Albion Steam Works (Nashwaaksis, N.B.)

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Albion Steam Works (Nashwaaksis, N.B.)

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Founded in 1836

History

Albion Steam Works was founded in 1836 in Nashwaaksis, New Brunswick, across the St. John River from Fredericton. Co-founders William Braithwaite and William P. Kay, originally doing business as Braithwaite, Kay and Company, combined a variety of business ventures to form the firm. They constructed a brewery, oat and flour mills, a smithy and a cooperage, machinery for garding (gardening or farming), a shop to turn wood and iron, circular sawing for joiners work, facilities to cut hay and straw and for bruising oats. All the company's machinery was run by steam engines. In fact, the owners' primary intention was to open a general engineering firm to serve as an outlet for the sale of steam engines and mill machinery.

In addition, Albion Steam Works operated a general mercantile business. Albion Store sold a variety of imported products, as well as locally produced goods, such as pork, fish, stoves, vinegar, grain, flour, beer, coal, and plaster of Paris. The Works also offered architectural design services, which included estimates for building construction. This work was probably completed by co-founder William Porden Kay, who, in the 1840s and 1850s, would be employed as a colonial architect by his uncle, the governor of Tasmania, to design a number of public buildings there. Merchants John V. Thurger and Robert Chestnut served as company agents in Saint John and Fredericton respectively. In July 1837 the firm expanded when a store opened on upper Queen Street, Fredericton, with Anthony Lockwood as agent. A drying kiln and a barley mill were added in September of the same year.

The services of Albion Steam Works were in demand in the late 1830s. These records suggest that the volume of business increased to the point that the firm acquired the schooner "Mary Ann" to transport raw materials upriver and end products to market. The ledgers contain a number of accounts pertaining to the provisioning of the "Mary Ann". The date Albion Steam Works ceased operation is unknown.

Sources: Daniel Johnson's Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers on-line; MC248; and other records.

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