Category Archives: Uncategorised

A Local Manufacturing Company

In last week’s posting of items from the Community Waterfront Heritage’s Centre’s collection, nothing was shown that represented Industry, one of the three areas of focus of the Centre. 

This photograph is part of the archival collection. These two women are shown with a machine that made a product in an Owen Sound factory. This product could be found in stores outside of Canada. What were they making and what was the company name? Did you or did anyone in your family work at this industry? 

This black and white photo depicts two women at the toothpick machine, Keenan’s, Owen Sound. The women are identified as Darlene Brown and Jo Forbes.  Mrs. Forbes was awarded a gold pin for 50 years service. 

This shows one of the toothpick boxes that is in the collection. 

Keenan Woodenware Co. Ltd. / Keenan Bros. Ltd. / Keenan Industries Ltd. were names the Company was known by. It was an important industry in Owen Sound for one hundred years (1896-1996) and was located on the east side of the harbour. 

The August 1, 1929 issue of The Financial Post featured Owen Sound industries. “Keenan Industries Varied Products Wide Distribution” provided information about the company.  Keenan Industries was the sole manufacturer of toothpicks in Canada.

The parent company was Keenan Brothers Ltd., all privately held in the family circle. … Everything manufactured is produced cheaper through the close alliance of tugs, barges, sawmills and factories and one set of owners who are content with one profit from the allied industries. [1]

The company’s large ad on the front page of the second section “From Stump to Finished Article” highlighted the diversification of the company.

Grey Roots Archives provides some history of Keenan Woodenware Co. Ltd. / Keenan Bros. Ltd. / Keenan Industries Ltd.  and shows some related items in their collection.

Museum Week 2020 — What is the object in the Collection – Part 2

May 13 — Oil Lamps [Rail]

The catalogue description describes it as “A yellow lamp with a glass chimney. The bottom of the lamp has CN stamped in it. The bottom is also painted brown. The lamp is missing a wick. Canadian National Railroad – Owen Sound owned it.”

May 14 —  Union Badge

Badge –CBRT & G.W. (Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport & General Workers) Local 401 C.M.U. Navy and gold coloured circular badge with a navigational rose in the middle. It was last owned by Joseph Weir of Owen Sound.

Thanks to one of our members, we have some more information to add: C.M.U. stands for the Canadian Maritime Union. C.M.U was a new union that split from the Seafarers International Union and subsequently joined the CBRT&GW as local 401.


Museum Week 2020 — What is the Object from the Collection? Part 1

Monday — May 11 — Date Stamper [Marine]

There are several in the collection similar to this one all made by Centennial Dater. All are similar in appearance as viewed in the photographs. In the catalogue, the one pictured above is described as “Ticket date stamper. Iron stamp on two legs with several wheels and gears to adjust the date. A press nob is on top to press paper onto the stamp surface. A spring holds the nob off the stamping surface. From the S.S. Norisle. Centennial Dater.”

The other two in the collection give some more details. One is described as: “Ticket date stamper. Black cast iron/steel.  Label on front  “Model A, Hill’s Centennial Dater”.  There is a shiny metal knob on the top which reads “The Centennial Dater, B.B. Hills Patent, July 4, 1878″. There is a nose piece on the front which opens to allow access to the imprint plate and the ribbon.  The ribbon is 3 cm wide.”

The third is listed as: “Heavy black metal date stamper. “Centennial Dater” is on the front, there is a door on the front to access the ribbon and the stamping plate. There is a shiny metal knob on the top.  There is access to wheels under the bottom that can be moved to adjust the date.  There is a 3 cm wide ribbon in the machine.”

Perhaps one of these date stampers was used on a ticket for one of your trips or that of an ancestor travelling to or from Manitoulin Island.

These date stampers were used on one of the ferries of Ontario Northland: Norgoma, Norisle or Normac.

Tuesday, May 12 — Pelorus [Marine]

The one of the left: “A pelorus and its case.  This pelorus is made of black metal/wire. There is a magnifying glass at one end. The box is made of wood and the pelorus sits inside securely and is held in place by a toggle.  There are two hooks used to keep the box closed. Last owned by Howard Hindman of Owen Sound.”

The one on the right is a  “compass-like device. It is a circular metal plate with directions marked on it, suspended on a brass stand. There is a black metal viewpiece attached to the top of the place and the bronze suspension piece sits on a wooden base.  The face plate reads: “Boyce-Meier Pelorus, Bonxville, NY”. Last owned by Howard Gilbank of Owen Sound.”

“In marine navigation, a pelorus is a reference tool for maintaining bearing of a vessel at sea. It is a “dumb compass” without a directive element, suitably mounted and provided with vanes to permit observation of relative bearings.”[1]