William Washington WYLIE
owner of the Ottawa Carriage Company in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 29, 2009:
For years I have enjoyed the information published on your site "Bytown or Bust". Thank you so much for providing this service
to those of us interested in this community.
Perhaps you would enjoy the attached detailed article on the Wylie Carriage Company, founded by William Washington Wylie.
William Washington Wylie was my great grandfather. He died before my birth so I was not priviledged to remember him in person, however
I have many fond memories of his wife who was a distinct presence in my life until I was 13 years old.
Ottawa Free Press Supplement Saturday June 18, 1892
There is no more popular carriage and car factory in Eastern Ontario than that owned and conducted by Mr. W. W. Wylie at the
corner of Kent and Slater Streets, which is a three story building with a commanding appearance added to which is ample yard space.
The leading specialty of this eminent firm is the electric street railway cars and the evidence of their excellent work in that
department can be seen daily on the streets of Ottawa. The firm has at present orders for seven cars, four open and three close,
one of the latter being intended as a superb official car. Having these contracts on hand enables Mr. Wylie to give sufficiently
large orders to Buffalo, New York, USA, firms for the best qualities of lumber and lumber is the first essential of carriage building.
Not alone in car building does this firm excel as a visit to their factory will denote. The large staff of hands being continually
engaged in building all kinds of rigs and carriages of the usual kind as well as handsome private equipages.
THE MOTIVE POWER
of the factory is a powerful electric motor and it may be mentioned that the firm does all its own work for the blacksmith's shop
with electric fans for the fires to the upholstering work on the second floor. Above this is the handsome show rooms which are
only temporary as the firm intends to build a spacious addition to the premises. The paint shop is also on the second floor as well
as other departments of the business. Machinery in a workshop like this is a vital part and it may be added that Mr. Wylie has
shown his enterprise by having the latest, most improved and most expensive machines and mechanisms of different kinds possible to
be had for his trade. The firm is full of go.
The Evening Journal Ottawa
Second Section, Saturday June 4 1904
Progressive Industries in the Capital.
First of a Series of Illustrated Articles
Ottawa Car Company's Finely Equipped Factory
What it Means to Ottawa.
Many Skilled Tradesmen Employed.
The Unique Expansion.
Men at Heads of Departments.
With 185 men on its payroll, the majority of them working overtime, the Ottawa Car Company (Limited) stands to-day as one of the most
progressive and flourishing industrial establishments of the capital.
The development of the business has been steady and continuous. The facilities have been enlarged as required and at no distant date
will more buildings have to be erected. The pressing need of extra accommodation is evident on every side. The Ottawa Car Company
is a unique organization in many ways: all its products are sold on merit, honor and reputation. It issues no catalogues, employs
no travellers (sic) and has no extensive warerooms, yet it does business in every quarter of the Dominion and cannot to-day keep pace
with the orders received. The present works bounded by Kent street on the east, Albert on the north and Slater on the south, occupy
fully two-thirds of a block, covering nearly nine city lots each 66 x 99. The firm recently purchased three and a half acres on the
Richmond road just west of Mr. J. R. Booth's former residence. This land is used for forage purposes at present but will meet the
future wants of the company in yard facilities it may require.
Nucleus of the Concern:
Less than seventeen years ago what formed the nucleus of the present large establishment was situated on Queen Street, just back
of Davidson & Thackray's (sic) (Thackeray) mill. Richard Shore, now of Hartley, Manitoba, ran a small carriage shop there. He
employed only fifteen or twenty men, even during the busiest seasons. One day William W. Wylie came along. Mr. Wylie had been in
business on his own hook and, being an experienced man was taken in partnership. The firm was known as Shore & Co. It was in
the year 1890 that fire swept away Davidson & Thackray's (sic) mill and carried with it Shore & Co's establishment. Davidson &
Thackray (sic) rebuilt on the same site only to be visited last year by the fiery element and once more have their entire factory
Shore & Co. again started business in a small establishment at the corner of Slater and Kent streets. They soon built a larger structure,
three stories high. In 1891 Mr. Shore retired and went west. Mr. Wylie continued the business in his own name.
Shore & Co. in their new establishment never had more than thirty-five hands on the pay roll, and after Mr. Wylie came in full charge of
the business the number was not greatly increased. He built carriages, busses and sleighs and started in to do work for the
Ottawa Electric Railway Company, which was inaugurated in 1891. Afterwards he constructed some cars for the company and thus a new
avenue of trade was opened up.
The Ottawa Electric Railway Company ordered its first dozen cars in St. Catharines, Ont., but after giving Mr. Wylie a trial, saw
that the cars could be made equally as well and cheap in the Capital, and realized what an immense advantage it would be to have
them all manufactured in the city. Several stockholders of the railway company approached Mr. Wylie with a proposition that the
facilities of his establishment should be extended and this new branch given particular attention. It was in September 1891, that
what is known as the Ottawa Car Company (Limited) was incorporated and Mr. Wylie retained as Vice-president and managing director.
