Mike Hand Books

Ontario Industrial Histories

Month: September 2015

Leonard steam engine spotlighted

On a recent visit to Edmonton, we took a detour to the small town of Wetaskiwin where I was able to fulfil my long desire to see the Reynolds Alberta museum. The huge pieces of steam equipment lining the drive into the museum were almost worth the visit.

But on entering the modern museum building, I was fascinated to see a huge horizontal engine spotlighted in the glassed in entrance. Polished like new, its steel parts glistening, the huge flywheel turned over slowly as an electric motor cycled the engines piston and elaborate valve gear.

The surprise, on studying the placard inside the building more closely, was to find that the engine was made in London, Ontario by the E. Leonard & Sons Company. The surprise part was that I was unaware that the company had made steam engines of this size, equalling those made in Galt by the Goldie McCulloch Company. It was a great entrance installation, and was matched by the exhibits of machinery and equipment inside.

Leonard engine

Leonard engine in Wetaskiwin museum entrance

Read the history of the Leonard Company in my book “Steam Engines and Threshers”.

Into the light

An old Waterous boiler was in the news recently during the renovation of an old apartment building that in earlier years had been an Eaton store, at 90, Colborne St. E. in Brantford. The boiler was part of the old heating system in the cavernous basement.

Waterous boiler door

Boiler door before removal

The building was rebuilt in 1915 after being gutted in a fire and the boiler was installed sometime later. The name cast into the boiler door shows “Waterous Limited”, indicating it was made some time after 1926, the year when the company name was changed from “Waterous Engine Works” to “Waterous Limited”.

The new owners retained the old doors from the boiler, cleaned and repainted them. They now adorn the foyer of the renovated building in recognition of this venerable old company that is an integral part of Brantford’s industrial legacy.

Waterous boiler door after restoration

Boiler door mounted in foyer after restoration

You can read more about the Waterous company in my book “Iron, Steam and Wood”.

Spotted in the Wild: 1885 Adams Wagon

On a recent visit to the Waterloo Regional Museum, I had the pleasure of being escorted around the museum’s storage warehouse, an area one could spend hours investigating. What did I see – an Adams wagon with its original paint job and logo – somewhat faded. When I checked the serial number, and went back to my records, I found that it was made around 1885 in the Paris factory, some fifteen years before they moved to a new factory in Brantford.

1885 Adams Wagon

This is the oldest Adams wagon that I have seen, or have knowledge of. And it was in completely undamaged condition. Look forward to when the museum sees fit to put in in a display in the public part of the museum.

I talk more about Adams wagon in my book “From Wagon to Trailer


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