Monday, 30 December 2013

Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 5

On now until February 2, the Galt Museum and Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the fifth instalment in a series based on the exhibit.

This week's post features two southwestern Alberta businesses that grew from small enterprises supplying local needs into large concerns serving sizable markets. The Sick's Brewery began in Lethbridge, and soon grew to be one of the major players in the beer and soda markets of western Canada and the northwest United States. 
 
The Classic Old Style Pilsner label. Galt Archives 

Sick's Brewery

Aerated water department, 1912. Galt Archives P19891049289 

After operating several breweries in British Columbia that proved unsuccessful, Fritz Sick moved to Lethbridge and founded what would eventually be called Lethbridge Breweries Limited. When prohibition was introduced in 1916, Sick's business survived by making soft drinks, beer for export and a 1.2% "near beer." In 1923, the year prohibition was repealed in Alberta, his son Emil graduated university and joined the business. Together, they soon grew the business to include two hop farms and five plants throughout western Canada and four in the northwestern United States. The Sicks founded Associated Breweries Limited in the 1920s to manage their growing holdings. When Fritz retired in 1930, Emil took over operations and continued to manage Associated Breweries until the breweries were sold to Molson in 1959. Fritz Sick first brewed his Old Style Pilsner in 1926, and Molson continues to brew this brand to this day. The Sick’s "6" soft drink operations were purchased by 7-Up Bottling Limited in 1965.


 

Ducan Industries

Ducan Canvas Company shop, 1964. Galt ArchivesP199110761320

The Ducan Canvas Company Limited was formed in 1954, operating a canvas sewing shop at 1520 2nd Avenue South. The company grew and by 1964 Ducan landed a major contract with International Harvester Limited to provide canvas products for its binders, swathers and combines. The firm, now called Ducan Industries, has continued to grow and expand its range to include metal frame furniture, hardwood furniture frames , mattresses, window coverings, and furniture for recreational vehicles. 


By Sven Andreassen

Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of  British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He volunteered in the Galt Archives in 2013  and curated this exhibit.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 4

On now until February 2, the Galt Museum and Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the fourth in a series based on the exhibit.

This week's post features two southwestern Alberta businesses that grew from small concerns supplying local needs to larger industries providing products across the continent. Lethbridge Iron Works grew from a small shop supplying the Lethbridge coal industry into a large industrial facility providing iron castings to customers accross North America. The Johnson Brothers began with a single sawmill and grew their business into a large milling facility based in Cowley, until market pressures from the softwood lumber embargo imposed by the United States forced its closure.

Lethbridge Iron Works


Galt Archives 19752209047


David Creighton started Lethbridge Iron Works in 1898 providing services to the growing coal industry located close to the coal mining operations in the coulees. George Davies took over management in 1921, a role that has been passed down through three generations of the Davies family. While its first products were for the coal industry, the company later developed its own Chinook line of farm implements as well as water control gates for the area’s expanding irrigation systems. In 1975, the company relocated to a new facility on a 7 acre lot in the industrial park, and has expanded 6 times since. Lethbridge Iron Works continues to be an industry leader as a jobbing iron foundry supplying iron castings to wide range of customers throughout the continent.

Johnson Brothers


Johnson Brothers facility, Cowley. Galt Archives 199910805827.

In 1925, Edwin and Bert Johnson traded a team of horses for their first sawmill, logging a substantial amount of Douglas fir, spruce and pines from the Porcupine Hills. By the 1940s and 1950s they operated at least three sawmills in various locations in the Porcupine Hills.  In 1961 they relocated to Cowley and opened a facility on a 55-acre lot that sawed, planed and milled trees into lumber products. The company continued to operate its Cowley facility until 1981. Four years later, a group of entrepreneurs established Cowley Forest Products on an adjacent lot, eventually buying the Johnson Brothers name in a goodwill gesture. In 2002, the market pressures caused by the softwood lumber embargo imposed by the United States forced CFP/Johnson Brothers to close.

By Sven Andreassen

Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of  British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He volunteered in the Galt Archives in 2013  and curated this exhibit.