The Woodstock Waterworks Page

The Oxford Foundry And Engine Works, Beachville, Ontario

R. Whitelaw, Oxford Foundry, Woodstock, Ontario

The Whitelaw Foundry And Machine Shop, Woodstock, Ontario





We know from the information above that R. Whitelaw provided 35 fire hydrants for the town of Woodstock, Ontario in 1880. We don't know what type of hydrants they were or what they looked like. Then in 1889, 79 more hydrants were added to the water system, provided by Coffin Valve. Then in 1891, 120 more hydrants were added to the water system, provided by Ludlow. If you have any information about these hydrants, please e-mail us.

The Whitelaw Company -Robert Whitelaw was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland in 1827. The first foundry of the Company was established west of Woodstock in 1856. Eighteen years later he located in Woodstock proper. Business was good and the Company prospered. Mr. Whitelaw began to seek means of expanding his business.
Mr. Whitelaw must have been a very busy man during these years when he was building and managing his Company, as he had the time, talent and energy to be very active in the municipal affairs of the town of Woodstock. He served on the town council and also on the water and light committee.
In 1874 when the plant was considering an expansion program, the town of Woodstock was in complete agreement with the Company. The town council must have had confidence and high respect for Robert Whitelaw and his Company as they offered Mr. Whitelaw a grant of $8,000.00 which would not have to be repaid, if his factory continued to reproduce equipment in Woodstock for eight years. The same Company in the same building is still in business today, 100 years later.
The grant agreement between the town of Woodstock and Mr. Whitelaw specified that his factory make certain agricultural machinery such as steam engines, portable and stationary, separators, turbines, sawing machines, cheese making equipment, and castings.

In 1874 when the Company was rebuilt and the machinery shop and foundry were consolidated in the town of Woodstock, it was known as The Oxford Machine and Foundry, R. Whitelaw. The Whitelaw stationary boiler was very popular in this area. Machine shops, hospitals, commercial buildings, saw and grist mills etc. obtained their heat and power from these boilers

The Company has had several changes in management down through the years. Robert Whitelaw died in 1920 and his son Oscar took over the business which was later managed by the company's Secretary - Treasurer, Joseph Schaeffer, and was finally sold in 1944 to a former employee, S. J. Harrison, whose wife was President in 1975, of what is now known as Whitelaw Machinery Co. Ltd.

The company was founded in 1856 and still exists today (2011) as Whitelaw Machinery Company Ltd. -572 Main St, Woodstock - (519) 539-1287.

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Unknown WW Hydrant


According to the Woodstock Museum, this is a Whitelaw fire hydrant made circa 1920. This dry barrel hydrant was buried 5.5 feet into the ground. A 1" rod operated a compression valve into the water main. Most hydrants have a drain hole to drain the remaining water in the barrel, however the Whitelaw hydrants needed to be pumped out. There are 30 to 50 working parts in each hydrant. The inner workings are made of brass.

WW logo on both sides
Date: Circa 1920

WW logo on both sides If you have any info about this hydrant model, please e-mail us.

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