From that day to this the concern has made not only all the cars required for the Ottawa road, but has built and shipped electric
conveyances for other roads in all parts of Canada- from Sydney and Quebec in the east to Winnipeg and Vancouver in the west. On an
average about fifty or sixty complete cars are turned out each year and the department cannot keep up with the orders.
The New Company:
The new company obtained its charter in 1893. The authorized capital was $200.000, and of this amount $100.000 is paid up.
The first directors were Thomas Ahearn, W.W. Wylie, Warren Y. Soper, J.W. McRae and William Scott. James D. Fraser was
secretary-treasurer, a position which he still retains.
The present directors are Thomas Ahearn, president; W.W. Wylie, vice-president & managing director; Jas D. Fraser, secretary-treasurer;
Alex Lumsden (sic), ex-M.P.P., and Warren Y. Soper. The annual turn-over in all departments is to-day about $200.000 and the sum
paid out in wages each year runs close on to $75.000. Extensive improvements have been made both in the line of addition to buildings
and in increased plant. The latest advance is in turning out timbers, gun carriages, etc, for the Canadian militia department, the
same as are made at the Royal carriage department at Woolwich, England.
As already stated, there are 185 men on the pay roll-about 120 being in the carriage department and 65 in the car department.
Some Interesting Figures:
The carriage and waggon (sic) department alone turns out over 1,000 vehicles a year. These are shipped to all parts of Canada. The
flooring space of the entire establishment is close to 50,000 square feet.
The buildings are heated by steam distributed by a large fan which system also ventilates the structures as desired, the arrangement
being very complete and up-to-date.
One of the best fitted up departments is the blacksmith shop which is equipped with all the latest machinery. All smoke from the fires
is taken away by the under pipe section system. A steam hammer is installed which at each blow strikes 1,000 pounds. The weight of
the ram is about 800 pounds. Then there is an air or vacuum hammer which delivers a blow of about 500 pounds. Besides this four
or five power hammers may be seen. All tires are applied cold to each vehicle doing away with the necessity of heating them in
furnaces and burning the wheels as is frequently the case when put on hot. The tires are applied cold by means of a ten ton hammer
with 18 hydraulic tams, the combined pressure of which is over 100 tons. In the machine shop are five lathes, a No. 1 Universal mill
machine, two shapers, tool and ?cutler grinders etc.
The Various Departments:
There are several departments in the works all requiring skilled labor. They are the blacksmithing, the ironworking machinery, the
woodworking machinery, the cabinet shop, the carriage shop, the wagon shop, the car construction department, the paint shop and
the upholstering shop.
In the woodworking quarters jobs similar to those carried on by the Royal carriage department at Woolwich are done and done equally
as well and satisfactorily. This is a feather in the cap of a Canadian establishment. The militia department has often referred
in the highest terms to the prompt, efficient and workmanlike manner in which orders are executed. There is nothing for the
Canadian artillery which cannot be manufactured, everything required in the vehicle line being made on the premises. The list
embraces timbers, transport vehicles, forage, maltese, tool carts, engineers' wagons, transports, ambulance wagons, water carts of
the tank pattern-in fact, wagons of every sort and varied requirements for the artillery generally.
In the vehicle department the heavy lines of carriages re manufacturing including cabs, landaus, victorias, (sic) vis-a-vis, (sic)
omnibuses, hearses, sleighs, station trucks and as the ordinary auction bill often reads "other things too numerous to mention"
The Vehicle Trade
The Ottawa Car Works builds all the vehicles for the Canadian and Dominion Express Companies and all those required in Canada for
the American Express Company. Its goods may be found in every town in Canada and the material, style, build and durability of the
products have a reputation so wide and favorable as to ensure "repeat orders" whatever sent. This is to nearly every town and city
from one end of the broad Dominion to the other.
Much more might be written on the equipment, facilities and progress of the Ottawa Car Company, but the foregoing outline indicates
in an imperfect way its great resources, possibilities, strength and development from the year of organization down to the present.
The Journal presents its readers with pictures of the respective foremen some of whom have been in the establishment for many years
and have played no small part in the advancement of the institution. Cuts of all appear except that of Mr. A. Gagnon, foreman of
the cabinet finishing department where he has been with the company for eight years and Mr. Charles Sabourin, (sic) foreman of
the light carriage wood working department, for the past three years. Both are popular and energetic employees but it was impossible
to obtain photographs of them in time for this issue.
The office staff of the company also attends to a large amount of work in a careful and painstaking manner. The head bookkeeper is
Mr. John Hodgins, (sic) an energetic and capable young man who has held his present position for nine years.
(The photos which appear on the page are indistinct when reproduced so I have not included them)
The following are the biographies of the men pictured:
Mr. W.W. Wylie Vice-President and General Manager of the Company.
