Goldie McCulloch Wheelock Engines

Goldie McCulloch Wheelock Engines

Goldie McCulloch Wheelock Engines

G.M.Wheelock engine

In 1854, Scottish immigrant John Goldie was hired at the Crombie foundry in Galt, Ontario as a millwright. When the owner put the foundry up for sale, Goldie and his friend and fellow employee put up $4000 as a down payment to buy it against total price of $50,000. The new partnership was named Goldie McCulloch & Company, and they set to work with 22 employees. Within a few years, they expanded the product line to include flour, woodworking and sawmill machinery and steam engines. By 1871, their employment was over 200 and additions had been made to their buildings near the Grand River.

Wheelock engine crankshaft

Taking a License for the Corliss design of valve gear, additional emphasis was placed on production of large, slow speed horizontal steam engines. When Wheelock in the USA came up with a patented design improvement on the Corliss valve control, Goldie obtained the Canadian license, giving them an engine with exceptional accuracy in speed control.

By 1879, their engine catalog listed some 210 manufacturers and 23 electric power companies who were Wheelock engine customers. The engines were available in a large range of sizes from 81/2” bore x 24” stroke to 24” bore x 54” stroke. Over the next fifty years, they built and sold over 2,000 of this type of engine, some with flywheels weighing in excess of 12 tons and rated as high as 500 horse power at 85 rpm.


Oakville Basket Co. engine

These slow running monsters powered factories for many years, and although most of them have been destroyed when replaced with electric motors, a few have survived and can be seen today. One engine that powered the huge Kaufman shoe factory in Kitchener (Berlin) for almost fifty years is now the main display at the entrance to the Waterloo Region Museum. Another that powered the Oakville Basket Co. is displayed on Cornwall road near Trafalgar in Oakville.

Close up of Wheelock engine valve linkage

At steam shows around southern Ontario, a working Wheelock engine mounted on a large trailer is shown regularly, its huge flywheel slowly rotating, the huge piston moving in and out, and the Wheelock valve gear moving through its complex linkage. Another working antique can be seen in the Ontario Steam Museum near Puslinch.

See history of this company in my book Where Did They Go