Holmes Foundry Company photo album


Holmes Foundry Company photo album


Regular price $400.00 Sale

Holmes Foundry Company of Port Huron and Sarnia built automobile cylinders, but, in the early 1930s, business was poor and employees suffered "intermittent employment," as the introduction to this album states. The company tried various cooperative schemes to assist employees, including farming. The idea was that the workmen could make use of their unoccupied time on the farms, increasing their annual income with the harvest. One farm also butchered meat as an experiment. The photos here include shots of the foundry buildings on both sides of the border, but mainly focus on the farms in their second year, 1934. The photos show the men planting an orchard, driving a team of percherons, gathering early potatoes, posing with their harvest. In one photo, Mr. L. G. Blunt, president of the two companies, inspects a crop. The pictures also show fields of navy beans, summer cabbage, cucumbers, turnips, tomatoes, the large amount of canning done, butchered steer and pigs, and irrigation equipment. Unfortunately for the workers, some crops failued due to dry weather, and, according to the introduction, "there would be considerable wasted during the flush harvest of most everything that was raised." While the pastoral photos in this album seem idyllic, the Holmes Foundry became known for its successful efforts to prevent unionization of workers, and for its unsafe production of asbestos insulation. In 1937, at the Canadian plant, approximately 70 European immigrant workers took part in a sit-down strike in front of their machines to protest the company's refusal to recognize their union. In response, approximately 300 Sarnia citizens descended on the property to forcibly remove the striking workers through violence while police stood by and did nothing to stop the assaults. Furthermore, in 1987, the Ministry of Labour commissioned a health study to judge the effects of the extremely high levels of asbestos exposure that Holmes workers experienced. The findings of the study were staggering, showing a 600% increase in lung cancer mortality among the Holmes workers exposed to asbestos for two years or more.

Publication Info

  • Publisher: n/a
  • Edition: n/a
  • Date Published: 1934
  • Place Published: n/a
  • ISBN: n/a


  • Condition: Fair
  • Signed: No
  • Dust Jacket: No
  • Jacket Condition: n/a
  • Details:
    48 leaf album, 31 x 36 cm, with black paper covers. 55 b&w photos, 12 of which are loose. Others are stapled, usually one 20 x 25 cm photo per page, each with caption. Typed introduction page. Covers chipped and torn. Upper corners of approximately first third of the book are chipped. Some damp marks and soiling to pages. Photos in very good condition, generally unmarked.

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