The rich details and coverage of the database offer a huge potential for research on a wide range of topics at all scales from the local to the national. Here are samples of some work in progress.

Work Environments

The CANIND71 database allows us to examine the organization of industrial capitalism at a time of transition from artisanal craft shops to factories using machinery and integrated work processes. A useful concept in understanding this transition is the work environment, which combines measures of the size of the workplace with the extent to which non-manual power was used in the industrial process. A typology of work environments, based on the Philadelphia research of Laurie and Schmitz, distinguishes eight types. See: B. Laurie and M. Schmitz, "Manufacture and Productivity: The Making of an Industrial Base, Philadelphia, 1850-1880," in T. Hershberg, ed. Philadelphia: Work, Space, Family and Group Experience in the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1981): 43-92.

typology of work env. Figure 1: Typology of work environments, 1871

Basic distinctions are drawn between workplaces with no inanimate power (represented on the left side of diagram) and workplaces powered by water or steam (right side). Work environments are further categorized as to the size of their workforces, producing four size classes: 1-5 workers, 6-25 workers, 26-50 workers, and 51 or more workers. Powered establishments with at least 26 workers are called factories, while manufactories are non powered workplaces with at least 26 workers. Smaller powered establishments are called mills if they had from 6 to 25 workers, powered craft shops if they had 5 or fewer workers.

Workplaces using only hand or horse power are called artisans' craft shops if they employed 5 or fewer. Slightly larger craft shops, without power and employing between 6 and 25 workers, were called sweatshops by Laurie and Schmitz in the Philadelphia context though they acknowledged that the term presented some definitional problems. Outworkers, who toiled at home under the putting out system, would be included with the artisans' craft shops, from which it is hard to distinguish them on census manuscript evidence alone. We should remember, however, that the terms used to describe the eight types do not really match contemporary usage when factories, manufactories and shops were generic terms used interchangeably for all sizes of establishment.

How significant were the various work environments in Canada in 1871? In Table 1 the proportions of workers in the eight basic types of work environment are summarized for Canada and the four provinces. We note that in all but Nova Scotia, workers in non-powered workplaces made up much the same proportion of about half the total workforce. There are more differences between the provinces in the size of workplace, with Quebec having one of every two of its workers in manufactories and factories that employed at least 26 workers each. Indeed, nearly one third of Quebec's workers were in the larger powered factories that employed at least 51 workers each. The larger share of non-powered workplaces generally and of small powered shops employing 5 or fewer workers make that province distinctive.

The workplace environments of Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City, as the largest industrial centres, are compared with the aggregate patterns for all Canada urban places and for rural Canada in Table 2. Urban and rural workers generally were almost equally distributed between powered and non-powered work environments. They differed most in the scale of operation of their workplaces. Urban workers were more than twice as likely as rural workers to be in settings of at least 25 fellow employees. They were nearly three times as likely as rural workers to be employed in non-powered shops of 6-25 employees.

But there were contrasts among urban centres in the proportions of the various types of workplace. Montreal and Toronto were very similar to one another and differed from the general pattern for all urban centres in having well over half of their workers in workplaces that employed at least 50, especially the powered larger factories. Large manufactories employed significant minorities of the workforce in both these large cities, especially in establishments making footwear or clothing. While only one in twenty of Hamilton's industrial establishments employed over 50 workers, large factories accounted for 47 per cent and large manufactories for a further 8 per cent of the city's workers. Hamilton had an even greater share (47 per cent) of its industrial workers in large factories, but only 8 cent of its workers were in large manufactories. Artisanal shops were much more weakly represented in the cities of Toronto and Hamilton than in other urban centres of Canada and especially in rural Canada.

The information of Tables 1 and 2 may be shown more graphically. The combination of workplace environments in a given province (or region, city, or other type of locale) may be represented as a "wheel" graph according to the following rationale and the typology as illustrated. Small workplaces in the lower half of each wheel are distinguished from the larger workplaces in the upper half, in the four size classes: 1-5 workers, 6-25, 26-50, and 51 and over. Powered workplaces on the right of each graph are distinguished from those using no inanimate power on the left. Eight types of work environments are thus distinguished. Percentages of all industrial workers in a region or city are calculated for each type of workplace and then represented by arcs whose radii are proportional in length.

workplace environments Figure 2: Workplace Environments

The diagram clearly illustrates the general rural-urban contrasts in types of workplaces, in relation to the pattern for Canada as a whole. Apart from the largest saw mills in rural districts, factories using inanimate power and employing large workforces symbolized the industrial era and were concentrated in urban areas. But in 1871 and later, most industrial workers laboured in the smaller shops of an earlier era. A good many of Ontario's towns and villages had neither factory nor manufactory. In Ontario, for example, only 67 of the 148 urban and proto urban places defined for Ontario had at least one factory, and only 23 had at least one manufactory. In the lower reaches of the urban hierarchy, among the places with under 2,500 people, factories and especially manufactories were exceptional. Even among the 24 urban places with between 2,500 and 5,000 people, only 19 had a factory and only six a manufactory. Artisanal shops and small powered mills were still by far the most common workplaces in smaller urban centres and rural districts of Canada.

Work environments are explored in more detail in CANIND71 Research Report 12, Patterns of Canadian Industry in 1871: An Overview based on the First Census of Canada (1990). This typology of workplaces is illustrated for other sizes of place or types of industry in several CANIND71 research reports. For the application of this typology of workplaces to all the industrial establishments in a county area, see Hum of Industry: Millers, Manufacturers and Artisans of Wellington County #9 in the CANIND71 series of research reports, pp. 38-44.

