The Products of Greenwich - Mohawk
One of the best kept secrets about the City of Brantford is that during the early part of the 20th Century, its industrial prominence ranked it third in Canada, behind Montreal and Toronto, based on the export value of its manufactured goods globally. A major contributor to this phenomenal achievment was the factory district located on the 52 acre site bordered by Greenwich and Mohawk Streets.
To celebrate the exploits of the companies that were once located there, a six-part series will briefly introduce the background of each of these industries, their products and their lasting impact on Canada and the world market.
No Mystery . . . Just Chemistry
Once located on the smallest of the three parcels of land in the district at 22 Mohawk St. (the area outlined in red >), Sternson Limited was an example of one man's entrepreneurial initiative and the success of a
In 1896 George F. Sterne began experimenting with the manufacture of stove polish and cement to be used in mounting and repairing furnaces. His daytime job was with the Buck Stoveworks, so this sideline wasdone at night out of his home. The business met with success and would eventually grow to include products for domestic hot water and steam boilers.
By 1906 a factory was built on property purchased on Bruce St., and G.F. Sterne was joined in the business by his sons.
During this period of growth and activity, G.F. Sterne & Sons were supplying products to a large portion of the stove and furnace manufacturers across Canada.
In 1922, the company was incorporated, but still owned by the Sterne familly. By 1927, the product line had grown further to include supplies for the building trade such as material to waterproof concrete and surface hardening compounds. Another major specialty was the Fine Chemical line which produced flavourings, essences, extracts and food colours.
A larger production facility was needed to meet the demands of the business and in 1967 Sternson Limited (the name was changed in 1932) moved into a vacant factory complex at 22 Mohawk St. that once produced wagons, truck bodies and semi-trailers.
The business of producing construction products, industrial chemicals and water treatment systems and chemicals continued and in 1979 the Sterne family sold the company to M.T. Bright Holdings Ltd.
The facility closed in 1998 and the factory buildings were torn down. Today it awaits its rebirth as part of the larger brownfield redevelopment planned for the entire site.
Author, Rob Adlam