While cast iron foundries were common at the turn of the
th century, the steel foundry was a rare find. But, in 1912
a fine little foundry tucked away on Depew Street began
pouring casts that would define Hamilton as “Steeltown.”
One of Dofasco’s earliest “firsts” was cast steel railroad
equipment. The company led the way to converting
Canadian railroads from cast iron and wrought iron parts
to stronger and more efficient cast steel. From rail casts to
turbine equipment and from gears to mammoth valves, the
foundry cast a long and honourable history over its nearly
years in operation. In the 20s, the foundry kept the
company alive and in 1930 a 95,000-pound casting was
poured for a hydroelectric development in Quebec. It was
the largest such casting ever produced in Canada.
A foundry cast began as an engineering drawing. A
patternmaker, a true master craftsman, then created a wood
pattern of the part. From there, a mold was made by packing
sand around the pattern, then removing the pattern. This
produced a sand mold, into which the molten metal was
poured. In the finishing department, “chippers” used guns to
remove rough edges and finish the product.
While the foundry started by making only parts for the rail
business, by the 1960s the company was immersed in rail.
In fact in 1962, the company purchased National Steel Car, a
rail car manufacturing company also launched in 1912 just a
stones’ throw away on Burlington Street. Towards 1970 the
company was designing, making and assembling rail trucks
for high speed trains.
Dofasco would later sell National Steel Car to a private
owner in 1992.
For many decades, the little red brick foundry office on
Depew was the main office space for the company. When
a new state-of-the-art office was constructed in 1964,
the company’s historic home became the “works” office for
manufacturing staff. Dofasco’s foundry was sold in 1992 .
When its owners closed the operation, Dofasco reacquired
the land. The original foundry was demolished in 2002, while
the works office remained a fixture until it was demolished in
marking the end of an era.
The “f” in Dofasco
An original wood pattern created by Dofasco master
patternmakers and used in the foundry to cast parts.
This pattern was used to cast a bevel gear.