Bill LemayI remember riding my bike though the old building
Sheila MueckMy grandparents lived on the right in a duplex beside sadlers
Mary PasiekaQuestion: was that the only boathouse (on the right), or were there more further along?
David FlintI was told the concrete slabs are very thick and obviously expensive to remove and there was another story about the need for a sewage pump…maybe just rumours from the 1970’s.
David FlintWe lived right across the river from it….the lunch whistle was a familiar sound
Janet Roffey BustardDavid Flint I grew up in Napanee, Gibbard furniture was a major employer, much the same as Findlays. When they closed and sold the factory about 10 years ago the property was purchased by a developer and is in the process of being made into condos by the river. It would be great if something like that could happen here. It would take major $$ but it is such a lovely piece of property.
Marlene SpringerYes, I lived in the area in the 60’s and I hear the ground probably is and has to be cleaned before building which is very costly, like here in Perth on the Silversmiths site. Once that’s done they can build. I hope it’s suitable for the town next to the river within the core area.
Steven FlintMy Grandparents were right across the river. Used to ride my bike on the concrete slabs.
Sherene Baird FlintI use to live right beside Findlay Foundry’s lot. There were always speculation on what would be built there but supposedly the cement slabs were too deep to remove so nothing was done!
My Mary Cook
Builder of Findlay stoves dies at 86 By Mary Cook Citizen correspondent CARLETON PLACE –
William Fraser Findlay, one of the last surviving grandsons of the Scottish immigrant who built the world-famous Findlay Oval stove, died here Friday at the age of 86. An amateur historian and conservationist who believed people should be allowed to work as long as they are able to, Findlay died following a three-month illness. The funeral was held Sunday in Zion-Memorial United Church, where he was a life-long member.
With Findlay’s death goes a vast knowledge of Canada’s early stove industry. Once the centrepiece of every Canadian farm kitchen, the Findlay stove was banished to junk yards during the 1940s but enjoyed a renaissance in the 70s and ’80s as North Americans rediscovered the charm and efficiency of wood-fired stoves. The original Findlay stoves sold for $40. Restored, they now fetch $2,000 to $3,000 at auctions. Findlay’s grandfather, David Findlay, started Findlay’s Foundry in 1860 in Carleton Place and it continued as a family operation for more than a century.
A graduate in mechanical engineering from Montreal’s McGill University, Findlay was vice-president of manufacturing when the foundry was sold in 1965. The block-long building on High Street was torn down a few years ago. Findlay spent his entire working life in the business and saw the Findlay Oval and Forest Beauty gain prominence all over the world. He maintained a close relation ship with the hundreds of foundry employees and often said no one should be forced to retire just because he had reached the “mythical retirement age of 65.” When the foundry was sold, many Findlay employees were in their seventies, and some even in their eighties. The family-owned business had to be sold, Findlay said at the time, because it could no longer compete in the market place. An avid bird watcher, Findlay spent much of his life promoting conservation. He was considered one of the community’s most knowledgeable historians and could recall facts and figures of many years ago. He had only to be told a serial number on a Findlay appliance and could tell exactly when the product was made and who was working in the moulding shop at the time.
Findlay was a life-long member of the Mississippi Golf Club and the Carleton Place Curling Club. As a young man he was considered one of the area’s best all-round athletes. He was a paddler with Canada’s oldest canoe club here, played hockey, and was an outstanding inter-collegiate swimmer. Findlay is survived by his wife, Anna Rose, sons William of Carleton Place and Peter of Ottawa, daughters Catherine (wife of former cabinet minister and Conservative MP John Fraser) of Ottawa and Vancouver, and Jeanie (Mrs. Rene’ Gauthier) of Clarksburg. There are also 10 grandchildren. A sister, Rosamond Gillies, lives in Braeside.
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
20 Jan 1986, Mon • Page 3
The End of Era
Closure to By Brad Evenson Citizen staff writer CARLETON PLACE –
The first Findlay stove was poured, flue and firebox, into a casting mould by David Findlay 117 years ago, here along the banks of the Mississippi River. The last of the ornate cast-iron stoves, which still heat thousands of kitchens across Canada, may be poured this week as Findlay Foundry Ltd. shuts off its furnaces amid labor-management discord. The foundry is to close Friday, leaving 56 workers without jobs. Company president Bob Ivey, who was to meet with union members Tuesday to seek ways to save the plant, cancelled the meeting be cause of other appointments. Ivey says he cannot meet with employees before Thursday, a day before the planned closure. “We thought we would be able to turn the company around, but we haven’t,” said Ivey, who blames inefficiency for the plant’s troubles.
In April, after nine employees were laid off, union spokesman Milton Dennie admitted production was being hindered by disgruntled employees slacking off. The grey iron foundry makes cast iron mouldings for a wide range of companies, including a firm that markets the Findlay wood stoves. The closing of the foundry will end a legacy that began with $30 and some Scottish elbow grease in 1856.
David Findlay emigrated to Carleton Place from Paisley, Scotland, determined to make his fortune and establish a clan in a new country. Findlay eventually passed on a flourishing trade to his eight Canadian-born children. “Like most Scottish people, they were religious Presbyterian to the backbone,” says Norah Findlay, 82.
The Findlays made everything from plough tips to handrails for church pews, but the firm’s mainstay was its wood-burning stoves. In the pre-assembly line days of the late 1800s, each stove part was cast separately by moulders. The burly workers toted 60-pound ladles of red-hot iron all day. The molten metal was poured into a wood box of casting sand, with the center hollowed out.
Each stove has more than a dozen separate parts, and a good day’s work produced six stoves. Findlay’s. sons, David Jr. and William, took over the foundry in 1889 and expanded the company’s line of stoves to include dozens of new designs, ranging from potbellied chambers to elegant, nickel-plated works of art. They also copied other companies’ designs shamelessly. “If someone came up with something that was selling well, the others would come up with something almost exactly the same,” says Bill Findlay, 56, great-grandson of David Sr.
By the time Bill Findlay, an engineer, came along, the company was making electrical stoves and other appliances such as refrigerators. However, with a large rural population without electricity, demand for the wood stoves continued. “They made a first-class stove,” says farmer Aloise Bourassa, whose father bought a Findlay Oval stove in 1921. “Every meal I ever ate was cooked on that Oval. “And I don’t see why my boy’s kids won’t be doing the same.”
By 1960, Findlay Ltd. was one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of heating and cooking appliances with annual sales near $4 million and coast-to-coast distribution. Five years later, the company’s shareholders voted to sell out to the Montreal-based conglomerate, Corpex. But Corpex was only interested in the Findlay Ltd. assembly-line factory, and not the old-fashioned foundry nearby that still churned out wood stoves. So a group of employees got together and bought the iron foundry.
In 1969, the old foundry was torn down and a new one built in a nearby industrial park. During the energy crisis in 1973, wood stoves made a comeback. But later, business fell off and the company changed hands several times. It is now owned by a group of Toronto businessmen. “I don’t even think there are any Findlays involved with the foundry any more,” says Bill Findlay, who quit the foundry in 1970. Soon, all that may remain of the Findlay legacy in Carleton Place may be the display in the Carleton Place Museum here.
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jul 1987, Wed • Page 20