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CANADIAN NOTES

Author Photo
By H. S. Turner, Goderich

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Front end view as the Huber made the incline. Mr. A. S. Losh is on the platform From the 1908 catalogue of Milford Rees
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Here is a stunt you can have a lot of fun with. You can also demonstrate your skill. It does not have to be a Huber either. The block is 30 inches high. Notice how the blocking is built up so as to make it a flexible mounting. From the 1908 catalog
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Another type of demonstration the Huber made at the Fairs. Not a bad one at that. From the 1908 catalogue of Milford Rees.
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Ontario, Can.

Being almost completely surrounded by water, it was only natural
that the early settlement of Upper Canada, now the Province of
Ontario, should begin at the lakes shores and river banks and
gradually work inland.

Daniel Macpherson first saw the light of day at Helmsdale,
Sutherland, Scotland, and when he was only three years old his
parents decided to emigrate and try their fortune in the New World.
In 1819 the family arrived by boat at Port Talbot, and locate 1 in
the settlement being developed by Col. Talbot on the north shore of
Lake Erie. Here young Daniel grew up and married the daughter of
another pioneer family by the name of Ferguson. To the union were
born eight sons and one daughter.

Inheriting much mechanical ability, Daniel was always
‘fixing things’ as a boy and when he ‘grew older he
made up his mind to manufacture implements to meet the needs of the
pioneer settlers. In 1847 he made a trip to Lockport, New York, to
endeavour to secure experienced workmen. Here he enlisted the
services of William Glasgow, a woodworker, and Metthias Hovey, an
ironworker and the following year they built a small shop and
foundry in the nearby village of Fingal, Ontario, and began the
manufacture of pioneer tools and implements of many kinds.

The firm was called Macpherson, Glasgow and Company Their
products met with ready sale and before many years the small shop
had grown into an extensive establishment. Meanwhile roads were
being built inland and settlers following in large numbers. To
supply their needs Daniel Macpherson chose the village of Clinton,
sixty miles north of the centre of the fast developing Huron Tract,
as the location for a branch factory. In 1861 he had his new
establishment built in Clinton and the following year sent William
Glasgow, his own son D. F. (Ferg.) Macpherson and Mr. Hovey’s
son Charles to manage it. The branch plant assumed the name
Glasgow, Macpherson and Company, the reverse of the parent
title.

Both factories built ploughs, cultivators, straw cutters, grain
crushers, etc., and the Fingal plant experimented with threshing
machinery until they perfected the ‘Climax’ apron type
thresher in 1869. This machine met with early success and the
demand caused both plants to concentrate on the production of horse
powers and threshing machines. The first shipment of twelve Climax
machines was made to Manitoba in 1876 The following year they were
improved by the adoption of an end shake shoe and the ‘End
Shake Climax’ continued in general favour for many years. With
the advent of the vibrator type machines the right to manufacture
the ‘Minnesota Chief’ separator in Canada was acquired from
Sevmour, Sabin and Co., Stillwater, Minn. This machine combined the
best points of the vibrator and apron threshers. Twenty seven were
built in 1879 and their production continued and increased along
with the Climax machines.

It is believed that no steam engines were built at the Fingal
plant although an old sales record shows 12 were sold in 1876. The
following is recorded in the 1877 Historical Atlas of Elgin County.
‘Their Monitor steam engine has been awarded first prize at the
N. Y. State Fair, Rochester, 1874, Eastern N. Y. Fair, Albany,
1875, N. Y. State Fair, Elmira, 1875, and Provincial Exhibition,
Hamilton, Ont., 1876. For durability, convenience, and economy it
has no equal, and it is lightest for its capacity of any engine
made. It is so constructed as to be turned or cramped as short as a
city hack, and requires no levelling, blocking or staking. This
engine can be set and steam raised in less time than it takes alone
to set a horizontal engine. The boiler is upright and the smoke
stack is provided with a perfect spark arrester, thereby insuring
safety from loss by fire.’ In all probability the engines
referred to were built in the United States. No records exist to
show the extent of these importations and company advertisements in
farm journals of the early 1880’s do not. mention steam
engines.

