|Park Brothers Foundry employees📷"Chatham" by Jim Gilbert, Lisa Gilbert|
I did find out more about The Park Brothers Foundry, also known as Chatham Engine Works. My paternal uncle has vague memories of going to the site when he was a child. He told me they made boilers and engine parts. With this in mind, I poked around and found a really interesting contraption that the Park Brothers built. It was called The Dipper Stick. (Pictured below)
Samuel Martin (1839-1908) was an entrepreneur/realtor. In 1878 he purchased 600 acres of marshland in Dover Township, Ontario for $75. He planned to drain and cultivate the land. He set up a 50 acre test plot where he constructed a 4 foot dyke. There were failed attempts to remove the water using wind and steam powered pumps. He came up with the idea to construct a large scooper type wheel that would be powered by an engine to continuously lift the water up and over the dyke. He commissioned the Park Brothers Foundry to construct the wheel according to specs by local engineer E.B. Jones. In 1880, the wheel successfully drained the 50 acre test area within a week's time. The land was then planted and produced a high yield corn crop that summer! They would go on to transform thousands of acres of marshland into some of the most fertile land in Chatham-Kent. The photo is the cover of a book written about the big project, compiled by Marion Matt in 1979.
I was unable to find the Industry and Manufacturers Schedule for Canada, but I'm really pleased learning about Archie Park and his brothers' contribution to their home town.
|Park Brothers Foundry Employees - circa 1888|
"Non-population" sources can help us learn who our ancestors were while they were living "the dash" (years between birth and death). Great that you were able to find out what Archie Park and his brothers were up to! :-)ReplyDelete
They were in business a long time apparently! All the way into the 1940's. Nice to find a record of their work.Delete
What an ingenious solution to remove the water. I am always amazed at the level of creativity and engineering our ancestors have exhibited.ReplyDelete
True! The industrial revolution must have been an exciting time period. So many things becoming automated.Delete
I enjoyed reading the Park brothers' contraption. Ingenious and effective!ReplyDelete
Interesting family history, Libby. I hope you find the equivalent non-population schedules.ReplyDelete
Thank you Dara. There are more schedules archived on line, but you have to know the microform #. Even then it's kind of tedious. I wish they were on the ancestry sites.Delete
Such an interesting history! The Park brother's were certainly innovative. Love how the foundry was described as 'a frenetic and creative place'.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sue. They look like they are having fun at work!Delete