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Industrial Communities

Almost every type of industrial community may be identified among the 258 Census Sub-Districts (CSDs) classified as urban in 1871. These CSDs include all the incorporated cities, towns and villages, together with the wards which were municipal divisions of cities and selected towns.

New Glasgow Village in Terrebonne (CSD Q99H), with only 168 people, was the smallest urban place in 1871. Its local economy was very similar to dozens of unincorporated small villages which were subsumed in the larger rural CSDs. The identification of such places is a separate research task noted elsewhere. New Glasgow reported four water-powered establishments—a tannery (with 45 employed), a grist mill, saw mill and carding mill. There were also three non-powered establishments—two shoemaker shops and a blacksmith forge.

The City of Montreal, only 25 km from New Glasgow, was Canada’s largest industrial complex, with all types of factories making products for all parts of the Dominion. In contrast to the enterprises in the small communities which used primarily local raw materials and energy sources, most of Montreal’s factories and workshops imported raw materials (including tobacco, sugar and metals) and coal for the steam-engines and furnaces.

Montreal's 9 wards Industrial structures of Montreal’s nine wards show considerable variations from the mixed-use multi-story buildings in the city centre to large, sprawling plants along the Lachine Canal.

How urban was urban industrial activity in 1871? Fewer than one in every five of the people of Canada lived in incorporated urban centres in 1871. But the 187 such centres in the four provinces enumerated in the 1871 Census accounted for a disproportionate share of industrial activity. As Table 3 shows, 23 per cent of all Canadian industrial firms were counted in urban places, with higher proportions in Ontario and Quebec. Nearly half the industrial labour force was counted in these urban centres, with notably high proportions of the women and children who were employed in industry. More than seven in every ten female industrial workers were recorded in urban places. Urban firms also accounted for 38 per cent of the steam power used in industry, 57 per cent of fixed capital, 57 per cent of the gross value of output, and 58 per cent of value added in manufacturing. More than two of every three of the largest industrial firms were located in urban centres. Ontario and Quebec had even larger shares, Quebec urban centres being notable for their high proportion of the provincial output and value added.

Montreal was by far the largest city with a population of 107,225 in 1871, followed by Toronto with 56,092 and Quebec City with 44,538. Three cities had populations in the 25,000 to 30,000 range -- Halifax (29,582), Saint John (28,805) and Hamilton (26,716). Only the Ontario cities of Ottawa (21,545) London (15,816) and Kingston (12,407) were represented in the next size-class. Towns and cities with between 5,000 and 10,000 population were Brantford, St Catharines, Guelph, Belleville, Chatham, Port Hope, Stratford and Windsor in Ontario; Trois-Rivières, Lévis and Sorel in Quebec; and Fredericton in New Brunswick. Ontario had 24 and Quebec four towns in the 2,500-5,000 range. Of the 69 small towns and villages of 1000 to 2000, Ontario had 46 to Quebec's 23, while Quebec had most of the smallest urban places with under 1000 population.

If we consider only the 20 cities and towns with at least 5,000 population, they account for only 11.7 per cent of the whole population of the four provinces and under 11 per cent of the industrial establishments. But they had much larger shares of other measures of industrial activity. As Table 4 shows, one in three of all industrial workers was recorded in these larger urban places, and over 40 per cent of all fixed capital investment, gross value of output and value added.

Urban industrial establishments were generally larger and more productive than rural ones. The average urban Canadian firm in 1871 employed over nine workers compared with under three in the average rural establishment. Urban firms averaged $4,820 in fixed capital investment while the mean for rural firms was only $1,090. The average value added in manufacturing by an urban industrial worker was $594, compared with only $411 for a rural worker. Urban workers also earned more, an average $261.09 for 1871, while the mean for rural workers was only $169.63. Of course, these generalized statistics mask wide variations in the gender and age composition of the labour force and in the seasonality of employment, as well as in the scale of operation of industrial enterprises. Nearly half of all rural units operated for less than nine months of the census year, compared with only 10.5 per cent of the urban businesses.

The degree of urban concentration of industrial activity varied by sector. Over 75 per cent of tobacco or rubber products, primary metals, printing, miscellaneous products, clothing, furniture and metal fabricating, machinery and paper, as well as utilities and construction, were located in urban centres. The lower urban shares of the food, textile, wood and non metallic mineral sectors reflect the large numbers of grist and flour mills, cheese factories, woollen mills, carding and fulling mills, sawmills and lime kilns in rural areas. On the whole, we may distinguish those industry groups more characteristically found in rural areas as processing or primary manufacturing, while the industries concentrated in urban areas may be generally described as fabricating or secondary manufacturing. The distinction is nicely illustrated in the contrasting distribution patterns of sawmills and furniture makers in 1871. Sawmills that processed wood products close to the forest sources were more characteristically found in rural areas. Furniture factories, where the sawn lumber was fabricated by more intensive application of labour into goods for consumers, were more often located in the urban centres.

Yet even in those industry groups or sectors that were overwhelmingly rural, it is notable that the establishments located in urban centres were more productive than those in rural areas. A preliminary analysis of the patterns in Ontario in 1871 showed that urban establishments were more productive than rural units in every sector except mining and quarries. If all industry groups are considered together, urban firms were twice as productive as the norm. Urban saw mills, textile mills, lime kilns, machinery and chemical works, and transportation equipment businesses were especially more productive than rural units of the same industry group.