Any consideration of building engines at the branch factory was
squelched by the explosion of the first steam engine brought into
the district. This tragic accident occured January 21, 1800 about
four miles south of Clinton. The boiler was of the horizontal type
built in Brampton, Ont., and the explosion, believed to have been
caused by low water, killed one man and seriously injured a number
of others who had gathered to see the much talked about machine
work. Needless to say, it was many years before another steam
engine ventured into the district.

Following the death of William Glasgow in 1882, the two
establishments became more or less independent. In Fingal Daniel
Macpherson and Metthias Hovey carried on as Macpherson and Company,
and continued to build the ‘End Shake Climax’ as long as
the demand for an apron type lasted. A new separator which they
named the ‘Challenge’ was developed and perfected for the
Eastern trade and the well known Battle Creek ‘Advance’
separators were built for their Western customers. Daniel
Macpherson died May 25, 1895 in his 7!lth year. After his death his
sons John and Edward continued the business for two years and then
sold all their patterns to the firm of George White and Sons of
London, Ont., who continued to build the well known
‘Challenge’ separators for many years. Metthias Hovey, the
third member of the original partners, died at Fingal, August 9,
1903, at the ripe old age of 87.

After the death of Mr. Glasgow, W. W. Farran entered the firm at
the Clinton plant and along with D. F. Macpherson and Charles Hovey
continued to operate as Farran, Macpherson and Hovey. The
production of ‘End Shake Climax’ and ‘Minnesota
Chief’ threshers for steam and horsepower was continued without
a break until they were gradually replaced by a newer machine which
the firm named the ‘Monarch’ separator. Mr. Farran left the
firm about 1890 and Mr. Macpherson and Mr. Hovey carried on as
Macpherson and Hovey Co.

The beginning of the century found the firm with outdated
equipment trying to compete with firms using the latest in tools
and machinery. With the prospects of the threshing machine industry
never better, the results were discouraging. Realizing the
situation, a group of six Clinton businessmen organized as The
Clinton Thresher Co., Limited, and, in 1902, took over the plant,
installed new machinery, enlarged the foundry and built an up to
date boiler shop. The new company continued to build the
‘Monarch’ separator which had been on the market for
fifteen or sixteen years. It was built in the 32 and 36 inch
cylinder sizes with four body widths up to 60 inches and featured a
series of lifting fingers and kicker forks over the straw deck. As
the demand came for wind stackers and self feeders they were added
and plans were made to incorporate the Stewart patent rear end
straw cutting attachment.

With the forming of the new company arrangements were made with
the Marion Manufacturing Co., Marion, Ohio, to build their well
known ‘Leader’ threshing engines in Canada. These engines
were of the open bottom locomotive boiler type with simple side
crank engines mounted with the cylinder at the smoke box end. These
traction engines mounted were side mounted and built in two sizes.
Eighteen hp with 8×12 inch cylinder for Ontario and 20 hp with
81/2×12 inch cylinder for Western Canada. The reverse gear was of
the shifting eccentric type. the flat spiral shifting device
revolving with the crank shaft.

Tragedy struck swiftly Monday morning, May 13th, 1907 Sparks
from a newly lighted forge fire blew into an opened door and
ignited the pile of shavings around a planer. Fanned by a wind of
gale proportions the plant was an inferno in a matter of seconds
and the employees were unable to save any of the finished or partly
completed separators or engines. Near by buildings caught fire and
only with the help of fire fighting apparatus from nieghboring
towns were the spreading flames brought under control.

Not more than fifty ‘Leader’ engines were built. They
were well adapted to Canadian conditions and many gave long and
excellent service. The Bell Engine and Thresher Co., of Seaforth,
Ont., undertook to supply repairs for ‘Monareh’ separators
after the fire.

With the complete loss of plant, machinery and patterns the firm
was unable to recover from the stunning blow. The demon
‘fire’ had destroyed in minutes what had taken years to
build

Published on May 1, 1952

Farm Collector Magazine

Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment