The Hall Foundry Company

by Feb 14, 2023Turner Tales0 comments

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by Lary Turner

Note: This is another in a series on old Hespeler industries.

Hall Zyrd FoundryThe Hall Foundry Company was founded as the Hall, Zryd Foundry Co. Ltd. in 1907. Zachariah Adam Hall in partnership with Oscar Jacob Zryd bought the Parker Steele Range Co. Ltd. of Windsor and moved it briefly to Grimsby, before relocating in 1909 to Sheffield St., Hespeler.

Oscar Zryd owned and operated the Zyrd Gas Machine Company, makers of the Patterson Automatic Acetylene Gas Machine (in the age before electricity most lighting was by coal oil and this machine produced clean gas for lighting homes and buildings). With Mr. Hall as president, the Hall, Zryd Foundry Co. Ltd. operated until 1928 when Mr. Zryd sold his interests.

Hall Zyrd Foundry The company was renamed the Hall Foundry Co. Ltd. and Mr. Hall was actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company until his death in 1952 at age 87. He also operated a sister company; Standard Castings & Manufacturing Co. adjoined the Hall Foundry building.

On Saturday September 15, 1951, workers were installing a new fan at Standard Castings when shortly after 3 pm sparks from an acetylene torch ignited some accumulated fuel oil on the floor. Flames spread rapidly and the men were forced back by the heat. In a short time, the fire had spread to the two-story Hall Foundry next door. Despite all efforts of the Hespeler and Preston Fire Departments, they were unable to make any headway with the fire and concentrated their efforts on saving the St. Mary’s – Hespeler Wood Specialties Ltd. plant next door. The two plants were destroyed at an estimated loss of $250,000; as well as a C.N.R. boxcar sitting on the siding. In addition, many thousands of dollars’ worth of patterns were lost and 113 employees lost their livelihood.

Cleanup of the site began immediately, and with the insurance claim the company was rebuilt. Subsequently, the company was renamed Hallmac Ltd. The new company manufactured a line of high-quality stoves, ranges, furnaces and heaters under the brand names Pilot and FireCo.

The company also made commercial equipment for tourist camps, hotels, hospitals and restaurants under the brand name Bridgewall.

Their early products were fueled by wood and coal, but as times changed, their products were designed for use of fuel oil and natural gas. In addition to its core business of heating equipment, the company manufactured a long and varied list of products during its many decades in business. The lines produced included farm equipment (cultivators, hay rakes, etc.), metal toboggans, wagons, wheelbarrows and the company even experimented with early snow machines.

During the 1960s, they producing the “Hus-Ski” snowmobile in partnership with the Pioneer Chain Saw Company. The technology was later sold to Bolen’s Company who continued to make the machines in the United States.


The Hall Foundry Company finally closed its doors during the economic downturn of the 1980s.

Many of the special features and early improvements of the company’s heating products were attributable to Mr. Hall, who held many patents for innovative design.

Zacharia Adam HallDescribed as an inventor, the Hespeler businessman also held patents on a design for goalie sticks (1922) and a lightweight hockey stick (1936). You may wonder about the connection; but his company was next door to the Hespeler-St. Mary’s Wood Specialties Co., makers of the famous “Hespeler” hockey stick. Zachariah Adam Hall (1864 -1952) was born in Perth County.

He became a teacher (1901) and later principal of the Preston Public School before leaving to open a furniture business. Mr. Hall married Margaret Forbes, daughter of Robert Forbes, owner of Robt. Forbes Company, the largest textile company in the British Empire at that time. The Hall family resided at 155 Guelph Road (Forbes estate home, now 171 Guelph Ave).

Mr. Hall’s career also extended to public service. He was elected to the Preston Town Council and acted as Preston Reeve serving on the Waterloo County Council in 1907. In June of 1914, Zachariah Adam Hall won election for MPP of South Waterloo under the Conservative banner. He served until 1919 and during his term was an outspoken proponent for greater support to the education system. He was also a strong supporter of the “Temperance Movement” urging greater controls on the sale of intoxicating liquor.

After moving to Guelph in 1922, he served on the Guelph Board of Education and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Board of Managers. Mr. Hall died at Guelph in 1952 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Guelph.


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