angus lived in Senneville, Québec. He operated the boat “Alert” in the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers from 1912 to 1975.
Beauchamp, Jacques C., 1928-2019
- 1928-06-08 - 2019-09-03
Jacques C. Beauchamp was born in Ottawa on 8 June 1928. He received a bilingual education in Ottawa schools and then went to McGill University in Montreal. He graduated with a bachelors in civil engineering in 1952. He started with the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources on the restoration of historical sites and bridge designs for the National Parks Branch. Beauchamp moved to the federal Department of Public Works (later Public Works Canada) in 1955 where he worked on the design of structures for the Trans-Canada Highway through the Rockies and bridges in the north.
Beauchamp was a District Engineer in Quebec 1960-1967, where he was responsible for the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Roads to Resources, and other civil engineering work. In 1970 Beauchamp became the Director of Bridge Engineering for Public Works Canada (PWC) in Ottawa and the Director General of Structures in 1987. He oversaw the design, assessment and repair of interprovincial bridges. He had oversight of the skating oval, ski jump and bob sled/luge tracks for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Beauchamp’s most important project was the preliminary work on the Confederation Bridge linking Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick across the Northumberland Strait. He was one of the key people in overseeing the preparation of engineering feasibility studies and the first round of tender proposals for the construction of the Confederation Bridge. Beauchamp retired from PWC in 1990. He died in Ottawa on 3 September 2019.
Wright, Conrad Payling, 1897-1991
Conrad Payling Wright was born in Middlebrough, England. Nothing is known about his family or early life. He appears to have served in the Royal Garrison Artillery in World War I. In 1924 Wright married Esther Isabelle Clark (1895-1990) of Saint-John NB, who became a well-known Maritime historian. After their marriage, she followed Wright to Stanford University in California where he was studying. Coming from a well-established family, she was able to pursue her historical research full-time. She lived in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, while Wright spent much of his time in Ontario. They were still married when she died in 1990. C.P. Wright accepted her posthumous Order of Canada award in 1990.
Wright was the author of “The St. Lawrence Deep Waterway: A Canadian Appraisal” (1935) about the unratified 1932 treaty between Canada and the US to build a deep waterway to connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic and the benefits that it would provide. Using his accumulated research material as a base, Wright continued to collect a wide variety of information on what became the St. Lawrence Seaway, opened in 1959 and the associated hydroelectric developments. He planned to write a book on the Seaway, but this never came about. Wright did give a number of talks about the Seaway as well as making a number of presentations to various groups interested in the project. He died in 1991.
- 1869-05-16 - 1951-11-28
William Cober was born May 16, 1869. His family was Mennonite and his father ran the sawmill in Moorefield. William worked as a farm labourer in 1896, threshing in the Southern Ontario region. He moved to Stratford and began to work for the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR). He was a fireman who appears to have passed examinations necessary to become a locomotive engineer. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. On March 1, 1905, he married Mary Forrest and the couple had a daughter, Hazel, born June 25, 1907. They lived in Stratford before moving back to Moorefield, possibly circa 1910. William Cober died November 28, 1951.
- 1924 - 2018-01-23
Zdzislaw Ludwig Zseliski, known as Dick Szeliski, was born in Poland in 1924. He was a member of the Polish Underground Army and took part in the 1944 Warsaw uprising. After liberation from a prisoner of war camp, he joined the Polish Second Corps in Italy. He moved to London after the war and obtained a Civil Engineering degree before beginning his professional career in 1950 at the Bridge Design Office of British Railways. He moved to Canada in 1951 and joined the Engineering Department of Canadian National Railways (CNR). He was Senior Structural Engineer at CNR in the 1950s when the Victoria Bridge Diversion was under construction. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer – Structures and became responsible for Design, Construction and Maintenance of bridges and buildings across the CN systems. At the time of his retirement in 1986, he held the post of Chief Engineer, Bridges and Structures. After his retirement from CNR, he worked as a consultant for CANAC International on several international projects. Szeliski was an active member of the Canadian Standards Association, chairing its Committee on Concrete Railway Bridges, among other roles. He gave a number of lectures of the Victoria Bridge. He married Jadwiga Mieszkowska in 1954 and they had two children. Szeliski died 23 January 2018.