Industrial activity was far more important to some urban communities than to others. Some were veritable "hives of industry", a phrase used with pride by various Ontario towns and villages in the later nineteenth century. One simple measure of the significance of industry to a community is the percentage of the total population of a city, town or village that was employed in industrial activity. For all 187 urban centres defined in the four provinces, the mean proportion of the urban population that was employed in industry was 13.8 per cent. For its 110 centres in 1871, the mean percentage of the Ontario urban population employed in industry was 14.7, but this value ranged widely in every size class, but especially among the smaller urban centres.

Montreal itself was both the commercial metropolis and the dominant industrial city of Canada, with more than one in every five (20.7 per cent) of its total population employed in industry. Among Canada's cities with over 10,000 population, Montreal was exceeded only by Hamilton (21.6 per cent of its people in industry) and most nearly approached by Toronto (18.9 per cent), Ottawa (14.8 per cent) and London (14.6 per cent). If we adjust for the loss of the manuscript schedules for King's Ward in Saint John, New Brunswick, that city had 14.2 per cent of its population employed in industry. Towns of 5,000 to 10,000 people and above-average employment in industry were St Catharines (17.9), Guelph (16.6), Brockville (16.6), Brantford (15.5), Lévis (15.4) and Trois-Rivières (14.8).

Smaller towns and villages dominated by industry were far more common in Ontario than in Quebec. In a handful of Ontario industrial villages, more than three in ten of the population worked in factories, mills or craft shops. The highest percentages were in Deseronto, Merritton, Hespeler, Portsmouth and Rockland, almost all of them with populations of well under 1,000 in 1871. Three slightly larger villages in eastern Ontario, Almonte, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls, which had populations between 1,150 and 2,100, were almost as highly industrialized, with at least one in every four of their people employed in industry. At least one in every five of the people of the somewhat larger towns of Oshawa, Dundas and Galt worked in industrial establishments.

Only 11 such places in Quebec had above-average proportions of their population employed in industry compared with 43 in Ontario. The tiny Quebec village of New Glasgow had 35 per cent of its 168 people employed in industry but no other Quebec towns or villages had proportions as high as 20 per cent. The next highest were Chicoutimi (19.9), Lauzon (18.9), Danville (18.8), Sherbrooke (17.8), St Jean (16.9), and Buckingham (16.3).

A closer look at some of Canada's industrial communities reveals the presence of leading enterprises or clusters of firms in particular industrial sectors. The largest group of such towns specialized in the primary processing of wood products, each being dominated by at least one large sawmill. Ottawa had six sawmills employing at least 50 workers and producing $100,000 each, and there were single, very large mills in smaller communities such as Carleton Place, Deseronto, Hawkesbury, Port Perry, Trenton, Trenton, Deseronto, Rockland, Barrie, Goderich, Collingwood, Arnprior, Orillia and Stayner. Examples of notable sawmilling towns in Quebec were Buckingham, Chicoutimi and Trois-Rivières.

Eight Ontario towns specialized in textiles. Almonte had five woollen mills, Hespeler three, and Lanark, Campbellford and New Edinburgh and Preston one each. Merritton had two cotton mills and a paper mill and Paris was dominated by knitting mills, while Sherbrooke in Quebec had three woollen mills.

Perhaps more remarkable was the specialization of significant numbers of Ontario towns in more fabricated forms of industrial activity. Several towns specialized in the "metal trades" of various kinds. Oshawa, for example, had over 60 per cent of its 732 industrial workers employed by two firms -- the Joseph Hall Company that made steam engines, boilers and farm machinery, and William H. Gibbs's furniture factory. Gananoque was distinctive for several firms in metal fabricating, machinery and transportation equipment. One made rivets and castings; another nails and hinges; three manufactured tools, including shovels, forks and files; two made agricultural implements; and three made parts for carriages and wagons. The village of Smiths Falls had two notable foundry enterprises making agricultural implements, as did the town of Ingersoll, while Mitchell, Newcastle, Aurora and Brampton were each dominated by a single enterprise in this sector. Guelph and Fergus were notable for the manufacture of sewing machines. Port Hope, St Marys and Picton had measurable specializations in clothing, Bowmanville and Berlin in furniture, and Brockville in stoves. Three towns specialized in the making of transportation equipment: Brantford (railways), Oakville (carriages) and Port Dalhousie (boat-building).

How evenly were the various major classes of industrial activity distributed through the urban system? Did problems of transportation and distribution mean that every locality had its own producers? To what extent had local areas of specialization in particular manufactures developed by 1871? Analysis of the industrial structure of Canadian urban centres does not support any general stereotype of self sufficient communities, each producing goods for its own local needs in geographically limited areas without competition. Clearly, it was possible for local entrepreneurs to have developed by 1871 some significant local specialization in particular product lines, and to supply more than their immediate hinterlands.

But how far had the process of spatial concentration gone by 1871? How concentrated were various classes of industry in the largest cities? To what extent may we explain the distribution of different types of industry in terms of metropolitan dominance? Table 5 shows what proportion of the industrial activity of each province was concentrated in its largest city. In each case, the large city's share of industrial capital, employment and production was far larger than its share of provincial population and numbers of firms. Montreal was far more dominant in Quebec, accounting for nearly 43 per cent of that province's industrial production, than any of the other large cities were of their provincial hinterlands. Saint John and Halifax had generally similar middling shares of their provincial activity, while Toronto was notably less dominant in Ontario which had a much more fully developed hierarchy of urban centres. These figures also show that, as well as dominating the province of Quebec, Montreal was the national metropolis for commercial and industrial activity.

