The History of a Foundry

| March/April 1986

Peter Street Mildmay, Ontario N0G 2J0

Around 1870, John Beam, a farmer from Baden, Ontario, patented a balanced sectional deck thresher which operated by a double set of crankshafts driven by two spur gears on the outside of the separator. This improvement was used by Simpson Merner on his New Hamburg threshers and the rights were also purchased by Jacob Bricker.

Jacob Bricker built a small shop in Waterloo, Ontario in 1850 and made tools and implements and, finally, threshing machines. In 1870 he purchased the Buehler Foundry Co. and operated it as the Waterloo Foundry, making threshers exclusively. In 1880 Jacob and his brother Levi formed a partnership under the name of Bricker & Co., and the trade name 'Lion Brand' was used for their product. E.W.B. Snider purchased the Bricker Co. plant and began manufacturing a new threshing machine which he named the 'Champion' and later made traction engines under the name Waterloo Manufacturing Co. The 'Champion' thresher was built until the 1940's, at which time the company took over the distributorship of the 'Belle City' threshing machine in Ontario.

During the 1850's a new section of Western Ontario known as the 'Queens Bush' was being opened up for settlement. In 1863 Samuel Merner arrived in Carrick Township and built the Royal Hotel on a corner and a store across the road. This community became known as Mernersville, and in 1868, with the establishment of a post office, was renamed Mildmay, Ontario.

Samuel Merner had been born in Switzerland in 1823, and came to Canada in 1837. Learning the blacksmith trade in Preston, Ontario, he opened a shop in New Hamburg in 1844 making farm implements and he became very successful. His oldest son, Simpson, established the New Hamburg Manufacturing Co., and Samuel Merner's Waterloo foundry was purchased by the Waterloo Mfg. Company.

A foundry was built beside Otter Creek in Mildmay, Ontario in 1877 and after changing hands several times, with additions and machinery being installed, was purchased by Henry Spitzig, a foundry man from Waterloo, Ontario, in 1883.