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Manufacturers Index - Schaake Machine Works, Ltd.

Schaake Machine Works, Ltd.
New Westminster, BC, Canada
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Nov 27 2018 6:51PM by Jeff_Joslin
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In 1881 Henry Schaake began working as an apprentice machinist in the Baltimore fruit-canning industry. In 1888 he moved to California where a growing industry was developing around fish canning. Schaake invented and patented improved canning machines, and reportedly established a series of companies to manufacture his machines. In 1897 he moved to British Columbia to take advantage of a growing fish canning business along the Fraser River Valley. He worked for the Automatic Can Co., but only for a year or so when their plant was destroyed by fire. At about that time Schaake was approached by one John Kellington, a cannery employee who had developed an improved can topping and washing machine. Schaake licensed Kellington's design and in 1898 or '99, established The Schaake Machine Works of New Westminster, BC, to manufacture and repair canning machines. Schaake subsequently obtained a couple more patents for his improved machinery.

In 1901 Schaake was approached by Frank L. Johnson, who had developed improvements to the widely-used and Frank Johnson must have seen each other as kindred spirits. Schaake, like Johnson, had been born in the eastern United States. In 1881 Schaake had worked in the fruit canning industry of Baltimore, Maryland, where he learned his trade as a machinist. He had moved to California in 1888 where, being adventurous and having an inventive turn of mind, he incorporated several companies for the production of cans for the then burgeoning fishing industry. The companies used some machinery that Schaake had designed including the "Can Body Soldering Machine" which he patented in California in 1897. Seeing the potential of the growing Fraser River fisheries, he moved to New Westminster. In 1897, in association with the Bell Irving interests who owned the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, he managed the Automatic Can Company. When this plant was destroyed along with most of the New Westminster business section in the fire of 1898, Schaake left the Bell Irvings and established his own business. Instead of making cans, he opened a machine shop for the manufacture and repair of machinery mainly related to the fishing industry. Prior to opening his own shop Schaake had permitted the Vulcan Iron Works, also of New Westminster, to manufacture the machinery he had patented. Schaake was probably inspired to open his own shop when John Kellington, an employee at the salmon cannery of Alex Ewen and O.J. Munn, came to him with a "superior" can topping and washing machine. Kellington agreed to turn over the manufacturing rights to Schaake. Thus, when Johnson came to him in 1901 Schaake had been successfully established for nearly two years. The lumber industry was booming and Schaake, with the prior experience of successfully producing and marketing the Kellington machine, must have decided Johnson's machine proposal was an excellent opportunity to expand into another line of machinery.16

In 1902 the Schaake Machine Works was making "Johnson's Shingle Machine", which used two vertical circular saw blades at 90 degrees to one another. Apparently they also made two-cycle gas engines.

Ad from July 1902 The Canada Lumberman

Information Sources

  • This British Columbia manufacturer was mentioned in the scholarly journal Material History Bulletin, in an article entitled, "The shingle sawing machine in British Columbia, 1901 to 1925" by Robert B. Griffin.