Further examples of industrial communities are noted in the 36 reports of the Ontario County Series. The relevance of the CANIND71 database to community studies, with special relevance to Hespeler, Carleton Place and Oshawa in Ontario, is discussed in “Using the 1871 Census Manuscript Schedules: A Machine-Readable Source for Social Historians”, Histoire sociale 19 (1986): 427-441. An overview is presented in “’Our prosperity rests upon manufactures’: Industry in the Central Canadian Urban System,” Urban History Review 22, 2 (1994): 75-96.

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Women and Industrial Work

How closely were the paid industrial occupations of women and girls related to the skills they learned and used in the home without payment? Some writers have noted the concentration of women workers in industrial and service activities related to their traditional domestic skills, though others have pointed out important exceptions to such generalizations. More finely textured analysis of women's industrial activity, by sector and industrial type as these varied spatially, can be used to address such questions.

All the establishments recorded in the 1871 census were coded according to the Standard Industrial Classification of 1970 (as elaborated for the CANIND71 project). So we may easily measure the range of types of industry in which women and girls were employed. We may do this by major industry groups, using the SEC variable in the database, or we may consider more specific industry types, using the SIC variable. The significance of female workers may be measured in terms of their absolute numbers or as the female proportions of labour force in specific industries.

Women and girls were most active in the making of clothing of all kinds. Clothing industries reported by far the largest number of female workers in 1871, with a total of 12,725 in Major Industry Group 5.07 (Table 6). Three of every four employees in this sector were women or girls, and clothing industries generally accounted for 43 per cent of all female industrial workers in Canada. Next largest were the textile and leather-working industry groups, each employing over 5,000 women and girls in 1871. In these sectors, however, female workers were less dominant than in clothing, making up slightly under half of all textile workers and only one-quarter of all leather workers.

Though the food and drink industries reported nearly one thousand women and girls, there was only one female for every twelve male workers. Three other industry groups employed at least 500 female workers in 1871 -- tobacco, printing and wood-working. In none of these did women and girls form a majority, though they made up nearly two-fifths of the workforce in tobacco. The smaller numbers of women and girls in rubber factories or in knitting and paper mills formed higher proportions of the total workforce.

Yet even in industry groups that were and overwhelmingly male, some women and girls were employed. The sample records presented later in this section illustrate something of the range of establishments that reported female workers in 1871. Firms engaged in processing and fabricating wood, metals, non-metallic minerals and chemicals had some female workers.

Female employment by major industry group varied from place to place. Table 7 shows the variations at the provincial level and illustrates the greater variety of female industrial work in Ontario and especially Quebec. Women and girls made up over one quarter of the Ontario industrial labour force only in clothing (70 per cent), knitwear (80 per cent), textiles (48 per cent), and paper (32 per cent). These four sectors accounted for over four of every five women employed in industry in Ontario. Quebec women and girls formed similar proportions of the textile, clothing and paper sectors but also made up at least one quarter of the provincial labour force reported in the manufacture of rubber, tobacco, chemical and leather products. Though the total numbers of women and girls employed for pay in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were much smaller, their proportions of all industrial workers could be quite high in some sectors. In New Brunswick particularly, female workers made up over one third of the workforce in tobacco, paper and miscellaneous manufactures as well as textiles and clothing.

Participation of women in the industrial workforce Participation of women in the industrial workforce by Census Sub-District

Within the broad industry groups or sectors there were more subtle variations, with women workers active in a wide variety of particular industrial processes and products. Tables 8 and Table 9 list all individual industry types (SIC types) in which at least 40 workers were reported in the 1871 census manuscripts, and in which women and girls made up at least one quarter of the total workforce. Industry types range from those with many establishments throughout Canada, such as dressmaking and millinery, to very specialized industrial processes such as banknote engraving or the making of buttons, tobacco pipes and india rubber goods, in each of which fewer than five firms were active. In Table 8, these industry types are arranged in order of the number of women and girls employed; they are ranked by the female percentage of the total labour force in Table 9. The 34 SIC types listed in these tables account for over 90 per cent of the women reported in industrial establishments in 1871 and for 83 per cent of all the girls.

In addition, several industry types employed at least 100 women and girls, but in somewhat smaller proportions of the total labour force. In flax scutching mills the female share of the workforce was 19 per cent; in carding and fulling mills it was 17 per cent. Women and girls formed 16 per cent of the workforce in confectionery shops and 12 per cent in fish processing establishments. Flour milling, bakeries, sawmills, furniture factories and newspaper printing and publishing each also employed at least 100 women and girls throughout Canada but the female share of the total workforce in each type was below 5 per cent.

Women and girls were reported in a wider range of industry types than one might have expected in Canada in 1871. Altogether, women or girls were employed in 132 of the 196 basic SIC types identified in the whole CANIND71 database. In only ten industry types that each had at least 250 employees in 1871 were no female workers at all reported -- gold mining, peat cutting, sugar refineries, distilleries, gypsum mills, house builders, carpenters, bricklayers, stonemasons, and gas works.

