The Canadian Industrial Heritage Centre (CIHC) was born of the Cockshutt Homecoming Festival and Exhibition, held in Brantford, Ontario at Cockshutt Park in June of 2000. Over 6500 people travelled from all over Canada, the US and beyond, to come together and celebrate a once proud history of manufacturing - the Cockshutt Plow Company.
The Canadian Industrial Heritage Centre was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable heritage organization in 2002. Since then the CIHC has been collecting documents and artifacts from Brantford's industrial past, and working towards establishing a permament home to share Brantford's and Canada's industrial history with the public.
In 2008 the CIHC in partnership with the Brant Historical Society/Brant Museum & Archives and the Brant County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society conducted a feasibility study for the creation of a heritage complex in Brantford. The resulting study, A Ribbon Through Time, demonstrates the need for such a complex in the area.
The complete A Ribbon Through Time study can be found in two parts here:
The Government of Canada's Historic Sites and Monuments Board had recognized in 1987 the need to commemorate manufacturing and industrial history in Canada. Two studies conducted by Parks Canada in 1990 and 1996 investigated potential locations to commemorate Canada's industrial heritage, and Brantford featured prominently in their results. Excerpts of both Parks Canada studies can be found below in pdf files.
The above studies support the CIHC's mission to establish an industrial heritage centre in the City of Brantford.
Collections, Documents and Articles
In 2008 the CIHC became the recipient of a significant collection of artifacts and documents from the Cockshutt Plow Company, generously donated by William H. Cocksutt and his son Dean Cockshutt. William (Bill) Cockshutt is the great-grandson of the founder of the Cockshutt Plow Company. Many of these artifacts are on display at the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum located in nearby Waterford, Norfolk County. The Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum generously houses the archival documents of the CIHC.
The CIHC is expanding its collection to include artifacts and documents from Brantford's other industries including Massey-Ferguson, Waterous, and Brantford Coach & Body. While Brantford industries form the nucleus of the CIHC's collection, the CIHC intends to build a collection representative of Canada's industrial heritage.
Photograph of employees from the Brantford Coach & Body during the Second World War (September 1940). Like many industries in Brantford and across Canada, Brantford Coach & Body was designated an essential war industry during the Second World War and produced equipment for Canada's war effort.
1943 Massey-Harris Catalogue featuring a print by Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris. The Massey-Harris Company, which became known as Massey-Ferguson in 1958, began as two separate companies, Massy Manufacturing Company and A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd. The Massey company had its roots in Newcastle, Ontario in 1847. Alanson Harris started manufacturing farm implements in Beamsville, Ontario in 1857. Harris moved his company to Brantford in 1871, and in 1891 Massey and Harris merged to become the largest agricultural implement manufacturers in the British Empire. Lawren Harris was born in Brantford in 1885, a member of the Harris family of Massey-Harris.
The CIHC is working towards establishing a permanent site to exhibit Brantford and Canada's industrial history. In the meantime the CIHC collection is featured at the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum as well as other temporary exhibits. Pieces of Brantford's industrial and agricultural history were featured in two displays at Queen's Park in Toronto. The CIHC compiled an exhibit of "Brantford Made" artifacts celebrating Brantford's manufacturing history with artifacts including goods from Johnson's Wax, Spalding baseballs, and items related to the Cockshutt Plow Company. The exhibit was on display from September 2009 to March 2010. In partnership with the Brant Federation of Agriculture the CIHC had on display a second exhibit at Queen's Park entitled "Plowing Ahead: Agriculture and Industry in Brantford." This exhibit was on display from March to September 2010.