Month: April 2017


Submitted by Brian Roulston Spring is finally here!! We can put the snow shovels away and get the ol’ mower out, mother nature sure has a way of keeping us busy doesn’t she? Formal lawns first began appearing in France during the 1700’s and up until the 1830’s only the wealthy could afford large beautifully cut and manicured lawns. These lawns were maintained by a multitude of sheep, goats, cows, horses and other four-legged lawnmowers. If you didn’t like the little messes they left behind your other choice were gangs of men using a long curved blade fastened at an angle to a long handle called scythes. A British mechanic by the name of Edward Beard from Stroud, England changed all that with his invention of the ‘Reel Lawnmower’ in 1827.It was 19′ wide(480mm) based on a tool he saw that was used to uniformly cut carpets. It comprised of a series of blades around a cylinder placed at the front which was pushed from behind. The next mower was one that was chain driven and invented by Thomas Green in 1859; he called it the Silens Messor which means ‘Silent Cutter’. The first motorized lawnmowers appeared around the 1890’s powered by steam. They took several hours to warm up to operating pressure, eventually kerosene and gas engines came along in 1900. JP Engineering of Leicester, and Ransomes’ Automaton...

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Walkabout – Forster Brass Foundry/Freeman Block

By Ken Hirter This month’s Walkabout finds me at home literally. But this Walkabout is about A.M. Forster Brass Foundry/Freeman Block or the “Jamesville Foundry” circa 1873 located at 255-265 James Street North at Colbourne Street. Let’s go back, way back to the days of yesteryear of horse drawn carriages and General Stores and merchants the year was 1873. A brief history:      The first Brass Shop on this site was A.M. Forster Brass which was one of the cities first Brass shops here in the city of Hamilton. In 1855 the company was renamed the Hamilton Brass Manufacturing Company which employed 140 workers. An interesting footnote the streetscape of this section of James Street North was very different on May 15th 1872 when legions of workers supporting the 9 hour work movement for shorter work hours paraded up this section of the street from the North. Spectators leaned out of doorways from bakers, blacksmiths, millners, shoemakers and tailors to witness the parade or an early demonstration of 1872. A lumber yard soon came under control of W.A. Freeman and he added a 4 storey towers with pinnacles and pyramids roofs at either ends.      In 1903 saw a major fire that ripped through the building. It destroyed both towers and the tall roof. Sadly many of the ornate additions were lost, but the large round arched Windows at...

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Volunteers Make it Happen in Hamilton

by Donna Reid Mother Nature continues to toy with us.  She can’t decide whether it’s spring or winter or some other post climate change mélange.  But we know by the calendar we are headed in the right direction.   Yesterday I walked to work with scarf, mittens and winter coat – with running shoes.  At the end of the day mitts and scarf were tucked away in my bag, coat slung over my shoulder and dreams of sandals in my future.  7 PM and 15 degrees! Now this morning a whole different story – whoa!   Thinking about turning the furnace on – and about all those energetic souls preparing to walk and run this weekend in the Around the Bay Race.  Did you know that this race is the oldest in North America and began in 1894 in Hamilton? April is National Volunteer Month, Earth Day is Saturday April 22 and it’s time to clean up our neighbourhoods after winter and all of these offer opportunities.  Most neighbourhood initiatives in Hamilton are created and driven by volunteers.  Volunteering is a great way to learn more about your city, meet new friends and make your neighbourhood a better place for everyone to enjoy. Neighbourhood Associations: For me –nineteen years ago – a neighbourhood association was my first “engagement” with the community.   I was brand new to Hamilton, had purchased my home...

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A tip of the Top Hat welcomes first vessel of 2017 to the Port of Hamilton

The first vessel of the 2017 shipping season has arrived at the Port of Hamilton. The tug Calusa Coast and its specialized tank barge Delaware arrived carrying liquid asphalt from Detroit for delivery to the Yellowline Asphalt Products terminal at the Port. The Hamilton Port Authority marks the start of each shipping season with the ceremonial presentation of a top hat to the Captain of the first vessel. On March 21, Calusa Coast Captain Gary Kafcsak was welcomed to Hamilton by Yellowline’s Operations Manager, Suresh Daljeet, and Hamilton Port’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber. Ms. Gruber presented Captain Kafcsak with...

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