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Manufacturers Index - A. R. Williams Machinery Co., Ltd.

A. R. Williams Machinery Co., Ltd.
Toronto, ON, Canada
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Mar 30 2019 3:43PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Dating back to at least 1887, A. R. Williams Machinery Co., Ltd. was, and is, a machinery dealer. We have seen several machines, including large bandsaw and jointer with the Williams name cast into them, and the bandsaw also had an A. R. Williams plate on it. Although A. R. Williams Machinery were a dealer, they operated the Soho Machine Works on Esplanade Street in Toronto. They did machine rebuilding there and they may have manufactured the above-mentioned machines. Many of the Williams-branded machines, especially in the metalworking line, were made by the London Machine Tool Co.

A. R. Williams advertised heavily in Canadian Machinery during World War I. Most of the ads made clear the true maker of the featured product. One ad features the "Williams turret lathe" and presumably this was a machine made by or for A. R. Williams Machinery Co.


From 1916-10-12 Canadian Machinery

According to their website, A. R. Williams Machinery was founded in Toronto in 1878. In 1903 they expanded to Winnipeg and in 1942 they opened locations in Alberta. We have seen "Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria" listed on an A. R. Williams badge from the 1970s. In 1984 the Alberta operations were acquired by Arnie Charbonneau and those operations were incorporated as A. R. Williams Materials Handling Ltd.

Manufacturers Represented by A. R. Williams

Based on machines we have seen in addition to articles and ads listing authorized distributors, the following companies are believed to have been represented by A. R. Williams. This list is far from complete.

  • Canada Machinery Corp., Ltd., Galt, ON. This successor to MacGregor Gourlay continued to use A. R. Williams as a reseller.
  • Major Harper & Son, Whitby, ON. From the late 1800s until 1917 this firm's Eclipse and New Eclipse planer-matchers were sold under the A. R. Williams brand.
  • London Machine Tool Co., London, ON. In 1889 this firm's metalworking machinery was distributed exclusively through A. R. Williams.
  • MacGregor, Gourlay Co., Galt, ON. A. R. Williams began in 1879 as an agent for this firm (actually, for MacGregor Gourlay's predecessor, Cant, Gourlay & Co.). We have seen numerous machines from Cant Gourlay and MacGregor Gourlay that carried an A. R. Williams name plate.
  • D. McKenzie Machinery Co., Guelph, ON. A. R. Williams had an especially close relationship with this firm: at one time T. A. Hollinrake was simultaneously president of both firms.
  • Standard Modern Lathes, Inc., Toronto, ON. In 1955 Scottish conglomerate Staveley Iron & Coal Co. acquired both Standard Modern and A. R. Williams.
  • Waterous Engine Works Co., Brantford, ON.
  • Zucker & Levett & Loeb Co., New York, NY. A polishing and grinding arbor from this exceedingly obscure maker has been seen with a plate for A. R. Williams & Co.
  • Barnes Drill Co., Rockford, IL. In 1919 A. R. Williams advertised that they carried in stock a complete line of Barnes drilling machines.
  • E. W. Bliss Co., Brooklyn, NY.
  • C. C. Bradley & Son, Inc., Syracuse, NY.
  • South Bend Lathe Works, South Bend, IN. A. R. Williams was a reseller.
  • W. F. Wells, Inc., Three Rivers, MI. We have seen a horizontal bandsaw from this firm also bearing an A. R. Williams plaque.

Information Sources

  • A website with photographs of abandoned Toronto industrial sites has some lovely photographs of the 'A.R. Williams Machinery Company, Liberty Street Plant', near King & Strachan. This building is quite popular with photographers, and numerous photos can be found online by doing a search for "A. R. Williams Machinery".
  • The Barkerville Historic Town Library and Archives, in Barkerville, BC, has an archive of correspondence from Cariboo Gold Quartz Mining Co., Ltd. Included is correspondence between CGQ and A. R. Williams Machinery Co. of Vancouver. The correspondence dates from Dec. 1932 through July 1933.
  • An entry in the Photo Index shows a Clark & Demill jointer that also has an A. R. Williams plaque on it—Williams was the retailer, and given the fraction of Clark & Demill machines that have an A. R. Williams plaque on them, Williams was a major dealer for them.
  • A history of the Vancouver-based Beedie Group mentions that they bought woodworking machinery from A. R. Williams Machinery in the mid-1940s.
  • An online resume says that the person had been an inside sales representative for this company, 1979-1980.
  • McMaster University, in Hamilton, ON, has an archive of Copp-Clark correspondence that includes "agreements and correspondence" with A. R. Williams Machinery; the material dates from 1911-1914.