A large majority of women and girls worked in establishments headed by men, and staffed by mixed workforces. Nearly three in every four women workers and more than four in every five girls were reported in such industrial settings. Only a minority of women were counted in workplaces that were segregated by sex, in the sense that only female workers were employed there. Ten per cent of the girls and 8.5 per cent of the women counted in industrial employment were in all-female establishments headed by men, while 17 per cent of women and 11 per cent of girls were in female-headed workplaces. Two in five of all the establishments that reported female workers in 1871 had a proprietor with a female name. Most of these were either small clothing concerns that might employ two or three other women and girls, or hand weavers, spinners or knitters working on their own. About one hundred female proprietors employed at least six female workers, most of them in the clothing industries. Table 10.

But some interesting establishments headed by female proprietors in 1871 had only male employees and were in industry types that were clearly exceptional and non-traditional for women. Some of these establishments were larger than the average in 1871, one in eight of them employing at least six male workers. In none of these cases was the named female proprietor included as an employee. In value of output, the largest enterprise headed by a woman in 1871 was Marianne Supple's saw mill (CANIND # 21547) in the village of Pembroke, Renfrew County, Ontario, in which 20 men and two boys were employed producing lumber valued at $150,000. Some women headed more than one industrial establishment. Esther Ennis of the hamlet of Ennisville, Drummond Township in Ontario's Lanark County, was named as proprietor of three establishments; the flour mill, saw mill, and oatmeal mill together employed 24 men and reported products worth $46,670 (CANIND #s 20915, 20916, 20917).

Six examples of enterprises headed by women but employing only men and boys are described here. Mary Ann Platt of Goderich, Ontario, proprietor of the Tecumseth Salt Works (CANIND # 6338), was the only female proprietor in this industry group. She employed 19 men to produce 50,000 barrels of salt in 1871. The widow of Joseph Beauregard in the Joliette district of Quebec was one of 39 women listed as proprietors of flour mills or other businesses in the food and drink sector. Her flour mill is CANIND # 31709; she also operated a carding and fulling mill (#31710). Sibyl Ryan's saw mill (CANIND # 46139) in King's County, New Brunswick, was one of 37 female-headed businesses in the wood products sector. Jane Darch of London, Ontario (# 2530) was one of 14 women running a leather goods business. (The business continued to be listed in her name in directories and the Dun reference books, and the corporate name Jane Darch & Sons was still visible atop a 6-storey building on London's Talbot Street in the 1980s). The widow of Charles Terreau in Quebec City (# 39746) was one of ten women named as proprietor of a metal products business, while the Widow Richardson's brick yard in Montreal (# 32856) was one of 15 establishments processing non-metallic minerals.

What these enterprises have in common is that they were apparently headed by widows or by wives acting for husbands who were absent or incapacitated. Sometimes the census manuscripts tell us that a woman is a widow by using the title "widow" or "veuve" with the proprietor's name or by a poignant note in the Remarks column, such as "Mrs Troyer's husband you will observe was killed and no accurate account could be got" (Mrs Troyer's sawmill was recorded in Vaughan Township, York County, Ontario, CANIND Record 12224). In other cases, it is possible to ascertain this by examining the nominal schedules. Using both manuscript schedules as well as other contemporary primary sources, one may build up a composite vignette of any industrial establishment and its proprietor's family.

After her husband Sem died in 1865, Jane Robertson Wissler of Salem in Nichol Township, Ontario, continued to run the tannery and saw mill that he had established, as well as a general store and various other business ventures. In 1871, Jane Wissler was enumerated in the personal schedules as head of a household consisting of two daughters and three sons, the youngest aged 6 having been born after Sem's death. The two eldest sons, John and Ezra, were married with their own households by 1871; by this time they were also able to take responsibility for some of the family enterprises. John and Ezra were described in the nominal census manuscripts as "merchants" and in a contemporary directory as also "dealers in dry goods, groceries, provisions and hardware". Jane Wissler was given no occupation in the nominal census schedule but was clearly stated to be the proprietor of the Salem Tannery and Salem Saw Mills on the industrial schedule. The saw mill (CANIND # 8717) employed two men for seven months of the year and reported output worth $5,000; the tannery (# 8718) employed seven men for the full year and produced leather valued at $9,000.

To what extent were women and girls employed in industrial occupations that used the skills they learned and practised in domestic work? Certainly, many female industrial jobs in 1871 were in various aspects of clothing and in hand weaving, spinning and knitting. A significant part of such work was actually done at home or managed part-time in association with domestic responsibilities. In other sectors, such as baking and the manufacture of footwear, there were there were definite exceptions. Traditionally, women had baked bread and prepared other food in the home, but they did not predominate in the commercial forms of these activities. The converse was true for the making of boots and shoes. Men had traditionally been the artisans that made and mended boots and shoes, but women and girls constituted an essential part, and sometimes the majority, of the workforce in the footwear factories established in the larger cities by 1871.

More research, sector by sector and using other primary sources as well, could address the questions of female employment in particular kinds of industrial jobs in this period. Explaining the industrial work of women and children in terms of cheap labour is an attractive hypothesis. It is supported in contemporary primary sources such as the evidence before the House of Commons Select Committee on the Manufacturing Interests of the Dominion (1874) or that collected by the Royal Commission on the Relations between Labor and Capital (1886-9). It is also consistent with the ideas expressed by Samuel, in relation to England, and by Laurie and Schmitz for Philadelphia that, at an early stage of industrialization, women and children might have been substituted for investment in machine technology and perhaps as an alternative to more expensive male labour.

