Waterous Engine Works Company
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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.
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
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Written by Larry McNally, 2012. Draft French translation and entered into Archeion, Adele Torrance 2018. French proofreading by Céline Mongeau, Linda Larocque Linguistic Services, 06-2018.
Hand, Mike. (2000). Iron, Steam and Wood: 150 Years with the Waterous Engine Works Company. St. George, Ont.: M. Hand.