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Business and History - Warden King Division of Crane Canada Limited

Warden King Division of Crane Canada Limited

This page was reproduced with permission from the Canadian Manufactures Association. The Canadian Manufacturers Association, renamed Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, holds the Copyright for the text and images.

This information came from Industry '67 Centennial Perspective, published by The Canadian Manufacturers' Association in May 1967. The original document is accessible through Western Libraries Shared Catalogue.


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Warden King was 29 years old when, in 1852, he read in the Montreal Transcript and Commercial Advertiser an ad that said, "By auction 'he whole of the St. Mary Foundry tools and stock will be sold on the 30th June . . . the whole of the stock-in-trade of the above establishment . . . And, immediately after the above Sale, will be Sold a lease of the foundry and shops, for the Term of Three or Five years."

St. Mary's foundry in old MontrealWarden King and his friend George Rogers, a foreman at the St. Mary Foundry, decided to seize the opportunity. Six weeks later the firm of Rogers and King was born.

In 1855, as the lease to the foundry was running out, Warden King purchased building lots for 100 pounds in the "St. Lawrence suburb". This modest advertisement appeared in the Montreal Directory of 1856-57: "Rogers & King have Removed Their Foundry to No. 85 Craig Street Where All Kinds of Castings are done At Reasonble Prices."

The young company specialized in the potash trade, turning out heavy, cast-iron potash kettles, 45-gallon sugar coolers for farmers making maple syrup, cast-iron railings for cemeteries and private estates, and circular iron stairs. Since the potash trade was conducted almost exclusively by Rogers & King, their name became widely known.

Rogers & King began experimenting in boilers. By 1866, with the help of one of their employees, Archibald Spence, they were ready to market their first hot water heater, the Beehive. This was followed by the Gem and, in 1874, Spence's Hot Water Boiler. The Warden King slogan, "The Grand Old Name In Heating", was inspired by these years of pioneering.

In 1870 George Rogers retired and sold out his Interest in the business. The name Rogers & King survived until 1887 when it was changed to Warden King. At about that time Mr. King's young son, James Cochrane King, went into the foundry to learn the moulder's craft, as his father had done before him.

Warden King successfully weathered the economic storms of the time, and 1886 marks a memorable date in their story: a new domestic boiler was patented, the "Daisy". Thousands were thus introduced to the comforts of central heating. The advertising was calculated to allay the fears of those to whom the word boiler meant a threat. "Hot water is the only absolutely safe system," they announced, "it is as harmless as the tea kettle on the kitchen stove." By 1904, thousands of "Daisies" were in use in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia, and South Africa. More than 45,000 of these boilers, some converted to oil, still give dependable service today.

In 1888 the name of the firm became Warden King & Son. It was turning out boilers, soil pipe and fittings, feed boxes for horses, wrought iron stall guards, whip racks, hitching posts, dumb waiters, and coil screens for radiators.

Warden King died in 1895 at the age of 72. The old name of the firm remained until 1901 when it obtained a Quebec Charter under the name Warden King & Son Ltd. In 1907, a federal charter was obtained under the name Warden King Ltd., with James Cochrane King as president.

In the early 1900's, the new president bought land in the growing industrial suburb of Maisonneuve. By 1907 the move was completed. The making of soil pipe and fittings was the "bread and butter" of the business. They made new refinements and introduced the "continuous pouring process."

Minor depressions throughout the years gave James Cochrane King many troubles. After much thought, and his own lack of a son to take some of the responsibility, King discussed the future of his business with J. Austin Murphy, vice-president of Crane Limited. This led, in 1926, to the purchase of the company by Crane Limited. Warden King Ltd. retained its name and its identity, and concentrated its production in boilers, soil pipe and fittings, and radiators.