The CANIND71 database can be used to calculate average wages for establishments that used only men or only women. This is necessary as the wage bill was not differentiated for each age-sex group in the census record for each establishment; there are, however, relatively few segregated workplaces. A clear wage differential is evident in those industry groups where calculations are possible. For example, in leather-working, the average monthly wage of a man in a small shop employing one to five men was $19.56 while a woman would earn an average $8.85. In somewhat larger establishments, the gap was wider: men in leather-working establishments employing 6-25 workers each received an average $21.81, while a woman in an equivalent shop received only $7.49 per month. In clothing establishments, a similar pattern is evident. A man in a tailoring shop with one to five men received $21.37; a woman in a dressmaker's shop with one to five women earned only an average $9.07. A man in a clothing shop with 6-25 men employed was paid an average $28.56 while a woman in the same size of female shop received an average $9.15. Similar calculations might be used to compare wage levels in different regions and cities.

The CANIND71 database offers scope for more research on the work of women and girls in particular enterprises, industry types and regions in Canada in 1870-71. The structure of the database, especially its systems of coding each establishment for its exact geographical location and industry type, allows the researcher to reconstruct the patterns of industrial activity in great detail at various levels. It is now possible to see the individual enterprise and its workers in the context of its industry type and its community and region. For a more detailed introduction to the role of women in Canadian industry in 1870-71, see CANIND71 Research Report 11, Canadian Women in Workshops, Mills and Factories: The Evidence of the 1871 Census Manuscripts (1991).

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Canada's Largest Industrial Firms

The vast majority of Canada's industrial establishments in 1871 were tiny operations. One in three of all firms reported under $500 worth of output; 44 per cent declared only one worker; and one in four businesses operated for under six months of the census year. Only 24 per cent of all industrial establishments in 1871 combined an output worth over $500, with more than one employee and operations lasting at least six months of the census year. As a kind of stratified sample of 1871 industrial businesses we consider the largest firms of the time. In a previous study of Ontario’s industrial leaders, we learned the wisdom of ranking industrial firms on the basis of several measures rather than a single variable. See #8 in the CANIND71 series of research reports, Industrial Leaders: the Largest Manufacturing Firms of Ontario in 1871.

We selected the top one per cent of all Canadian firms in 1871 for each of four different measures: number of employees, value of fixed capital investment, gross value of production and added value. We found that, in Canada in 1871, the 450 largest firms by value of output produced goods worth at least $76,000. The largest industrial employers reported at least 51 workers. The most highly capitalized firms declared fixed capital of at least $28,500. The top 450 enterprises by added value had at least $31,000 added in the process of manufacturing. In all, 857 different enterprises were identified by this method.

However, only 150 businesses were found to rank among the top one cent for all four measures. They were distributed throughout the four provinces, with 67 in each of Ontario and Quebec, twelve in New Brunswick and four in Nova Scotia. A good many of the top firms were located in the largest cities, with 39 in Montreal, 14 in Toronto, five in Quebec City, three in Saint John, one in Halifax (and two others in Dartmouth), five in Hamilton, and eight in Ottawa. But as Figure 16 suggests, they were quite widely distributed through smaller urban centres and rural districts as well. In Ontario and Quebec, several towns with under 10,000 population had two or three of the largest firms. St Catharines and Hull each had three; and Ingersoll, Oshawa, Merritton and Buckingham each had two.

Canadian industrial businesses Location of top one per cent of Canadian industrial businesses

The 150 largest industrial firms comprised less than one third of one per cent of the businesses counted in the 1871 census. They were far outnumbered by the thousands of artisans and small craftshops -- the blacksmiths, tinsmiths, bakers, saddlers, shoemakers, tailors, milliners, weavers and knitters, coopers, carpenters, carriage and wagon makers. But they employed one in seven of all the industrial workers, and accounted for 19 per cent of the fixed capital investment, 17 per cent of the gross value of output, and nearly 18 per cent of the value added in manufacturing.

The largest industrial enterprises of 1871 identified here included quite a wide array of types of activity. There were 37 saw mills among the top 150 businesses, of which the largest was E.B. Eddy's at Hull, Quebec (CANIND #30264). There were also 18 boot and shoe manufacturers; nine woollen mills and nine engine manufacturers; six makers of agricultural implements; five furniture factories; four each of cotton mills, printers and publishers, and railway workshops; and three each of breweries, tanneries, furriers, rolling mills, stove works, and sewing machine factories. There were also two sugar refineries, two distilleries, two each in the manufacture of rafts, tobacco products, clothing, hats, paper, nails, hand tools, as well as two ship builders and two gas works. Unique firms in this list were the Canadian Rubber Company on Montreal (#32860), the Dartmouth Rope Walk (#51308), St Lawrence Glass Company of Montreal Parish that manufactured Flint glass (#33372), Starr Manufacturing of Halifax that made skates (#51324), and R.S. William's organ and melodeon factory in Toronto (#s 12836 and 13060).

Were the newer, large factories of 1871 more or less productive than the manufactories and craftshops? The CANIND71 database offers scope for exploring theories based on industrial data in the United States. Laurie and Schmitz used their Philadelphia data to test Alfred Chandler's theory that scale and mechanization did not necessarily lead to economies of scale, and that scale might indeed be a liability. The results of their analysis supported Chandler in showing that the large factory was not the efficiency leader in the mid to late nineteenth century. See B. Laurie and M. Schmitz, "Manufacture and Productivity: The Making of an Industrial Base, Philadelphia, 1850 1880", in Hershberg, ed. Philadelphia: Work, Space, Family, and Group Experience in the Nineteenth Century, (New York, 1981): 43 92. For analyses of the earlier period, see also J. Atack, "Returns to Scale in Antebellum United States Manufacturing", Explorations in Economic History 14 (1977): 337 359; and K.L. Sokoloff, "Was the Transition from the Artisanal Shop to the Nonmechanized Factory Associated with Gains in Efficiency? Evidence from the U.S. Manufacturing Censuses of 1820 and 1850", Explorations in Economic History 21 (1984): 351 382.

