John Bertram

John Bertram was born in Scotland in 1829, where his mother’s family, the Aimers, were leading
millwrights and engineers. In 1852 he sailed to Canada, and joined the Gartshore Foundry in
Dundas. The recession which followed the Crimean War forced John to move to a bush farm for five
years. When the iron business picked up in 1862, he returned to Gartshore’s and in 1863 joined Robert McKechnie and formed McKechnie and Bertram, a small machine shop on Hatt Street. The operation was also known as Canada Tool Works.
Three of John’s sons apprenticed in the shop — Alexander, Henry and James. McKechnie retired in 1886 and the name was officially changed to John Bertram and Sons Co. in 1901.
In 1884, John built “Glenholme” on twelve acres of land on Governor’s Road. In less than twenty five years he had become a leader in Canada’s fledgling industrial enterprises. Curious of other developments,  John ground his own metallic reflective telescope lens and made the first galvanic batteries used in Ontario. He built a huge industry under difficult conditions in a country in its infancy.
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