|Fact & Fantasy: A History of Tavistock & District||Personal Services - Page 133-135|
FLOUR, FEED & SEED MILLS
The Tavistock Milling Company
For nearly half a century this Tavistock Milling Co. slogan promoted the sale of pastry and all-purpose flour to homemakers and bakeries at home and abroad.
Even after the growth of large mill and baking companies, throughout the country in the early 20's, had narrowed the market, the sales of Tavistock Milling Co. brands continued. Pastry flour under the name "Atlantic" and "Gladstone" as an all-purpose, half-half type flour and "White Seal" for bakeries, were still being home tested. A local housewife tested each large milled shipment, by using the flour for one batch of bread dough.
The history of Tavistock Milling Co. dates back to 1886 when a mill was built on the present Maria St. location, operated by Messrs Klein, Kalbfleisch and Poehlman. This new mill had a capacity of 125 barrels of flour. A.E. Ratz had formerly operated a sawmill and gristmill in Gadshill, before purchasing the Maria St. mill; the Ratz name became synonymous with the milling business for many years.
The Tavistock Milling Co. was a family company with A.E. Ratz as President and General Manager, and a cousin Louise Pfeffer a partner. He later resigned to build his own mill in Milverton. The office staff consisted of the Ratz daughters, Chirstene and Mabel, and later at the close of World War I, Gordon and Pearl. The sons Albert and William and the son-on-law, J.S. Koch, were salesmen for the company.
In 1893, the property was destroyed by fire but the company at once set to work to rebuild. The new mill was perhaps the largest building for milling purposes in this country being five stories in height with a capacity for 200 barrels, increasing to 400 barrels. This was a fine structure of brick and iron and had a large patronage. The machinery was a sight for visitors to Tavistock.
The mill operated the full twenty-four hours a day. The plant could be shut down immediately from positions on any floor, in case of emergency. The Company generated its own steam-power to operate the machinery and light the building. This plant generated sufficient steam to heat and light the Ratz home on Decew St. by means of steam lines laid underground.
The grain elevators had a capacity of 100,000 bushels of wheat. This mill was the market for all wheat grown within a radius of twenty-five miles. This was soft wheat and milled into cake and pastry flour. Western hard wheat was brought in by the carload, and unloaded from the company's railroad siding. This was milled into hard-wheat bread flour. The company carried on its own export business, shipping to its broker, W.W.H. Rutherford, in Glasgow, Scotland. In early years the flour was shipped in barrels, but later in 140 lb bags (10 stone) under their own brand name of "Gapher". There was a very personal connection with this Glasgow market: large plaid metal boxes of Scotch shortbread would arrive as Christmas Greetings.
TOP ROW: Verle Ruby, Jim Seyler, Robert Keutsch, Frank Barber, Wm. Matthies, Howard Ruby, Roy C. Wettlaufer, Victor Riehl, Percy Bender, Herb Albrecht, Elroy Zehr, Henry Schmidt, Mervin Lichti, Stan Roth, Walter "Steve" Faber, Stanley Zehr, Milt Seyler, Roy Sippel, Wilfred Keutsch, Gottleib Waldie, Neil Gregory, George Merklinger, Harold Yungblut, H. J. Neeb, Lloyd Faber, Mahlon Ruby, Lorne Kaufman, Sam Merklinger, Gordon Fuhr, Bruce Faber, Fred Currah.
SECOND ROW: Doug Albrecht, Jack Yungblut, Tom Hanlon, Barbara, Bill Jr. and Mrs. Wm. Matthies, Mrs. Wettlaufer and Trudy Steinman, Mrs. Riehl, Mrs. Bender, Mrs. Albrecht, Mrs. Elroy Zehr, Lichti boys and Mrs. Lichti, Mrs. Stan Zehr and Donald, Ted and Mrs. Seyler, Mrs. Keutsch, Mrs. Waldie, Eileen Yungblut, Mrs. Gregory and Lynda Matthies, Mrs. Yungblut, Mrs. G. Merklinger and RoseMary, Mrs. Neeb and George Merklinger Jr., Mrs. Lloyd Faber, Mrs. M. Ruby, Mrs. Kaufman, Mrs. Sam Merklinger, Mrs. Gordon Fuhr, Alan Keutsch, Willis Kaufman.