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Mapping Data

Reconstruction of the census geography of 1871 not only provided a means of identifying the areas but also has produced a digital mapping base for plotting data.

A selection of maps is presented here, in scale order, from the whole national area to localized establishments.

census sub-districts 1. National map of Census Sub-Districts in 1871
location of top one percent of industrial business 2. Location of top one per cent of industrial businesses. Details of the methodology are published in CANIND71 Research Report 12 (1990).
women in industrial workforce by census sub-district 3. Participation of women in the industrial workforce by Census Sub-District. The methodology is explained in CANIND71 Research Report 11 (1991).
distribtution of steam and water powered sawmills in ontario 4. Distribution of steam- and water-powered sawmills in Ontario by Census Sub-District.
5. Numbers of water- and steam-powered sawmills in Ontario by Census District (J.E. Mersey)
6. Workers and wages in the sawmill industry in the Maritime Provinces (J.E. Mersey)
7. Niagara Region of Ontario: Census Sub-Districts and the use of power in industrial establishments.
8. City of Montreal Wards: Industrial work environments.
9. Industrial Establishments using power in Guelph, Ontario. Since the census schedules did not provide street addresses, town directories and other contemporary sources were used for plotting the locations.
10. Powered industrial establishments in the Speed and Eramosa River valleys north of Guelph. Precise locations of the rural establishments in parts of Guelph and Eramosa Townships were derived from contemporary directories, maps and fieldwork.

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1. Industry in Ontario Urban Centres, 1870: Accessing the Manuscript Census, Elizabeth Bloomfield, G.T. Bloomfield, Janine Grant and Peter McCaskell (1986).
2. Water Wheels and Steam Engines: Powered Establishments in Ontario, G.T. Bloomfield and Elizabeth Bloomfield (1989), 49 p.
3. The Ontario Urban System at the Onset of the Industrial Era, 1871, Elizabeth Bloomfield and G.T. Bloomfield (1989), 59 p.
4. Creating CANIND71: Procedures for Making the 1871 Industrial Census Machine-Readable, Elizabeth Bloomfield and G.T. Bloomfield (1989), 64 p.
5. Glossary of Industrial Language, Jane Turner, Janine Grant and Barbara Sibley (1989), 54 p.
6. French-English Dictionary of Industrial Language, Jane Turner, Janine Grant and Barbara Sibley (1989), 27 p.
7. Standard Industrial Classifications Applied to Historical Data: the Case of the 1871 Industrial Census, G.T. Bloomfield and Elizabeth Bloomfield (1989), 66 p.
8. Industrial Leaders: The Largest Manufacturing Firms in Ontario, 1871, Elizabeth Bloomfield and G.T. Bloomfield (1989), 69 p.
9. The Hum of Industry: Millers, Manufacturers and Artisans of Wellington County, Elizabeth Bloomfield and G.T. Bloomfield (1989), 84 p.
10. Boundaries of Canadian Census Units in 1871, G.T. Bloomfield (1990), 110 p.
11. Canadian Women in Workshops, Mills, and Factories: The Evidence of the 1871 Census Manuscripts, Elizabeth Bloomfield ( 1991). 106 p.
12. Patterns of Canadian Industry in 1871: An Overview Based on the First Census of Canada, Elizabeth Bloomfield ( 1990), 80 p.
13. Ontario Central Places in 1871: A Gazetteer Compiled from Contemporary Sources, G.T. Bloomfield, Elizabeth Bloomfield & Brian Van Nostrand (1990). 175 p.
14. Industry in Ontario counties, 1871: a preliminary atlas, G.T. Bloomfield, Elizabeth Bloomfield & Larry Laliberte (1992), 200 p .
Canind71 Manual accompanying the CANIND71 data, by Elizabeth and Gerald Bloomfield and Peter McCaskell (Guelph : University of Guelph , Department of Geography) 200 pp., 1991. Also CANIND71 Manuel (en francais).

CANIND71 ONTARIO COUNTY SERIES, all by Elizabeth and Gerald Bloomfield

A series of 36 county guides to the 1871 manuscript data that have been made machine-readable as the CANIND71 database. All industrial establishments are indexed in a) alphabetical order of proprietor's name and b) in industry types (Standard Industrial Classification) ranked by value of output. Each report has an introductory essay explaining the value of the CANIND71 data for historical research of communities and region and summarizing distinctive features of industry in the county in relation to the general industrial structure of Ontario in 1871. Significant large industrial firms are identified and the industrial activity in cities and large towns is distinguished from the general county patterns. Each county volume is illustrated with maps, graphs and summary tables.

There is no report for Wellington County in this series as that county had already been described as a model regional study in the Research Report Series: 9. The Hum of Industry: Millers, Manufacturers and Artisans of Wellington County (1989) 84 pp. The districts of northern Ontario , where industry was still rudimentary in 1871, have been grouped in the Northern Districts report (# 36).

