Notice the brickwork on the southeastern end of this modern, blue metal-sided building. This part of the plant was built around the 1920s by the Coffield Motor Washer Company of Dayton, Ohio.
The coming of electricity also brought the growth of the home appliance market in the early 20th century. Electric wringer-washers were the main product made by workers at Coffield’s Hamilton plant. At its height, the company’s 75 employees produced 90 units a week. The last washing machine rolled off the line in April 1963, right before the company declared bankruptcy.
Hamilton-based BartonAir Fabrications Inc. bought the rundown remains of the Coffield building in 1993. Instead of leveling the site, though, the company incorporated the old building into its new large, modern plant. BartonAir, a custom steel fabrication and industrial machine shop supplier, has since relocated its operations.
Women greeted new electric appliances such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and floor polishers with enthusiasm. But few Hamilton families could afford such luxuries until after World War II. It is also unclear whether these new appliances lived up to their reputation as “labour-saving,” because the time saved by new home appliances was often offset by higher housekeeping expectations.