The St. Lawrence Foundry Company Page

 

William Hamilton & Son, Toronto, Ontario

St. Lawrence Foundry & Machine Shop, Toronto, Ontario

St. Lawrence Foundry Company, Toronto, Ontario

 

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This foundry’s importance was in the role it played in the manufacture of rolling stock for pioneer railway systems and castings and sewer pipes for municipal services and the construction industry.

William J. Hamilton was a Scottish iron founder, who moved to Toronto in 1850. After working for a short time for James Good and stove-maker J.R. Armstrong, he leased property in this block in 1851 and began to develop the St. Lawrence Foundry. In 1856, he was joined by his son, William M., in a partnership called William Hamilton and Son. When it started they specialized in the manufacture of castings of all kinds for buildings and industrial uses. By 1871 the foundry complex filled the entire block. In 1870, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway engaged this foundry to construct 88 passenger and freight cars, and in the following year to construct 100 cars. Orders from other companies followed: the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway, the Grand Trunk Railway, the Northern Railway of Canada, the Midland Railway, the Inter colonial Railway, and from the Canada Rolling Stock Company, a railway car leasing firm. In 1873, they opened the St. Lawrence Car Wheel Foundry on the northwest corner of Front and Cherry Streets. By this date, the original foundry building was surrounded by other structures: many sheds, an office, a bolt and spike shop, a car factory, a boiler room, a machine shop, a shed workshop, and at the southwest corner of the block a house.

Economic reversals later in 1873, forced a reassessment. All car production was stopped and the car wheel division was sold to the Toronto Car Wheel Company. A fire, November 21, 1876, destroyed most of the foundry .Some portions and equipment were saved and some rebuilt. In 1878 William J. turned over the company to his son, who reorganized the firm as the St. Lawrence Foundry Company of Toronto Limited, and concentrated on the manufacture of castings, sewer pipes, etc. The last Hamilton to be associated with the company was Frederick J., After the company was sold in 1900, it became Canada Foundry Company, manufacturing cast iron pipes. The plant was closed and vacant by 1917, later to be demolished.

 

William Hamilton owned and operated the St. Lawrence Foundry at 206 Front Street East in Toronto. The foundry first went into business around 1852, and by 1872 they were manufacturing railway cars, cast iron water pipe, fences, grilles, and iron staircases.

Albert Furniss owned the first water system in Toronto. His company was called Furniss Works. In 1873 Furniss Works was taken over by the city of Toronto. The city formed a new public company called the Toronto Waterworks Company. Toronto must have continued to operate the existing system as it was because it was not updated until around 1886. It was in 1886 that William Hamilton was known to have been the Manager of the Toronto Waterworks. His son William Jr. took over running the foundry. It must not be coincidence that around the same time Toronto was having the TWW hydrant made in the St. Lawrence Foundry.

The St. Lawrence Foundry Co. of Toronto, as it was called at the time, was sold in 1900 to W.D. Matthews.

 

Barrel circumference measurements are taken around the barrel just above the chain lugs. The height measurements are taken from the top of the operating nut down to the ground line.

Click on any thumbnail to view larger picture


Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges

Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: Not dated
V.O.: Unknown
Height: 31.5"
Barrel circumference: 20"
Notes: This is the earliest known model. Very thin flared nozzle bosses. Also the 'TWW' logo has very thin letters. Original one piece bonnet. Made prior to 1899.

Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges

Side view

Since these models have no markings on them it is impossible to know for certain which foundry they were made in. It is only speculated that they were made in the St. Lawrence Foundry since it existed up until around 1900.

Diagram of the TWW hydrant from 1892.

 

Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges.

Front view

Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: Not dated
V.O.: Unknown
Height: 31.5"
Barrel circumference: 20"
Made prior to 1899.

Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges

Back view

Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges

Side view

Since these models have no markings on them it is impossible to know for certain which foundry they were made in. It is only speculated that they were made in the St. Lawrence Foundry since it existed up until around 1900.

Small Size (Type 1)- Two bonnet ridges

Bonnet view

We do not have any of the hydrants pictured below in our collection. We have included them here for historical reference only. If you can help us obtain any of these hydrants, please contact us.

 

test tst  
Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: unknown
V.O.: Unknown
Logo view We do not have one of these hydrants in our collection. We have included it here for historical reference only. If you can help us obtain any of these hydrants, please contact us.

 


   

Nozzles: 2x 2.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: 1894
V.O.: Unknown

Larger size type 2. Three bonnet ridges

We do not have one of these hydrants in our collection. We have included it here for historical reference only. If you can help us obtain any of these hydrants, please contact us.

 


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Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x blank pumper boss
Model#: Unknown
Date: 1899
V.O.: Unknown

Close up of date

Larger size type 2. Three bonnet ridges

We do not have one of these hydrants in our collection. We have included it here for historical reference only. If you can help us obtain any of these hydrants, please contact us.


   

Nozzles: 2x 2.5", 1x 4" pumper
Model#: Unknown
Date: Unknown
V.O.: Unknown

Larger size type 2. Three bonnet ridges

We do not have one of these hydrants in our collection. We have included it here for historical reference only. If you can help us obtain any of these hydrants, please contact us.
 

Nozzles: 4x 2.5"
Model#: Unknown
Date: 1899
V.O.: Unknown

  Close up of date Bonnet view

 



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