An old artifact is a new resident of the Middleville and District Museum. Nestled into a cozy alcove sits a special addition to the Museum’s Collection. A call from Michael and Petra Sidon of Schomberg, Ontario (west of Newmarket) began a journey home for a beautiful old stove from their house to Lanark Highlands. The Sidons delivered the stove just in time for it to be included in the Museum’s new season. This homecoming for the stove is confirmed by the label stamped into the iron that reads: Clyde Foundry, Lanark, CW 1858. The stove was manufactured when Ontario was still known as CW (Canada West). The Clyde Foundry is believed to have been built on the banks of the Clyde River in Lanark Village on Clyde Street which was an unofficial street just off Mill Street. An advertisement says it is located beside Young's sawmill which was located in that area. According to an article in the Lanark Era of 1896, the Clyde Foundry was built in 1863 by James Dobbie. This is after the stove was manufactured so it is likely that the foundry was officially built to accommodate the growing stove business. After the death of James in 1869, his son, Alexander Gardiner (A.G.) Dobbie, took over the management of the foundry until selling to Thomas Watt and son (James). Thomas had 20 years of experience in the foundry business. The foundry produced stoves, ploughs and did some repairs. The ‘Fire King’ was the first brand manufactured by James Dobbie. It boasted an extra large fireplace and was reported to be a ‘very good baker’. Thomas Watt made several models of stoves. ‘Reliance, Defiance and Mystic’ were cooking stoves. The Defiance was described as a ‘low-oven stove with large fireplace and a good draught system’. The Reliance was similar with an elevated oven-stove and marketed as ‘second to none for cooking purposes’. The ‘Mystic’ was available in two sizes: ‘25 and 31 with swinging covers, sides in two sections and said to be an excellent heater’. The stoves manufactured at the Clyde Foundry were made of No 1 Scotch Pig Iron. The guarantee for every stove extended to cover the first heating. Any cracks as a result of the first heating would result in a full stove replacement. Imported stoves had no guarantee so were a more risky purchase. Even then, it paid to shop locally.
The Middleville and District Museum has five old stoves with three being currently on display. The cabin has a Thomas Watt stove with swinging doors opened by a pedal at the bottom. The schoolroom includes a stove that was used to keep pupils warm throughout winter months.
Be sure to take note of these old iron standards on your next visit to the Museum.
The Portland Cutter donated by the Moulton family last fall has taken its place in the Museum to delight visitors who can envision the family wrapping up in buffalo robes and beckoning the horse to carry them over the snowdrifts with sleighbells chiming as they made their way to a neighbours home. Take note of the unusual side doors and look for the eagle head rein holder.
The arrival of a uniform worn by Janet James in World War 1 inspired a new focus on the Bluebird Nurses of WW1. The Museum already had her Bluebird nursing uniform on display. Her trunk, uniform and items of memorabilia from her nursing career are great additions to the exhibit. Be sure to check out the new artifacts and information about Canada’s Bluebirds.
Come out and see these new additions (and some old favourites) in the Middleville and District Museum on opening day, Saturday, May 20th. The festivities begin at noon with treats and visitors can enjoy live music during the afternoon. Hope to see you there.
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.