Famous Joseph Fleury Jr. Plows – Part II

Joseph Fleury Jr. and his family made their mark on agricultural implement manufacturing in Canada.

| April 2003

Editor's note: This is part II of a III part series, read part I here. Joseph Fleury Jr. launched an agricultural implement manufacturing enterprise in 1859 that eventually became J. Fleury's Sons Co., Ltd. of Aurora, Ontario, Canada. The firm manufactured 22 models of single-furrow walking plows, a number of other agricultural implements, and home and forest machinery well into the 20th century. The products were sold worldwide. In 1937, the company merged with T.E. Bissell Co., an Elora, Ontario, producer of coulters and discs, and the new firm, which operated until 1969, was called Fleury Bissell Co. Ltd. Following is the second in a three-part series that reports on the history of the Fleury firm, written by Bruce F. Fleury, a direct descendant of Joseph Fleury Jr.

Joseph Fleury Jr. initiated business as a blacksmith in 1859 in Machell's Corner (now Aurora), Ontario, Canada. After only a short time, however, he moved on to design and build experimental single-furrow walking plows, and established the Aurora Agricultural Works on Wellington Street, near Yonge Street in Aurora.

Fleury's cast iron plow beams proved more durable and maneuver-able than the wood-beamed imported European plows more commonly found on Canadian farms of that day. Farmers quickly recognized the advantage offered by Fleury's product, and his business soon enjoyed great success.

During Fleury's most active business period, the 1860s and most of the 1870s, he developed 22 different models of the single-furrow walking plows. During the firm's first 50 years, it turned out more than 100,000 plows - some 40 a week - that were sold coast to coast in Canada, and exported to the United States and other countries around the world.

The famous plows

Different models of Fleury plows were designed to meet every need that might arise for farmers. The single-furrow walking plows were identified by either numbers, names or both. Among those with double designations were the "Dandy," also known as the famous No. 21; the "Farmer's Friend," or No. 11; and "Louise," No. 17.

Single-furrow walking plows that were assigned only names included the "Little Queen," which the company promoted as "highly esteemed in the Maritime Provinces," and the "New Canada." Numbered designations ranged from five to 60, but not consecutively. Little is known about how and why the numbers were selected. Tinker-patented wheel plows were similarly identified, although their numbers did not range as high as those given to the walking plows.