Know Your Travelling Salesmen!- Professor Dorenwend

Know Your Travelling Salesmen!- Professor Dorenwend


January 1900 Carleton Place Herald

Found by Josh Greer- and property of Lisa and Brad Occomore of Valley Granite and Tile 



The Ontario hair business all changed with the 1880 arrival of a German couple named Dorenwend. Hildebert opened a barber shop and Anna set up a beauty shop, both in the city of Toronto. They soon joined forces and took their “hairy” dog and pony show on the road.

They barbered, they shaved, dressed, rinsed, dyed, made chignons, wigs and toupees, cured dandruff and people waited in line for their help. Somewhere in the 1885-1886 era Anna disappeared from city records and no one knows if they were married or just joined at the hip as family. Soon after that “ole” Hildebert took a bride who was a boarder of his residence and also worked in his shop.

Dorenwend’s business escalated and he rented more space and he also began a perfume business. He soon took on a cousin named Christian to help him out and it appeared that he was being groomed to take over the business some day. However, I guess the hair business wasn’t hair raising enough for him so he invented the  Dorenwend Electric Belt and Attachment Co. instead.




In 1891, Christian Dorenwend left the hair works and tried to build his own business selling an electrifying invention of his own.  Hildebert must’ve been pretty supportive of the venture because he let him use the 103 Yonge storefront for the company.  It was now the Dorenwend Electric Belt and Attachment Co. Was it for weight loss? No, not on your life– it was actually to better your health by zapping your organs. That lasted a few years and then gradually lost “its life current” as a much needed personal body invention.

The Paris Hair Works, now known as the Dorenwend Company of Toronto, had now opened a successful branch in Ottawa. Hildebert and his family moved out of the rooms above the shop and were now living in a grand style.  All things must come to an end and Dorenwend died in 1920 and soon afterwards his wife and children moved to California. What happened to his business? Like today, a larger company took the company over. A precursor to the hair extension business of today?


Clipped from The Daily Herald,  12 Dec 1905, Tue,  Page 7



More things that came to the Mississippi Hotel-Bring your war horses January 26 to the Mississippi Hotel 1917- Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 22 Jan 1917, Mon, Page 10

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Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)



Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

Are You Giving Me a Perm or Making Egg Sandwiches?

Part 5-What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar


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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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