Hoover Canada Incorporated

Location: 209-221 Gage Avenue North (Hamilton Location)

The Hoover Plant in HamiltonThe Hoover Suction Sweeper Company (of North Canton, Ohio) built their first foreign plant in Windsor, Ontario in 1910, three years after the company's formation. The plant in Windsor served as the company's Canadian head offices until 1919, at which time a larger and more modern plant was built in Hamilton. Even before the plant was built, the head offices were relocated to Hamilton and the Hoover Suction Sweeper Company of Canada, Limited was incorporated to take charge of the Canadian operations. Although the Hamilton plant initially assembled machines only, after a few months the required equipment was obtained and the plant began manufacturing parts as well. Even though the Canadian subsidiary provided products for the Canadian market, it also supplied products for the entire Hoover export market. Interestingly, one of the first suction sweepers made for export in the Hamilton plant was personally ordered by King George V of England.

After only five years the plant was extended, doubling its capacity. At this time the plant became the largest in the British Empire devoted exclusively to manufacturing electric cleaners. Export production had increased dramatically, going from 35% of total output in 1920 to 62% in 1924.

During World War II, Hoover converted the Hamilton plant for military production. Aircraft motors, grenade pins, generators, and radio equipment were among the parts Hoover manufactured.

A Hoover VacuumBy 1950, the Hamilton plant had 400 workers, quadruple the amount it had employed initially. Also that year, a $200,000 addition was completed, marking the third expansion of the plant in four years.

A new product, the steam and dry iron was added in 1955. Additionally, the commercial die casting division was started that year, broadening the company's output. The following year, the parent company's board of directors meeting was held at the Canadian head office for the first time as a "tribute to the tremendous progress made by the Canadian subsidiary." Although the company was expanding, employment had decreased slightly, with 350 workers in 1958. The following year a new product was developed, the electric floor washer.

By 1960, the Hoover plant in Hamilton had doubled in size over the past 15 years. Furthermore, new departments such as: motor assembly, the tool room, cleaner production, and shipping were constructed as part of the $1.7 million spent on the plant since 1945. In 1963, Hoover began producing English-designed, twin-tub washing machines. This new product became so popular that it prompted the company to look for a larger home so that it could accommodate the increasing demand. Eventually 76 acres of property was purchased in Burlington on the QEW North Service Road near Walker's Line. Hoover constructed a plant there in 1966, expanding it three years later. By this time, Hoover had expanded their product line to include blenders, frying pans, and other household appliances.

The Hoover Plant in Burlington1972 marked the completion of a second addition to the Burlington plant. Costing $500,000, the expansion increased the plant's floor space to 200,000 square feet, which allowed for the transfer of machine shops, presses, and a plastic moldings division (all previously located at the Hamilton plant). It was at this time that the Hamilton plant, having been emptied, was closed. The Hamilton workers were not unemployed however, as Hoover offered them jobs at its new Burlington location.

With the onset of the 1980's, employment at the Hoover plant had dropped significantly. In 1981 only 135 employees remained. The following year this number was further reduced to 115, scarcely larger than initial employment in 1919. Hoover had apparently come across tough times, as illustrated by extended summer and winter layoffs during this period. Perhaps this facilitated the takeover of the Hoover Worldwide Corporation by the Chicago Pacific Corporation (a holding company) in 1985. Three years later the Maytag Company merged with the Chicago Pacific Corporation to create the Maytag Corporation, and Hoover became part of a large family of brands.




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