H.K. Porter Company was once the largest producer of industrial and narrow gauge locomotives in North America. Henry K. Porter started a machine shop with John Y. Smith in 1866 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They built their first locomotive in 1867 under the company name Smith and Porter. A fire destroyed the plant in 1871 and Smith moved to start a new company in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Arthur W. Bell joined Porter to form Porter, Bell & Company. Bell died in 1878 and the firm was reorganized as H.K. Porter Company. It became a corporation in 1899 and a new plant was opened the following year. Porter died in 1921. H.K. Porter began to produce gasoline and diesel-powered units as the purchase of steam declined, but was forced into bankruptcy at the end of the 1930s, due to decreased demand during the depression. Thomas M. Evans, the company’s largest bondholder, became its President when it was reorganized in 1939. He diversified the company’s production into steel, construction material, and hardware, before transforming it essentially into a holding corporation and selling its rail assets to Davenport-Besler in 1950. The company’s final locomotive is said to have left the erecting floor in 1951. Davenport-Besler was to service all Porter locomotives in use and build duplicate Porter locomotives. However, Davenport-Besler was in turn sold to Canadian Locomotive Works in 1955.
H.K. Porter, Inc. continued to produce industrial equipment and tools through different divisions and subsidiaries after 1955. However, its use of asbestos in locomotives and other products resulted in lawsuits from employees who had suffered long-term health effects. The company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991 and, as part of a reorganization plan, set up the H.K. Porter Asbestos Trust in 1998 to process, liquidate, and pay all claims for which it has legal responsibility. The brand H.K. Porter continues to exist and is owned by Apex Tool Group, manufacturers of hand and power tools.
Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Mechanical Department
- 1881 -
The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was a private venture incorporated in 1881 for the purpose of constructing and operating a transcontinental railway within Canada. With considerable government assistance, the first transcontinental line was completed on November 7, 1885. Over the following decades the enterprise was very successful developing substantial interests in a wide range of fields including: transportation, immigration, settlement/colonization, exploitation of natural resources, maritime services, and tourism. By the early 20th century the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was the wealthiest and most influential corporate body in Canada.
Like many 19th century railways, Canadian Pacific was a vertically integrated organization that allowed management a high degree of control over all aspects of the company’s supply chain and business affairs. This was particularly important in the development and maintenance of steam locomotive and rolling stock fleets. Steam locomotives were designed to meet the diverse operating requirements of the company which by 1937 was operating close to 38,000 kilometres of track in most regions of Canada. At the same time, railway mechanical departments were under constant pressure to improve the efficiency of the locomotive fleet with respect to fuel consumption and maintenance. This demand for improved operation and efficiency was a constant in steam locomotive design throughout the period.
Under the supervision of the Chief of Motive Power, at headquarters in Montreal, the railway’s Mechanical Department provided engineering and technical expertise for locomotives, heavy equipment, and engineering issues related to other rolling stock. Typically, this involved the design of new locomotives for and technical improvements to the existing fleet. Canadian Pacific’s steam locomotive roster by the mid-1930s listed more than 3000 locomotives. The process of designing a locomotive started with the Chief Mechanical Engineer, who could also be known as the Locomotive Superintendent. In a lot of cases, these men originated from England where they had previous worked in the field. CPR had the following Chief Mechanical Engineers over the era of steam: Kennet W. Blackwell, 1881-1883; Francis Robert Fontaine Brown, 1883-1890; David Preston, 1890-1893; Roger Atkinson, 1893-1901; Edward Averett Williams, 1901-1903; Henry Hague Vaughn, 1904-1915, (A.W. Horsey, Chief Draughtsman); William E. Woodhouse,1915-1918; William Henry Winterrowd, 1918-1921; Charles Henry Temple, 1921-1928; and Henry Blaine Bowen, 1928-1949.
The Chief Mechanical Engineer would work in the drawing room with their assistants, draughtmen and tracers. Engineers and draughtsmen in 1937 numbered around 118, indicating the vast amount of staff within the department.
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