1. Brant County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 50 pp.
2. Bruce County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 49 pp.
3. Carleton County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 55 pp. Includes City of Ottawa.
4. Elgin County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 49 pp.
5. Essex County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 48 pp.
6. Frontenac County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 58 pp. Includes City of Kingston.
7. Grey County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 60 pp.
8. Haldimand County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 41 pp.
9. Halton County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 50 pp.
10. Hastings County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 68 pp.
11. Huron County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 63 pp.
12. Kent County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 50 pp.
13. Lambton County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 47 pp.
14. Lanark County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 59 pp.
15. Leeds and Grenville County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 88 pp.
16. Lennox and Addington County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 45 pp.
17. Lincoln County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 56 pp.
18. Middlesex County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 76 pp. Includes City of London .
19. Norfolk County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 43 pp.
20. Northumberland and Durham County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 92 pp.
21. Ontario County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 59 pp.
22. Oxford County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 65 pp.
23. Peel County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 41 pp.
24. Perth County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 59 pp.
25. Peterborough County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 48 pp.
26. Prescott and Russell County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 38 pp.
27. Prince Edward County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 37 pp.
28. Renfrew County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 42 pp.
29. Simcoe County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 76 pp.
30. Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Industries , 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 64 pp.
31. Victoria County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1993, 42 pp.
32. Waterloo County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 76 pp.
33. Welland County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 49 pp.
34. Wentworth County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 78 pp. Includes City of Hamilton .
35. York County Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census , 1992, 113 pp. Includes City of Toronto .
36. Northern Districts Industries, 1871: Index to Manuscript Census, 1993, 34 pp.


Bloomfield, E. "Making the Census Manuscript Schedules Machine-Readable: Industry in Ontario Urban Centres," Machine Readable Archives Bulletin 4, 3 (1986). Also published in French as "Conversion de donnees de recensement sous forme ordinolingue: industries urbaines de l'Ontario en 1870."

Bloomfield, E. "Using the 1871 Census Manuscript Industrial Schedules: a Machine-Readable Source for Social Historians," Histoire sociale/Social History 19 (1986): 427⌐441.

Bloomfield, E. "Industry in Ontario Urban Centres, 1870," Urban History Review XV, 3 (February 1987): 279-283.

Bloomfield, E. "Manuscript Industrial Schedules of the 1871 Census of Canada : A Source for Labour Historians," Labour/Le Travail 19 (1987): 125-131.

Bloomfield , E. "'As accurate as is humanly possible': Accessing the Manuscript Schedules of the 1871 Census of Canada," Archivaria 23 (Winter 1986-87): 185-192.

Bloomfield, E. and G.T. Bloomfield. "Mills, Factories and Craft shops of Ontario , 1870: Machine-Readable Source for Material Historians," Material History Bulletin 25 (1987): 35¬47.

Bloomfield, E. and G.T. Bloomfield, "Waterwheels and steam engines in Ontario : Industrial power reported in the 1871 Manuscript Census," Scientia Canadensis 13, 1 (1992): 3-38.

Bloomfield, E. and G.T. Bloomfield. "Our prosperity depends on manufactures: industry in the central Canadian urban system, 1871,” Urban History Review 22, 2 (1994): 75-96.

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We welcome information about other projects that might be linked.

Federal Census of 1871 ( Ontario Index)
Created by the Ontario Genealogical Society from the original manuscript records and hosted by the National Library and National Archives of Canada in the Archivianet Collection.
The database includes all heads of households with name, age, place of birth and place or enumeration. These may be linked with proprietors’ names in the CANIND71 database.

In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project
Created by the Digital Collections Program, Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McGill University Library. Atlases mostly published in the period 1875-79.
A useful source of facsimile maps of counties and townships with listings of property owners noted on the original maps. Not all townships are covered. Garafraxa East (Wellington County, Dufferin County after 1881) is missing, for example. Coverage of towns and villages is incomplete in some areas, such as Waterloo and Wellington counties.

Guidelines for the Creation of Historical Materials, by Lisa Y. Dillon, Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, Ottawa , 1998
A review of various historical microdata projects in Canada and other countries.

IMAG Historical Census Bibliography
A draft historical census bibliography compiled from research in 19 journals, with an emphasis on the historical census and methods. This bibliography provides a brief summary of the topics discussed in each article, along with the census years and countries mentioned.

Bateman-Weiss & Atack-Bateman: U.S. Industrial Census 1850-1880
Samples from the US Manuscript Census of Manufactures held in the
MADGIC: Social Science Data Centre at Queens University .
Documentation on coding these samples

1870 US Census of Manufactures
Summary details were compiled by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan , Ann Arbor as part of a larger project: Historical Demographic, Economic and Social Data of the United States 1790-1970. The data are displayed by the Historical Census Browser in the Geostat Center Collections at the University of Virginia Library .
The browser may be used to display selected manufacturing data for the states and counties of 1870. No data are available below the county level. Manufacturing statistics include: number of establishments, workforce status (number of males and females aged 16 and over; youths), total capital invested, value of materials, value of production. The data might be used for comparisons with equivalent areas of Canada in 1870.

Valley of the Shadow: Manufacturing Census Search
As a small part of a comparative project on the social impact of the American Civil War on two counties on either side of the North-South divide, manufacturing data from the 1860 census were digitized. The range of data, search strategies and display formats may be compared with those of CANIND71.

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Suggested Citation of CANIND71

The source of all data, documentation or programs derived from the CANIND71 database should be acknowledged as:

Canadian Industry in 1871 Project (CANIND71), University of Guelph, Ontario, 1982 - 2008. After the first reference to the full citation in each work by a user, the short form "CANIND71" may be used for subsequent references.


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