I had become acquainted with the Ryan family, who lived next to the mill I operated in 1876. It appears the boys in the mill would put a nail on the end of the pole and pick the apples of their trees. The Ryans would come to me to remonstrate. This was about the time that the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was in the air. *Mr. Hugh Ryan was a railway contractor, and one of the big men of the day. We happened to meet about the year 1879 or 1880 and he suggested that I turn my yarn into socks.
That idea from Mr. Ryan furnished me the germ that led me into the knitting game. I immediately procured some machines in Georgetown, Ontario. I obtained permission to inspect a small mill in the locality, came home and started experimenting in a room in what is now the *Maloney Block. Later I built a small frontal addition on the Haggart premises, and commenced making what has been known ever since as the Code Sock. We are still making it today in 1929 with very little change. Like everything else I attempted it when I had no previous experience. Had I had the experience I might have been broader, but caution was the keynote.
This article, being about the first of its kind machine made, was much in demand, and I operated the little plant night and day for a time. Messrs. Gault Bros. of Montreal took my output for two years paying me cash every month. This made it easy to finance; previously I had found it difficult to finance the buying of wool.
About the year 1882 I received notice from Edward Elliott, Barrister, that Messrs. McLaren & McNee who operated the Haggart flour mill at the time, requested him to give me notice that they had first right to the water and that I would have to close down until the next *freshet. I went to see Mr. McLaren (later the honourable Peter) and I remember his stern reply,
“I do not know you!”
Notwithstanding that I had done his portaging years before under his own eye, I remember him swearing at the old wagon I drove. I conjured to myself: “You will know me later!” And Peter McLaren did.
This was the time of the Winnipeg boom, and the fever was in the air. Being closed up by McLaren was a great loss to me. The *Kilpatrick Tannery was for sale, and I bought it for $2750. I made the necessary alterations, and with more room the change– as I see it– was all for the best. I still continued the sale of socks, mitts, yarn and druggett blankets in the mill, which practically paid the overhead. With experience I could handle almost any machine in the mill, and this made that part of the overhead much less. From time to time I found it necessary to make variety as the home market being limited and competition was growing.
I went to Winnipeg in 1883, going by the U.S route. When I was there I saw what was called a German fulled sock. This sock was a solid fulled fabric, the leg reaching to the knee stringed and tasselled. I learned that this article was made at the *C. E. Wakeman & Co. in Pontiac, Michigan. On my way home I called at this place, but admission to the mill was refused. Later in the day I chased up a knitter from this mill and bargained with him for ten dollars to give me the information I sought. I then bought 11 machines, and on the arrival of the machines in Perth I knit the first pair myself. The following season, having bargained with three firms to take my output. I sold the Ames Holden Co, from Montreal, goods to the value of $16,000 and the other two firms took the output. Having the initiative I landed with about 84 numbers or styles in mitts and socks. Some of them were specials, and the maker to some extent fixed the price of specials.
Later I invented the Code Loop Sock which I patented. This had a long run. Rumpel of Berlin from Kitchener, Ontario undertook to make it so I sued him. He paid me a royalty for 5 years.
Next- The Perth Woollen Company is Formed-1897
*RYAN, HUGH, businessman and philanthropist; b. July 1832 in County Limerick (Republic of Ireland), eldest son of Martin Ryan and Margaret Conway; m. 20 March 1858 Margaret Walsh in Perth, Upper Canada, and they had four sons and four daughters; d. 13 Feb. 1899 in Toronto.
In 1841 Hugh Ryan immigrated with his family to a farm near Montreal. At age 18 he took a construction job on the St Lawrence and Atlantic Rail-road, an experience that would lead him to make public works, especially railways, his life’s work. Many of the family moved to Perth in the 1850s, where Hugh and his brother John formed H. and J. Ryan and obtained contracts to build two sections of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway. Read more here..
*Maloney Block Perth-Aug. 23, 1946 – MESSERS RICHARD MILLS and WILFRED HORROBIN purchased the Maloney Block on Gore Street.
*The first industrial process on the Code’s Mill site, was a tannery owned by the Kilpatrick Family in 1842. A town plan for 1863, shows the outline of the factory, similar to the building which now stands there.
*HOSIERY. — Gottlieb Hecker und Soehne, Chemnitz, Germany. Application filed May 24, 1883. …FULLED KNIT WOOLEN GOODS.–C. E. Wakeman & Co., Pontiac, Mich. Application filed April 27, 1883.
Note—When the post office opened in 1851 a clerical error resulted in the community being called Innisville. The error was never corrected.
The first industrial process on the site was operated by the Kilpatrick family beginning in 1842 and established as a tannery shortly thereafter. In 1882 a new owner, Thomas Alfred Code, established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including: carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts. Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998.
51 Herriott – The Code Mill is actually a collage of five different buildings dating from 1842. T.A. Code moved to Perth in 1876, and bought this property by 1883. Code spent 60 years in business in Perth. The business started with a contract to supply the North West Mounted Police with socks, and continued for many years manufacturing felt for both industrial and commercial uses.
Code Felt Co today– Click here..
In the 1883, Mr. T. A. Code established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including: carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts. Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998. The following year, John Stewart began a major restoration and introduced new uses for this landmark. This impressive limestone complex with its central atrium now has an interesting mix of commercial tenants.-Perth Remembered
How did I get this?
I purchased this journal online from a dealer in California. I made every attempt to make sure the journal came back to its rightful location. Every day I will be putting up a new page so its contents are available to anyone. It is a well worn journal full of glued letters and newspaper clippings which I think belonged to Code’s son Allan at one point. Yes there is lots of genealogy in this journal. I am going to document it page by page. This journal was all handwritten and hand typed. Read-More Local Treasure Than Pirate’s Booty on Treasure Island
How did it get into the United States? The book definitely belonged to Allan Code and he died in Ohio in 1969.
Allan Leslie Code
1896–1969 — BIRTH 27 MAR 1896 • Ontario—DEATH JUN 1969 • Mentor, Lake, Ohio, USA
Andrew Haydon–He was the author of Pioneer Sketches of The District of Bathurst (Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Ontario) (The Ryerson Press, 1925) and Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party (Allen, 1930).
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)