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Authority record
Corporate body Sackville

Burwash Robinson General Store and Tannery

  • MC-70
  • Corporate body
  • circa 1902 to 1960s

Alfred Burwash Robinson was born on August 6, 1874, in Shediac, New Brunswick, to John Mathias Robinson (1823-1887) and Jane Amos (1838-1912). He died in 1969 in Sackville, New Brunswick. He is buried next to his wife Margaret I. Cook (1871-1939) at the Four Corners Upper Sackville Cemetery.
Burwash opened a general store in 1902-1903, adding a post office at the same location shortly afterwards. Burwash lived nearby in a small house near Harper Lane (now 352 Main Street, Middle Sackville) and was assisted by his son-in-law George Creasy. He operated a grocery store in 1927 and owned and operated a tannery, but the dates of operation for this latter business are uncertain. The tannery was located on Donald Harper Lane. All of Burwash’s businesses were located in Middle Sackville, New Brunswick. Although it is unknown how long Burwash operated the general store and post office, it is known that in the 1950’s Burwash’s son-in-law George Creasy was the chief operator. The vacant Burwash Robinson General Store and Post Office building was torn down in 2004.

Enamel and Heating Products Ltd.

  • MC-21
  • Corporate body
  • 1852-2012

The Fawcett Foundry was opened in 1852 by John and Charles Fawcett on the corner of Main and King Streets in Sackville, New Brunswick as a small tin shop producing stoves. The establishment of the Intercolonial Railway in 1869 allowed the foundry to expand because it gave them a way to ship goods worldwide.
In December of 1893, the original building was destroyed by a fire but was rebuilt in February of 1894. The costs associated with the rebuilding affected employees’ salaries causing a strike later in 1894. Though not free of difficulty, the early twentieth century marked the Foundry’s shift from its beginnings as a tin shop to a wartime materials manufacturer to the enamel stoves and sanitaryware manufacturing for which it became known.
With the business success from World War 1, Fawcett Foundry underwent a rebranding to Enamel & Heating Products Ltd. in 1928. That same year they expanded into Amherst, Nova Scotia with Plant #2, then the next year, Victoria, British Columbia where they bought out the Albion Iron Works Company, Plant #3. Their expansion also allowed Enamel and Heating to keep up with exporting their products internationally, which was increasingly commonplace in the 1930s. They exported to countries including New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa. Sackville, New Brunswick, alongside the Fawcett Foundry, Plant #1, remained the company headquarters and was under the direction of Dr. Norman A. Hesler. Hesler helped lead the Fawcett rebranding and reorganization, and he served as President and Managing Director of Enamel & Heating Products Ltd. for many years.
Enamel and Heating was very successful with a total countrywide workforce of 800, including 250 employees in Sackville. As well as the foundries they owned several branches including the Fundy and Chapman branches in New Brunswick and a Quebec branch. Representatives of Enamel and Heating presented at exhibitions across Canada – including the Hanrower Exhibition, exhibitions in Vancouver, British Columbia; St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; Bridgewater and Halifax, Nova Scotia; and the Rand Show and Empire Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The company was hit hard by the Depression, but World War II contracts helped keep the Sackville-based company alive. Enamel & Heating Products Ltd. devoted roughly 80% of its operation to fill war orders and even added a new building at their Sackville location to accommodate the increased production of aircraft parts, ammunition boxes, windlasses, and bilge pumps. In 1950 the company acquired the Canadian Car & Foundry Company in Amherst, Nova Scotia. After a year of operation under the name Atlantic Industries Limited, the company was fully absorbed into Enamel & Heating Products and became its Plant #4, housing both steel and aircraft divisions.
Due to changes in South African export policies, Lewis Appliance Corporation took over manufacturing of Enamel and Heating products to be sold in South Africa. The partnership with Lewis Appliances proved fruitful and Enamel and Heating, in conjunction with Lewis Appliances, hosted a contest for their Ellis de Luxe stove in South Africa in 1958.
In 1982 Enamel and Heating closed due to declining popularity of wood heating, the economy of the late 1970s, and competition from larger companies. The province bought out the assets of Enamel and Heating and their closest competitor Enterprise Foundry, also in Sackville, New Brunswick that went into receivership that same year. The old Enamel and Heating buildings were sold to Mount Allison University in 1986 for one dollar and demolished that June. A much smaller foundry opened on the old site of the Enterprise foundry and as an homage to both of the town’s foundries operated under the name Enterprise Fawcett Foundry Limited until its closing after a fire in 2012.

Intercolonial Railway

  • MC-59
  • Corporate body
  • 1872-1918

The Intercolonial Railway (ICR) was the first infrastructure project of the Dominion of Canada and linked Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Upper and Lower Canada fulfilling a demand of the Maritime provinces to join Confederation. The first ICR train arrived at the Sackville, New Brunswick station on December 2, 1869, although the entire government owned rail system was not completed until 1872. The ICR moved goods, mail, and passengers between the many new towns and cities and gave the central provinces access to the seaboard and opened the larger interior markets to the Maritimes. In 1919 the Canadian government combined the ICR with five other railways making it into one national company, the Canadian National Railway.

Sackville Harness Shop

  • MC-23
  • Corporate body
  • 1919-2020

The Sackville Harness Shop was founded in 1919 by Aretus C. Anderson, Albert Anderson, J. L. Dixon, Frank W. Fullerton, Clarence Griffin, and William W. Ward. However, according to an interview from Rural Heritage magazine in 2000, a long-time employee Paul Blakeny noted that his father, Arthur Blakeny was also one of the founders of the Harness Shop. Arthur and several others were employees of the old A. E. Wry Standard (another harness manufacturer), and Paul said that they were not satisfied with their conditions so they went on strike, and left to start the Sackville Harness Shop in 1919. The building that housed the shop from 1920 onwards was built in Sackville, New Brunswick by Samuel Freeze Black (1806-1880), the uncle of the prominent Sackville merchant Joseph L. Black, in 1846. After the founding owners, the Harness shop was owned by the Estabrooks brothers Bob, Bonar, Louis, and Bill and there were six employees. Bill Long began working at the shop in 1978 (after being laid off from a job at Moloney Electric). Bill Long was hired as a collar maker in 1978. He trained under the master craftsman/collar-maker, Jack McKenzie, who himself trained under one of the founders, Clarence Griffin. Long purchased the business in 1991 and retired in May 2021, ending approximately 30 years of ownership and 101 years of the business operation. The Harness Shop was well-known for their handcrafted leather harnesses and their handmade straw collars (which was one of the Harness Shop’s signature products). The shop had expanded into other areas, including making belts, bags, and jingle bell straps, as well as selling other leather goods and horse care products. At the time of the shop’s closure (and for many years prior), the Sackville Harness Shop was the only manufacturer of handmade straw collars in North America and of hand-made horse tack. The shop also had some notable customers over the years, including making a 34 inch collar for the world’s (allegedly) biggest and heaviest horse in Washington state; collars for the Budweiser Brewery Clydesdales team in St. Louis Missouri, USA; and collars for the Carlsberg Brewery Belgians Team in Toronto, Ontario.