E. & C. Gurney Company Limited

The original building built in 1840 by Alexander Carpenter, for use as a tin and stoveware shop (click for a closer look) Locations:
E. & C. Gurney Company / Gurney, Tilden Company: John Street North between King William and Rebecca Streets, Hamilton, Ontario
Gurney Scale Company: 1856-1872, James Street North between Gore and Cannon Streets; 1872-1957, corner of James and Colborne Streets, Hamilton, Ontario
Gurney Foundry Company: 1906-1914, MacNab Street North; 1914-1921, Jackson Street East at James Street, Hamilton, Ontario

Brothers Charles and Edward Gurney arrived in Hamilton, Ontario, from Utica, New York, in 1842. At the time, Hamilton was a small village with few industries. The only foundry that existed at the time was the Fisher & McQuesten firm, which manufactured agricultural implements. Since the Gurney brothers were interested in stove products, they decided to establish their own foundry on John and Rebecca Streets. Meanwhile, Alexander Carpenter established a tin and stoveware store at the other end of the block (John and King William Streets) in 1844. The three men became partners in 1845 in a firm known as the Gurney and Carpenter Iron Foundry.

The Gurney and Ware Scale Company on James Street North and Colborne Street (click for a closer look)

In 1856, a commercial scale company was founded by Elijah Ware and Edwin Dalley, located at 100 James Street North. Dalley sold his interest to the Gurney brothers in the late 1850s, and the scale manufacturer became known as the Gurney and Ware Scale Factory (G.W.S.). Soon, the G.W.S. company found that it needed to expand, and moved operations to the corner of James Street North and Colborne Street. Ware retired from the business in 1885, selling his interest to Charles and Edward Gurney. The company was renamed the Gurney Scale Company (G.S.C.) and was established as a separate venture from the stove company.

Alexander Carpenter retired from the Gurney and Carpenter Iron Foundry in 1863, and the Gurneys became sole owners of the company, changing the name to the E. & C. Gurney Company (E.C.G.). Over the next few years, the company acquired branches in Dundas (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), and Winnipeg (Manitoba). In 1868, E.C.G. bought the John McGee Phoenix Foundry Company of Toronto, and made Edward Gurney (Jr.) the manager. This building was a Presbyterian church on John Street North before the E. & C. Gurney Company acquired it in the late 1870s (click for a closer look) That same year a young man named John Tilden - Edward (Sr.)'s nephew by marriage - was hired in the main plant to sort scrap. By this time the E. & C. Gurney Company was the largest stove manufacturer in Canada, serving both domestic and foreign markets. In 1875 the Gurneys added a four-story office building and warehouse to the plant. A few years later they bought the remaining buildings on the block (one of which was a former Presbyterian church), at which point the main plant covered the entire area bounded by John, King William, Rebecca, and Catharine Streets.

Edward Gurney (Sr.) passed away in 1883. His shares were bought by John Tilden, who by this time had worked his way up from a scrap sorter to a full partner of the company. The same year, the company was officially incorporated as the E. & C. Gurney Company Limited.

A decade later, Charles Gurney also died, and the E.C.G. company was dissolved. Part of the company's assets were transferred to Edward's heirs, who established the Gurney Foundry Company (G.F.C.) in Toronto, of which Edward (Jr.) became president. The rest of the assets were used to establish the Gurney, Tilden Company (G.T.) in Hamilton (in the John Street plant) and Winnipeg, of which John Tilden became president. Over the next few years, G.T. opened a branch in Vancouver (British Columbia), and established agencies in Montreal, Toronto, St. John (New Brunswick), the United Kingdom, and Australia. Eventually, the Gurney Scale Company became a branch concern of G.T. The Gurney Foundry Company Hamilton office on Jackson Street East (click for a closer look)

The Gurney Foundry Company of Toronto returned to Hamilton as a branch office in 1906, taking up residence on MacNab Street, and in 1914 moved to Jackson Street East, just past James Street.

In 1910, the Gurney, Tilden Company was taken over by the Hamilton Stove and Heater Company. The Gurney Scale Company, which had become a branch of G.T. when the latter was created in 1893, spun off again as an independent company and was incorporated in December of 1923. It continued to operate in Hamilton until about 1957, when it was moved to Howard Street in Burlington, Ontario. According to the Canadian Trade Index, the Gurney Scale Company returned to Hamilton in 1962, although the address given is a P.O. box. After 1964, the company's name does not appear in any sources. The building on James and Colborne Streets was razed in November of 1957, and the area is currently the site of a sports club. The scale company's original site, 100 James Street North, was ravaged by a fire in 1956. The lot is now used by various small stores and apartments.

In November of 1926, the building that housed Alexander Carpenter's very first shop in 1840 was torn down. The edifice on John and King William Streets was impinging on property bought by the Wentworth Radio Company.

The lot between John and King William Streets where the Gurney, Tilden plant operated until 1910 is now a civic parking lot. The Gurney Foundry Hamilton branch office was closed in 1921. Both the MacNab Street lot where it returned to the city in 1906, and the Jackson Street lot where it moved in 1914, are now a part of Lloyd D. Jackson Square.

View some sketches of E. & C. Gurney and Gurney Scale products:

A colour sketch of a "Perfect" Warm Air Furnace (1889 catalogue). [257 KB]
A colour sketch of a "Harris" Wood Furnace (1889 catalogue). [218 KB]
A black and white sketch of a Canadian Counter Scale (1894 catalogue). [76 KB]
A black and white sketch of a Monitor Rolling Mill Scale (1894 catalogue). [109 KB]



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