CANADIAN NOTES


| January/February 1952



Goodison Traction Engine

The Goodison Traction Engine

Goderich, Ontario, Can. THE 'GOODISON' MACHINERY

John McCloskey was born in Ireland in 1847. At the age of seventeen he came to Canada along with his parents three sisters and five brothers. The family located in the bush near the tiny settlement of Old castle, about eleven miles from the present city of Windsor, Ontario. Here the parents and younger children immediately began the task of clearing  the land and building a home while the older boys, who were trained mechanics, established a small carriage factory in the village.

In this shop John learned the trade of carriage maker and being mechanically minded he soon became an excellent workman and experienced no difficulty in finding employment wherever he went. While working in the Macpherson factory in Fingal. Ontario, he became deeply interested in threshing machinery and noting the problems facing the manufacturers of the new type vibrating machines that were replacing the older apron or canvass separators, he thought out a plan of balancing the motion of the straw deck and the grain shoe by means of a double throw crank shaft and constructed a working model which proved that he had discovered a solution to the problem of balance.

John McCloskey had his invention patented in 1881 and the London firm of Stevens, Turner and Burns began building the new machines for him and marketed them as the 'Canadian Thresher.' Four years later the royalty rights were acquired by David Darvil and Company of London, Ontario, who manufactured them as the. 'McCloskey Thresher.' Later still the Waterloo Manufacturing Co., built them for a short time as the 'Counterbalance Thresher.'

While John McCloskey was busy in London supervising the building of the McCloskey separators and improving them with additional patents another threshing machine company was developing at Sarnia, Ontario. Here the council of the fast growing border town were looking around for industries and, in 1851, induced J. F. Craig, who had been endeavoring to establish an agricultural implement factory in Strathroy, to move his works to Sarnia. Known as the Sarnia Agricultural Tmpleniient Association the new firm mide reapers, mowers, ploughs, corn shellers, etc. Its products were favorably received and for a few years the firm prospered. Ill-advised expansion in 1884 and an attempt to build and market binders forced the company into liquidation in 1856. The following year John Goodison, who had been general agent for the company, together with Geo. H. Samis purchased the interests and factory of the insolvent company and operated for a year, but under adverse circumstances, and were glad to enter into negotations with the Sawyer and Massey Company of Hamilton, Ontario, for the sale of their interests. Operations were continued as usual and John Goodison was retained as manager by the Hamilton firm.

John Goodison was not satisfied with the new arrangement and late in 1889 acquired sole ownership of the concern. The days of Sawyer and Massey control convinced him of the future of the threshing machine industry and he wisely abandoned the manufacture of reapers and ploughs and concentrated on threshing machinery. For a while he called his factory the Tunnel City Thresher Works but soon changed it to the John Goodlison Thresher Company. Meanwhile, the fame of the McCloskey thresher was spreading and in 1892 Mr. Goodison acquired the right to build these machines and persuaded John McCloskey to move to Sarnia and work in his factory. The years that, followed saw the firm prospering and soon the Goodison 'New McCloskey' threshers were favorably known throughout both Eastern and Western Canada.