Mr. William Washington Wylie, the vice-president and general manager of the Ottawa Car Company (Limited), is of Scottish extraction
and was born in Ovalle, (sic) Chile, South America, forty-four years ago. He was sent to Scotland for his education and later apprenticed
to the carriage trade in Paisley. He served three years at street car building in Liverpool, and coming to Canada twenty-two years ago
worked at railway coach building in the Grand Trunk Railway shops at Montreal for a while. He started in business here over twenty years ago.
Mr. Wylie is one of the most expert, successful and widely known car and carriage builders in Canada. He was in partnership for some time
with Richard Shore, and later conducted the business for a couple of years after Mr. Shore retired. In 1892 his establishment was
purchased by the Ottawa Car Company and Mr. Wylie has held his present position ever since.
Mr. Alonzo Coughlan (sic) was born in Onslow township, Pontiac County, Quebec. He is foreman of the machine woodworking department and
was with the Capital Planing Mills. He has resided in the capital seven years. He was f
Mr. Alonzo Coghlan (sic) Foreman of Machine Wood-working Departmentoreman for Stafford and Rudd, Arnprior, for a
long time and lived in that town eleven years. Mr. Coughlan (sic) is a member of the A.O.U.W. and has worked his trade for twenty years.
His experience has been thorough and he is very popular with those associated with him.
has charge of the yards. Mr. Coghlan is 45 years of age. He has been engaged with the Ottawa Car works five years and for over two years
Mr. Charles Wright Assistant Superintendent of Carriage Department.
Mr. Charles Wright, who is assistant superintendent of the carriage department, and Mr. Wylie's "right hand Man" has been with the
company since 1894. He is 34(?) years old and popular with all the employees. Mr. Wright is a son of the late Archibald Wright, carriage
manufacturer of Jamestown, N.Y., USA, and later of Richmond Hill, and previous to coming to Ottawa was for nearly three years manager for
Matthew Guy, carriage builder, Toronto. Mr. Wright is an enterprising salesman, and, there is nothing in his line of business at which he
is not proficient and up-to-date.
Mr. Robert Meek Foreman of Upholstering Department.
Foreman Robert Meek of the upholstering department is 39 years of age and is a native of Amherstburg (sic), Ont. He has been at his trade 23
years and served his time in Toronto. He has worked also in Rochester, London and Detroit. A resident of Ottawa for 18 years he has spent
nearly all his time with Mr. Wylie and the Ottawa Car Company. He is a member of Chaudiere lodge, A.F.& A.M. and also of Carleton lodge
I.O.O.F. Mr. Meek is a faithful and conscientious employee.
Mr. Peter S. Roe. Foreman Machine Shop
Mr. Peter S. Roe, the foreman of the machine shop, has been with the company three years. He has worked at his trade 18 years and
was foreman for W.C. Edwards & Co. in their machine shop for nine years. He served his apprenticeship in Montreal. Mr. roe has resided
in Ottawa 12 years, and is a member of Earnscliffe Lodge of Oddfellows and Court Ottawa I.O.F. He is an expert and is a clever designer
and builder. He was born in Clarence township, Russell county, thirty-four years ago.
Mr. David Cadieux Foreman of Wagon Department.
Mr. David Cadieux is a Pontiac, Quebec, boy, and first saw the light of day in Onslow township thirty-eight years ago. He worked with
W.J. O'Hara in Renfrew for a period of eight years, and then entered business for himself in Quyon, which he conducted for eleven years.
In 1899 he came to Ottawa and for five years has been with the Ottawa Car Company. He has worked at his trade for nearly a quarter of a century.
He is well-known in the city and his calling stands at top notch.
Mr. James Brownlee Foreman of the Car Department
At the head of the car department for nearly three years has been Mr. James Brownlee. He is the son of John Brownlee and was born in
Goulbourn township, four miles from Richmond, 44 years ago. He lived in Manotick for some time. Mr. Brownlee worked for several years
as a carpenter and was employed on some of the best jobs in the city. He is esteemed by his fellow-workers and a faithful employee.
He is a member of Court Ottawa, I.O.F.
Mr. William Shore Foreman of Paint Shop
The foreman of the paint shop is Mr. William Shore. He is a son of John Shore, being born in Nepean township in 1869. He learned his
trade with his uncle Richard shore now of Hartley, Manitoba, but a former carriagemaker (sic) of the capital. William worked in
Pembroke for a time, otherwise he has always wielded a brush in the city. He is one of the oldest, if not the oldest employee, of
the present firm, being 20 years in its service, and has an honorable record. Mr. Shore is a member of the A.O.U.W. and the
Unity Protestant Benefit Society.
Mr. Matthew Whelan Foreman Blacksmith Department.
Mr. Matthew Whelan is the son of Mr. Matthew Whelan of the city and was born here 29 years ago. He is the foreman of the blacksmith
department and has one of the best equipped shops in Canada. Mr. Whelan has spent some fifteen years at his trade and worked for a
time in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and later on at Niles, in the same state. With these exceptions he has always resided and worked in Ottawa.
He is now in his twelfth year of service with Mr. Wylie and is a genial young man, well liked by all.
... Eileen Bashak
E-mail Eileen Bashak and Al Lewis
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