Collection WAT - Roy Belshaw Waterous Collection

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Roy Belshaw Waterous Collection

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Collection

Reference code

CA ON00419 WAT

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  • 1837-2009, predominantly 1890-1970 (Creation)
    Creator
    Waterous Engine Works Company

Physical description area

Physical description

6.6 linear metres of textual records, 1481 photographs, and 1900 drawings.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1874-1953)

Administrative history

The predecessor of the various Waterous companies was a foundry established by P. C. Van Brocklin in Brantford, Ontario in 1844. The foundry made stoves and plows until Charles H. Waterous (1814-1892) joined in 1848. Waterous, with his experience as a machinist and founder, enlarged the product line to include sawmills, which became the standard products of the Brantford Engine Works Co. Waterous was the first company to introduce the straight line sawmill, thousands of which were put into operation around the world. Waterous also manufactured portable steam engines. In 1874 Waterous and his sons become the sole owners of the foundry which they renamed the Waterous Engine Works Co. In 1877 Waterous received the right to manufacture the Champion Vertical steam engine which was very popular for agricultural work. Waterous developed a traction engine version of this engine, but in 1890 the company started to build conventional horizontal-boilered traction engines. They were a popular product until demand fell off and the company ceased making them in 1911. By 1887, the company has an office in Winnipeg, and two Waterous sons established a factory in St. Paul Minnesota for the manufacture of fire engines for North-American cities. In 1929 the company bought the Edmonton Iron Works which became the Waterous headquarters for the Canadian West.

The company prospered throughout the early and mid-twentieth century by adding road making equipment to its portfolio. It also acquired patents for pulp-wood grinders, which gave the company an important role, along with screens, beaters, and vats, in the pulp and paper industry. After World War Two, the Waterous family sold their controlling interest in the company to Modern Tool Works based in Toronto. The Koehring Co., an American manufacture of construction and forestry equipment, purchased the Waterous Company in Sept 1953, which became Koehring-Waterous Ltd. In 1988, Koehring-Waterous was acquired by Timberjack Ltd., a forest harvesting equipment manufacturer in Woodstock, Ontario. The final years of the Waterous plant was spent in the production of log skidders, winches and other related tree harvesting equipment. In 1991, Timberjack was purchased by Rauma Repola, a Finnish conglomerate with interests in construction machinery and woodland equipment. On October 6, 1992 an announcement was made of the closure of the Koehring-Waterous plant. The plant’s equipment was auctioned off in February 1993 and the buildings razed in 1994.

Custodial history

In 1993, while the contents of Koehring-Waterous Ltd. were being auctioned off, the numerous surviving records of the company were thrown into a dumpster. Life-long Waterous and Koehring-Waterous employee Roy Belshaw received permission from Timberjack Ltd. to rescue the documents, drawings, glass plates and photos that had been thrown out. Roy Belshaw kept the collection at his home in Brantford Ontario, servicing numerous requests for photographs, drawings and other historical information over the next 15 years. Mr. Belshaw made various further acquisitions over the years. Mr. Belshaw died in 2008 and the collection became the property of his daughter, Linda Beatty of Uxbridge Ontario. Ms. Beatty offered the collection to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in March of 2009. The Collection was certified as Cultural Property in 2015.

Scope and content

The collection consists of engineering drawings, photographic material, company records, employee records, product catalogues, company research, and other material relating to Waterous equipment, plant operations, and the employees of the Waterous Engine Works Co. 1874-1926, Waterous Ltd. 1926-1953 and Koehring-Waterous Ltd. 1953-1992. Textual records consist of corporate history, directors and shareholder’s minutes, order books, insurance appraisals, letters patents, deeds and mortgages, financial ledgers, stocks and bond issues, and brochures. There is also research by Roy Belshaw and his related correspondence. The engineering plans consist of 1773 drawings 1894-1931, mostly 1908-1931. Graphic material consists of 402 glass plate negatives, 171 negatives, 384 photographic prints, 1880-1960.

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Finding aids

A file or item-level inventory is available upon request.

Associated materials

Roy Belshaw loaned some materials to the Archives of Ontario for copying in 1979. See Fonds 220 Waterous Engine Works Company fonds: http://ao.minisisinc.com/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/PROV/PROV/REFD+F+220?SESSIONSEARCH

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General note

Related Materials: CSTM Archives also preserves the Waterous Engineering Drawings collection, which primarily consists of drawings of fire fighting vehicles. The Museum also has artifacts from Waterous in its collection.

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Written by Larry McNally, 2012. Slight revisions, draft French translation and entry into Archeion, Adele Torrance, 2018. French proofreading by Céline Mongeau, Linda Larocque Linguistic Services, 06-2018.

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