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Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre​

33 Victoria Street North (in the town of Saugeen Shores)
Southampton, ON Canada N0H 2L0

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Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. Ltd.

Home | Stories & Artefacts | Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. Ltd.

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Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. Ltd. LogoCanada Spool & Bobbin Co. began in 1884 when Thomas Ker and James Brocklebank of Streetsville, Ontario came to Walkerton and established a bobbin factory.  By 1886 they had partnered with John W. Harcourt of Walkerton and the company was known as Ker, Harcourt & Co.   At that time, until the early 1890s, Brocklebank’s wife, Rosetta was listed as a company owner rather than her husband.  Though they lived in Walkerton at the start up of the company, by 1891, the James Brocklebank family can be found living in York West on the 1891 Canadian Census.  James is listed as a woodenware manufacturer.  The 1892-93 Gazetteer & Directory shows only Ker and Hardcourt as owners, so the partnership must have split around 1890-91.


The company was then known as Ker & Harcourt and in 1895, they were the only bobbin manufacturers in Ontario.  Around the turn of the 20th century the factory was moved to Parry Sound.  By 1902, Ker and Harcourt, along with a new partner W.M. Shaw were looking to bring the factory back to Walkerton, under the new name Canada Spool & Bobbin Co.  For part of the relocation, Canada Spool & Bobbin asked Walkerton for a $2000 loan, which would be paid back over the course of ten years.



Toque patternA by-law was passed by the rate payers allowing the loan and Canada Spool & Bobbin was re-established in Walkerton.  During the 20th century they produced a wide variety of products which helped to bring economic stability and growth to the company.  These products included bobbins for woollen, knitting, silk and cotton mills, patterns of toques, mittens and socks for knitting factories, tool handles, drawer knobs, golf tees, and decorative ducks.  Some of these products such as this toque pattern created for the Royal Knitting Company of Guelph can be found in the museum’s collection.





Two bowling pins with rubber ringsOther items in the collection represent unsuccessful attempts to diversify.  These bowling pins were created in the 1970s as prototypes, as Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. wanted a contract with Brunswick for producing pins.  There was trouble with the manufacturing of the pins including drill migration and the lacquer dried with air bubbles.  A batch of pins was sent to Brunswick, who decided to not grant the contract.


In the 1980s, the factory created products under the trademark “Wood Things”.  Under this trademark name they created a large number or products including screw hole plugs, dowel pins, knobs, handles, golf tees, toy wheels, pegs, wedges, dowels, finials, balls and beads, furniture legs, checker and crokinole pieces, hand shoe rails and newel posts.   The golf tees seen here were manufactured prior to the “Wood Things” trademark, however, tees made by Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. were known to have shorter shafts, but wider cups.

Six golf tees coloured red, black and white.

Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. closed its doors during the late 1980s.


Sources: Accessed April 2023 Accessed April 2023


Ontario Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1886-7. — Toronto : R.L. Polk & Co., 1886. — viii, [2], 1657, [10] p. — Printed by Hunter, Rose & Co.


Ontario Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1888-9. — Toronto : R.L. Polk & Co., 1888. — xii, [3]-1644, vii p. — Printed by Hunter, Rose & Co


Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory including the City of Montreal, PQ., 1895. –Toronto: The Might Directory Co. of Toronto Ltd., 1895.


Ontario Gazetteer and Directory Including the Provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and the North-west Territories, Also the City of Montreal, P.Q. 1892-93. — Toronto : Might’s Directory Co., 1892. — 16, [25]-2062, [5] p. — Printed by James Murray & Co.


Western Ontario Gazetteer and Directory 1898-99. Containing That Portion of the Province West of, and Including, the City of Toronto and South of Georgian Bay. — Ingersoll : Ontario Publishing & Advertising, [1898?]. — XXII, [730] p.


“Walkerton”. The Chesley Enterprise, No 9, Vol. 27, November 13, 1902.


“By-Law”. The Bruce Herald, November 13, 1902


Heritage News, Winter 2013 Vol.26/Issue 1. Heritage Mississauga.


John Harcourt Household. 1901 Census of Canada. Parry Sound, Muskoka and Parry Sound District.


James Brocklebank Household. 1891 Census of Canada. York West.

To discover more from Canada Spool & Bobbin Co. Ltd in the online collection, Click Here

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