Gartshore & Cowie Iron Works

(1870)

This one-storey late-Victorian brick building was erected around 1905 as the offices for the Gartshore-Thomson Pipe and Foundry Company. It was originally located at the southwest corner of Stuart and Caroline Streets, but was moved here in 1992.

The Gartshore family had long been associated with the local foundry industry. In 1838, John Gartshore opened a small foundry on Hatt Street in Dundas. His son Alexander became a partner in the company in 1865. It was one of the province’s most important foundries, employing over 150 men at its height. Sagging demand forced the Gartshores to sell the foundry in 1869.

Alexander then teamed up with Thomas Cowie, who had been a foreman at the Dundas factory for the previous 10 years, to open up a new foundry in Hamilton. Both men were trained in the practical side of foundry work. They turned out heavy castings for railway carriages from their new shop on Stuart Street between Caroline and Hess Streets.

Gartshore reorganized production after assuming control of the company in 1875. Then called the Canada Pipe Foundry, it became the first Ontario firm to cast iron for water, gas and sewer pipes. The company did a booming business across the country. It became Gartshore-Thomson in 1904.

John Gartshore’s Dundas foundry built the engines and machinery for the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks. The engines, machinery and buildings are now preserved as the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.