HISTORY OF JOSEPH BAKER’S LTD., BRANTFORD, ONTARIO, CANADA.
Joseph Baker’s original company set up in 1870 to produce the patented flour scoop/sifter. The company was liquidated in1919 after selling its Canadian business to Joseph Baker Sons & Perkins (Canada) Ltd and its business in the USA to Joseph Baker Sons & Perkins Co. Inc.
With the Bakers firmly settled in their new factory in Willesden, North America became the most important outlet for their machinery. Augustus Muir tells us that - "From 1891, the firm was represented there by Joseph Edward Baker - a cousin who had joined the two elder brothers on their travels to sell Baker flour sieves. He had made his headquarters at Brantford, two dozen miles from Hamilton in Ontario; and in his red brick house there grew up a family of which ***all the members were to participate in the progress of the Baker firm on the American continent. As a salesman, Joseph Edward Baker travelled from Halifax in the east to San Francisco on the pacific coast. In his absence, it was his wife who looked after the orders as they came in and welcomed visitors from the London firm who used the house as their headquarters.
There was no question of Joseph Edward Baker establishing a new factory in Ontario to replace the old one in Trenton, which had been dismantled when the family had moved to London; all supplies of machinery for sale from Brantford were now imported from England". (See also here).
Augustus Muir tells the story of Joseph Baker and Joseph Edward Baker travelling to Newfoundland to sell flour sifters. - "In St, John's, they met a dealer who, in a sudden transport of enthusiasm, gave them a prodigious order. When they reckoned up the number of households on the island, they decided that the dealer had ordered enough to last Newfoundland for a hundred years.......... 'Neither of us', Joseph Baker is said to have confessed afterwards, 'had the nerve to go back to Newfoundland!".
[NOTE: *** Joseph Edward Baker married Emily Phair and they had four children:
Joseph Edward was intimately involved with the first ever sale of a travelling oven for bread. This application had been discussed by him with the firm of Harrison Brothers of Montreal during 1908 and it fell to his son, R.Elmer Baker, newly returned from training at Willesden, to complete the contract.(See also here and here).
The Minutes of Meetings of the Directors of Joseph Baker's Ltd, held in Toronto in September 1912 are of interest in that they record the progress made in developing the North American market for travelling ovens and automatic biscuit plant:
MEETING of the Directors of JOSEPH BAKER’S LIMITED of Brantford, Ontario, held at the Prince George Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, at two p.m. September Twenty Fourth 1912, pursuant to notices that have been sent to Directors.
PRESENT: J. Allen Baker, J.E. Baker, B.E. Baker
1. Report for submission to Annual Meeting of Shareholders was submitted.
2. Moved by R.E. Baker and seconded by J.E. Baker that this report be approved.
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MINUTES of Annual Meeting of Shareholders of JOSEPH BAKER’S LIMITED, held at the Prince George Hotel, Toronto, Canada, on the 24th day of September, 1912 at two o’clock p.m., by adjournment from 16th and 23rd instant.
PRESENT: J. Allen Baker, J.E. Baker, R.E. Baker
The President took the chair and the Secretary of the Company acted as Secretary of the meeting.
1. The minutes of the Shareholders Meeting held in London, England, Nov. 28th 1911, have been read and confirmed.
2. The following report of the Directors to the Shareholders was submitted –
94 Nelson St, Brantford, Canada
September 23rd, 1912
TO THE SHAREHOLDERS OF JOSEPH BAKER’S LIMITED
The Directors have pleasure in reporting that since the formation of the Company on September 16th, 1911, the business has been progressing satisfactorily both in the United States and Canada
The amount of orders taken totals about $200,000. The amount invoiced totals $244,369.25
It is hoped to be able to produce a balance sheet at an early date.
Difficulties in connection with some of the earlier construction of Travelling Ovens in Canada have been overcome with the result that several important orders for same and Automatic Plants have been received. Similar alterations have been begun on the Ward Plant in Chicago, which, if satisfactory, should ensure a large increase of business in this line in the United States.
The first order for a Complete English Biscuit Plant for the United States has been received during the year, but numerous orders for other Biscuit and Wafer Machinery, also Chocolate Machinery, have been received from that country.
The development of English Biscuit Machinery in both Canada and the United States is receiving particular attention.
It is gratifying to note that the Travelling Ovens and Automatic Plants first installed, especially those in Montreal, have been so successful that several repeat orders have been received.
The prospects for business in the near future seem bright and we think we can look forward with confidence to a steady increase of the Company’s business.
Moved by R.E. Baker, seconded by J.E. Baker, that this report be approved and that the meeting now adjourn.
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