This essay was written in c 1959. It was copied from the Canadian Register of Commerce & Industry held in the Western Libraries at the University of Western Ontario. The original article should be consulted since this copy may contain some errors. The text and/or the images are being made available to researchers for scholarly purposes. They should not be used for commercial gain without the permission of the author or publisher.
The history of this firm can be traced back to the early years of industrial development in the Province of Ontario.
In 1834 a partnership was formed in Brockville, Ontario, between Sylvester Skinner and William McCullough. The partnership known as Skinner and McCullough produced harvesting goods such as scythes, snaths and grain cradles, etc.
In 1857 Sylvester Skinner bought out his partner and moved the business to a much larger plant in Gananoque, Ontario. Sylvester Skinner's two eldest sons Amasa and Sylvester Case were admitted into partnership and at this time the enterprise became known as The Globe Works. The manufacture of other products such as hames, crosscut saw handles, steel snow shovels, saddlery and carriage hardware contributed to the growth and success of the business.
After the death of Sylvester Skinner and his eldest son Amasa, Sylvester Case Skinner incorporated the concern under a Provincial Charter, and so it was that in 1898 the firm became known as the Skinner Company Limited with as its first president, Sylvester Case Skinner.
Sylvester Case Skinner wassucceeded on his death in 1903 by his son Fred. James Skinner who then became the company's second president. Under the leadership of Fred. James Skinner, the company began to manufacture, in 1910, round bar bumpers. However, World War I interrupted this program and during hostilities the company manufactured such things as solid nickel bits, stirrups, buckles and miscellaneous hardware for the armed services.
After the war, the company again returned to peacetime activities and concentrated its efforts on the manufacture of bumpers for automobiles and sold this product to the jobbing trade. As the bumper business developed, the company became patent licensee of such concerns as the Metal Stamping Company of Long Island, New York; the C.G. Spring and Bumper Company of Detroit, Michigan, and the American Chain Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. These relationships resulted in the continued growth of the company and finally, in 1929, in the sale of the company by the Skinner family to the Houdaille-Hershey Corporation whose head office was located at that time in Chicago, Illinois.
Mr. Fred. James Skinner continued on as president and during 1930 a new plant was built in Oshawa, Ontario, and activities in the old Gananoque plant were discontinued.
Fred. James Skinner died in 1933, and was succeeded by his son Fred. Van Heusen Skinner, the company's third president. The company continued to prosper but with the advent of World War II it again devoted its entire efforts to the manufacture of military equipment: bumpers for army vehicles, rifle charger clips, machine gull links, bomb tails and parts for Snowmobiles.
In 1945 the company resumed the production of automobile bumpers, but on a scale that has required a considerable expansion of plant and facilities.
In 1952 the company's name was changed from the Skinner Company Limited to Houdaille-Hershey of Canada Limited, and in 1955, when Frederick James Skinner aucceeded his father and became the fourth president of the company, the name was changed to Houdaille Industries Limited in conformity with the change in the name of the Chicago corporation.