SEATED AT FRONT: Donald Riehl, Fred Ruby, Ken Seyler, Don Seyler, Ron Seyler, Carl Ruby, Bonnie Matthies, Bonnie Yungblut, Lorna and Allan Kaufman.
The mill served a large part of Western Ontario with its product for domestic trade. Salesman called on the grocery and general stores and bakeries in an area west to Lake Huron and north to Owen Sound. The local deliveries would be made by heavy wagons drawn with fine teams of Percheron horses. As side hobbies the Ratz family always had a fine string of horses, of draft, standard and thoroughbred variety and fine ponies. These were seen in show rings throughout Western Ontario. Later the horse-drawn wagons were replaced by trucks.
Many names are remembered on the staff of this Milling Co., each one taking a personal pride in his part of the operation of this large industry in a small community: as E. Bowmann, who was head miller for 23 years, with his son Norval working with his father from the age of sixteen, beginning as a sweeper and advancing to the post of second miller. This latter position he held for sixteen years. J. Pfeffer, C. Mohr, H.Hahn, J. Keutsch, J. Lingner, G. Simms, H Wilker, J. Phillips and many others were faithful employees for many years. Fire struck a harsh blow again in 1922, when the mill was practically demolished. This time Mr. Ratz did not rebuild but carried on with a small chopping business in a rebuilt part of the old structure.
Milling Company Workers
G. Simms, ???, ???, J. Keutsch, J. Pfeiffer, W. Ratz, C. Mohr, ???, H. Wilker, J. Floto, ???, J. Hahn, F. Debus, ???, J. Phillips, ???, T. Ratz, A.E. Ratz, ???, B.C. Ratz, I. Rahn.
In 1923, the Tavistock Milling Co. under the Ratz name was purchased by Henry Faber and Associates of Wellesley, The guaranteed load of $25,000 by the village was continued to the new firm. Building and machinery were set up to meet the inspection of the village officials. This was a busy spot during the days of Worl Warr II. General manager was Harry B. Faber, with brother George as salesman, sons, Walter and Lloyd in the plant and office the management of which was under Henry J. or "Shorty" Neeb.
In 1965, the mill was taken over by the New Hamburg Mills, with Mr. Rooney as manager.
On June 1, 1967, the plant became a branch of the Martin Feed Mills Ltd., One of a half dozen plants in Central and Western Ontario dealing in poultry, hog and cattle feed, along with custom chopping. Under Mr. Bohlender, a staff of sixteen has brought renewed activity to this once busy corner. The head office is located in Elmira.
Yantzi Feed and Seed Company In 1959 Mr. LaVerne Yantzi purchased the feed and seed end of Harry Nuttall's business an continued to operate in the same block on the south side of Woodstock St. S, originally owned by Mr. Alles, harnesss maker, later by Stock & Hansen, Hansen and Wettlaufer, Budds of Stratford.
In August 1964 the business was transferred to his new establishment on Woodstock St. N., the site of Zimmerman Brothers plant, which had burned down. Here stands a fine mill, that chops and rolls and mixes feed for the many dairy herds, swine, chicken and fowl farms in the area. Two mobile chopping units are operated and call on the farmer at home. Since 1964 two corn storage silos have been added with a combined storage capacity of 30,000 bu. Along with a drier, to reduce the moisture content to 14% to prevent spoilage. A retail outlet handles farm hardware, fertilizers, and other farm and garden needs.
Robert Rudy Limited
On May 26, 1936, Mr. Robert Rudy took over the TAVISTOCK COAL & LUMBER & SUPPLY COMPANY. In 1960, the firm became Robert Rudy Ltd, trading in lumber, roofing and all other building supplies and in coal and fuel oil. Mr. Rudy and his staff of Henry Gingerich, Ervin Zehr, Ross Nicklas and most of the time Mrs. Doris Rudy - have handled the delivery of express packages as well as the routine business of the firm. The office has always been centrally located on railway property just north of the Grand Trunk (now C.N.R.) line. In August 1967, these quarters were enlarged. In May 1966, Robert Rudy, Jr. after finishing his course at Ryerson Technical Institute, Toronto, joined the firm.
|PREVIOUS||TABLE OF CONTENTS||NEXT|