Deering Harvester

(1902)

In 1902, Deering Harvester started making agricultural implements and farm machinery at this site. Later that year, the company merged with five other companies to form the giant International Harvester Company, based in Chicago. A year later, the Hamilton site was expanded. The company now claimed to be the “largest agricultural implement works in the British Empire.”

Much of Deering Harvester’s workforce came from ethnic groups that were new to Canada. The company also brought in Polish workers from its Chicago plants. Armenian immigrants found work in its Hamilton foundries. This plant was also one of the first to employ women in non-traditional jobs. In 1907, one newspaper reporter wrote about the 40 female coremakers in Harvester’s foundry. Workers often lived within walking distance of the plant, some in housing built by the company.

In 1985, the company was bought by J.I. Case of Racine, Wisconsin. Workers at the scaled-back Hamilton plant made planter and seeding equipment. Case closed down its Hamilton operation in 1999; a commemorative exhibit erected by Case workers and retirees is on display at the northeast corner of the Hamilton Waterworks' grounds.