Eureka Foundry And Manufacturing Company Ltd.
The Eureka Planter Company Limited was founded on December 30th, 1904 with a loan of $12,000 (~$225,200 in 2008) from the Corporation of the City of Woodstock. This loan was given to “Purchase a site” and “Erect buildings thereon and to place machinery therein” and was to be paid back over 20 years with 4% interest. The philosophy of the Eureka Planter Company was “Quality First”. The original location of the company is still standing and in use at the corner of Winnett St and Drew St, not too far from the abandoned foundry. The original location was serviced by trains from the adjacent tracks.
The product line at this operation was mainly farming equipment; in 1904 the focus was on potato and corn planters while in 1907 it was on “Horse drawn machines, hand seeders and cultivators, broadcast seeders, hay and stack pucks, hand and compressed air sprayers, Churns, plumbing supplies, and lawn mowers”.
1925 is the year from which things took a swing, this is the year that the Eureka Planter Company purchased Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Company. The Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Company was formed in 1913 on the former site of the Woodstock Amateur Athletics Association Grounds on Tecumseh St and the current site of the abandoned foundry. This company produced pumps for gas stations and did have a small attached rail line, which may still be seen today.
In 1928 the product line was again updated to include boiler stands, sink brackets, “Iron Stone Boat Fronts”, and custom castings (Available in gray iron, aluminum, or semi-steel). The company motto was also changed to something a bit more… forceful: “The Customer Must Be Satisfied”. They also apparently bought two more factory plants on Tecumseh St, but the details behind this are unknown. It could possible be a mistake in the records.
The post-war Forties show a great deal of the move to suburbia through the increased production of… lawn mowers. In 1947 they produced the first power lawn mower; it weighed in at a staggering 111 lbs. In 1948 they produced their famous improved power mower “The Canadian Clipper”. Some other mowers produced under the Eureka Brand are the “Special”, “Singer” and “Forest Glen”. They still produced farm equipment like power cultivators, cyclone seeders, lawn sweepers, something called “The Talking Doorbell”, and cast aluminum house markers. At this time the manufacturing plant on the corner of Winnett and Drew (Plant #1) was still in use and the plant on Tecumseh (Plant #2 [possibly #3 as well]) was strictly a foundry.
The Fifties were a period of great change for the company. In 1953 it changed its name from the Eureka Planter Company Limited to the Eureka Foundry and Manufacturing Company. They also shifted their production focus from farm materials to pump motors and washing machine parts. At this time the “long run” of production was 4 tons of iron per hour among 75 employees. In 1954 Eureka Foundry and Manufacturing purchased/ possibly expanded by 50,000 sq ft. This expansion included a lab, pattern making shop, grinding shop, cleaning shop, and inspection shop.
In 1959 the first of many hand changes occurred. The Eureka Foundry and Manufacturing Company was bought by Gunite Foundries of Rockford, Illinois. In 1960 Gunite Foundries was purchased by Kelsey-Hayes, therefore its subsidiary Eureka also came under the Kelsey-Hayes name as the Kelsey-Hayes Eureka Foundry.
Through the rest of the Sixties there is not much on record to note. There were the common union organized strikes and not much else. The main focus of the plant shifted to the production of brake drums and disk brakes. Kelsey-Hayes Eureka Foundry was responsible for a large amount of the North American disk brake requirements. It provided the Chrysler Corporation, American Motors, and International Harvester with their disk brakes. It should be noted that it is unknown how much of this was produced at a different plant in Woodstock that was also under the Kelsey-Hayes name, the Beard's Lane Plant.
The Seventies were an era that was both filled with advancement and tragedy. In 1971 Kelsey-Hayes spent $250,000 (~ $1,373,170.73 in 2008) on a new pollution reduction system that removed around 3 cubic yards of sand, iron, and slag per day. The average pour of 1972 was 14 tons per hour with just over 250 employees, a great increase from the Fifties. The payroll combined with that of the Beard's Lane Plant exceeded $3.5 million (~$18,245,370.37 in 2008)
Kelsey-Hayes Eureka Foundry had the highest safety record with the fewest accidents in all Canadian foundries. However on January 11 1973, Stanley Lorenc died in an industrial accident. He was an employee of four years who died when removed sand from his dumper machine. The machine was on automatic operation and Mr. Lorenc did not have enough time to exit the machine. He sustained massive internal injuries and his death was caused by severe internal bleeding from a ruptured aorta. A worker on a similar machine said that they were never instructed to clean the sand but said that it was necessary for the machine to function.
During the 1980's there were some union strikes, negotiations, and fears about the future of the automotive industry. In 1986 a 5000-litre propane tank developed a leak and began shooting flames into the air that forced the evacuation of the factory and nearby homes.
Metal Technologies purchased the “Eureka Foundry Corporation” in 2001 with the help of Kelsey-Hayes Canada Ltd. The foundry was renamed Metal Technologies Woodstock Ltd. and later renamed again to Metal Technologies Woodstock Gray Iron Plant. The company closed the Woodstock foundry in December 2005.
Photography by Ontario Abandoned Places
All research done by Phil G. of Woodstock, Ontario. Thanks buddy!
Note: The Google Map for this location is not exact. This is intentional to help protect the location.
SOURCES (In order of appearance):
Loan Amount. (1904, Dec 24). The Daily Sentinel Review
Lomax, Philip (1988). Eureka/Kelsey Hayes. Notes from WPL.
Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Company. (1925, Sept 1). Sentinel Review
Kelsey-Hayes Canada Ltd. (1972). A Look At Kelsey-Hayes In Woodstock
Woodstock Bureau (1971, May 26). Pollutant System. The London Free Press
January 11th Accident. (1973, Feb 22). The Daily Sentinel Review
Burns, H (1986, Oct 2). Propane Fire. The London Free Press
Modern Casting (2001, Jul 1). Metal Technologies Buys Eureka Foundry. Retrieved April 26, 2008, from All Business Web site: http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing/fabricated-metal-product-manufacturing/800144-1.html
Foundry Management & Technology (2003, May 1). Firm renames metalcasting operations. Retrieved April 26, 2008, from All Business Web site: http://www.allbusiness.com/primary-metal-manufacturing/foundries/1116050-1.html
About the Company. Retrieved April 26, 2008, from Metal Technologies, Inc Web site: http://www.allbusiness.com/primary-metal-manufacturing/foundries/1116050-1.html