Chapter 5
Ericsson Wheels
Table of Contents

Title Page
1 A place called Hamilton.
2 Public Works and Private Enterprise
3 Port Hamilton
4 1837-1839
5 Ericsson Wheels
6 1844-1847
7 Good Times in Port
8 Boom Town Days
9 Depression Years
10 Better Times Ahead
11 1867-1870
12 Prosperity for the Shipbuilders
13 The Second Railway Building Era
14 1884-1888
15 The Electric Era
16 The Iron Age
Table of Illustrations


A major disaster occurred in the village of Chippewa, on 26 January 1842, when fire broke out in the steam-powered grist mill owned by O. T. Macklem. When the flames finally subsided, the saw mill, foundry, distillery, granary, as well as a large barn and stable lay in ruins. Also destroyed were 2,000 bus. of grain, 5 carriages, and a quantity of flour, to say nothing of the patterns in the foundry, which was the principal manufactory of marine engines supplied to Canadian-built vessels above Lake Ontario. The loss was £20,000.

On the 17 March, the schooner LADY BAGOT was launched at Louis Shickluna's shipyard in St. Catharines, while at Port Dalhousie, a schooner was under construction in Abbey's shipyard. At her launching on the 7 June, she would be christened SCOTIA. The first total loss of a steamboat on Lake Ontario occurred on the 4 May, when the COMMODORE BARRIE sank after colliding with the schooner CANADA. She was bound from Niagara to Kingston with a cargo of flour, under command of Capt. Patterson, and was under charter to D. Bethune. All hands were taken aboard the schooner, which took them to Kingston. The collision was said to have taken place off Presqu'ile.

News items from the canals and the St. Lawrence in 1842 included the commencement of work on the Beauharnois Canal, and resumption of work on the Cornwall Canal. The Kingston Chronicle, of 16 June, noted that the PROPELLER, running mate of the ERICSSON, had left Montreal on a Wednesday morning and arrived at Kingston during Friday night, with cargo, mostly from Quebec. Another report, on the 4 August, stated that the steamboat PILOT,Capt. Tate, of the H. & S. Jones fleet, made the run down the river from Kingston to Montreal in 22 hours, including stops.

Plan of City Docks, 1842
In Hamilton, on the 6 October, W. M. Shaw, Canal Engineer, was calling for tenders for the reconstruction of the Burlington Canal. Six days later, news was received that the schooner FLAMBORO, owned by Gunn & Browne, was ashore near the Genesee River. On the 27 December, the Oswego Line of Lake Boats placed an advertisement in the Toronto Examiner stating that their steamboats ST. LAWRENCE,ONEIDA and EXPRESS would be trading on Lake Ontario during the 1843 season. In addition, they had ten schooners trading to the Upper Lakes. The agents for this line were Gunn & Browne. Further information was published in March, 1843, to the effect that the ST. LAWRENCE and the LADY OF THE LAKE, running between Kingston, the Genesee and Niagara would call at Hamilton, once a week. The EXPRESS was on the Ogdensburg and Genesee route, while the ONEIDA and the ROCHESTER, on the same run, would extend their trips to Toronto once a week. The AMERICA was in service from the Genesee to Cobourg and Toronto, while the ADMIRAL was on the Niagara,Toronto,Genesee and Kingston route, twice a week. The ADMIRAL was built by the Niagara Harbour & Dock Company and made her trial run on 2 April 1843.


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This volume is copyright The Estate of Ivan S. Brookes and is published with permission of the Estate. The originals are deposited in the Special Collections of the Hamilton Public Library.