1940s


The Archives has recently been in contact with Silvy Embury of Lethbridge, who sent us some photographs of an iron which belonged to her grandmother, Helen Boyle.

2015.01(1) left view of iron

On the back of the iron is an information panel which records details of the iron’s manufacture, including the fact that it was made in Deseronto by the Redi-Heat Electric Company Ltd.

2015.01(5) iron information panel

There is not a lot of information in the Archives about Redi-Heat, but there is an advertisement for the company in the May 28th, 1948 issue of the Deseronto Post newspaper:

1948 May 28 Redi-heat ad

REDI-HEAT

ELECTRIC COMPANY LIMITED

A DESERONTO INDUSTRY

MANUFACTURERS OF NEW MODERN LINES

OF ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

HOT PLATES

IRONS

TOASTERS

HEATERS

RANGETTES

DESERONTO                  TELEPHONE 76

The February 4th, 1948 edition of the Post (held here on microfilm) notes that the company was originally based in Belleville, from 1921, and had been in Deseronto since 1932. The firm was based in the building which originally housed the head office of the Rathbun Company, on the east side of Mill Street, south of Water Street. In the Rathbun era, the building looked like this:

RATHCO-06-48.3

We don’t have any twentieth century photographs of this building. A newspaper report from 1967 notes that Redi-Heat had been bought out by Dravo, although there is no date given for this. If you have any more information about Redi-Heat or the building it was based in, please leave a comment below!

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A recent accession from Edward Wright (2014.18) has added considerably to the Archives’ stock of information relating to the match companies which used to exist in the town. Mr Wright is a collector of matchboxes (a phillumenist) and has done a lot of research into the matches made in Deseronto in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Rathbun Match Company was only in operation for a short time between 1915, when this advertisement appeared on the front of the Canadian Grocer, to 1916, when the Town Council minutes note that it ceased operations in June.

Canadian Grocer - Rathbun Match Company advertisement

Canadian Grocer, August 20th, 1915

The Dominion Match Company seems to have taken over from the Rathbun concern, and it is clear from the Council minutes that the firm was offered tax exemptions for its site in Deseronto. The factory was on the northwest corner of Mechanic Street and Main Street, as shown in this extract from the town’s fire insurance map:

Detail of fire insurance plan showing the Dominion Match Company

By 1917 the Dominion Match Company was looking to expand. At a Council meeting on July 17th of that year the firm asked:

…the Council to provide for the closing of Quinte Street [the road immediately to the west of the factory] and the diverting and altering of Mechanic Street…and for both portions of said streets to be conveyed to the Dominion Match Company for use in their business and as the enlargement of their premises will necessitate the employing of a great many more hands than they have at present, it will enduce to the prosperity of the town. If the request is granted the company will waive its right to exemption from municipal taxes for the year 1917 to which they are entitled…

The Council approved the request, effectively wiping Quinte Street off the map of Deseronto, and giving Mechanic Street the shape it has today.

The postcard below shows the factory at the height of its operations.

Postcard of the Dominion Match Company, from the collection of R.N. Goodfellow

Mr Wright has a collection of boxes which were manufactured at the Dominion Match Company, including this one of the Dominion Silent Match:

Dominion Silent Match box

A third firm called the Beacon Match Company began operations in Deseronto in September 1919, but it is not clear where this factory was located. It may have used one of the vacated Rathbun Company sites.

A report in the Deseronto Post from March 17th, 1948 notes that the Chamber of Commerce was seeking a new owner for the Dominion Match building, which had “been vacant for many years”. It was in good condition, as it had been used by the Department of Defence during the Second World War.

1948 Mar 17 Match factory future

Today, the Deseronto Community Recreation Centre occupies the site of the Dominion Match Company’s factory and Mechanic Street still has a kink in it: the only visible evidence of Deseronto’s match-manufacturing history and the only curving road in the whole town.

Mechanic Street in 2014

The Archives here in Deseronto has a rather patchy selection of local newspapers for the twentieth century. There’s a good run of The Quinte Scanner from 1968 to 1982 but apart from that we really only have lucky survivals of The Deseronto Post and a few editions of the Daily Intelligencer, Belleville’s newspaper. Finding out what newspaper we have for a particular year or decade involved consulting two different lists, the contents of which are not easy to absorb.

We’ve now combined the information from those lists into a single online resource. It’s a Google Calendar into which each newspaper edition has been entered as an event. If you have a Google account, you can view the newspaper calendar, which we’ve made public. From the calendar page, click on the small Add to Google Calendar symbol at the bottom right. This will add the newspaper calendar to your Google calendar page.

In order to see what we have for a particular year, you need to install the ‘Year View’ feature for your calendar (in Google Calendar, go to the ‘Settings’ page, then ‘Labs’ to do this). Once you have the Year View, you can use it to get to a particular year, then click on any month to see if we hold any local papers for that particular time period. The picture below is of the month of October 1925, where we have two issues of the Deseronto Post and three of the Daily Intelligencer. Click on the image for a closer look.

Newspapers for October 1925

This is just an experiment, really, but it’s already proving useful in making it much quicker to answer questions about whether we have any newspapers for a particular date.

Detail of 2011.03

One of the Archives’ first new accessions of 2011 was a map of Hastings County, transferred by colleagues at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives. Surrounding the map are mini-business directories for Belleville, Deseronto, Frankford, Madoc, Shannonville, Stirling and Tweed. The photo shows the businesses listed for Deseronto, which suggest that the map dates from the 1940s (as that was when Evan Gardner’s funeral home was in operation). It must have been much simpler to remember telephone numbers, back then…

Ed Roach’s butcher shop is fondly remembered by many local people. One of our oral history interviewees remarked that Ed always promised that his meat was “as tender as a woman’s heart”.

Have had my first view of television and believe me, it is even more thrilling than the anticipation, which was considerable…

What solid comfort to sit at ease and watch news flashes, right up to the second, travelogues, wedding of an English Earl, dancers, comedians, plays, and even a professional boxing match. Certainly something to please varied tastes and yet video is still in its infancy!…

The radio did much towards educating people and bringing near the far-off places. Now one will be able to travel by television; see the wonders of the world without the colossal expense and time usually involved in actual participation. Certainly a marvellous age in which to be living!

So wrote Florrie Sexsmith, a Deseronto resident, in her weekly ‘Food Fancies’ column in the Deseronto Post newspaper. This particular column was published on October 12, 1949. A compilation of Florrie’s columns has recently been donated to the archives (Accession 2009.24).

A recent accession from the Town of Deseronto included this certificate of Public Recognition which was designed to honour those returning from overseas service after World War II.

If you look closely at the document (click on the image to see a bigger version), you will see that the town mentioned is Halifax and the crests are those for Halifax (as it was before 1964) and Nova Scotia. Pencilled annotations state ‘Your crest here’ and ‘Ontario crest here’ and the name Deseronto has been pencilled in next to the main block of text, where it would replace the word Halifax.

What is not clear from the certificate is whether the Town went ahead and ordered their own version of the certificate for servicemen returning to Deseronto. Did any Deseronto veterans receive such a thing? Has anyone seen a certificate like this among the papers of a friend or relative?