Gillie, Goddard and Company, (etc).

Dublin Core


Gillie, Goddard and Company, (etc).


William M. Gillie's main foundry and plant is located on Goose Island at Tonawanda and Chestnut. In September 1892 a massive fire destroys some of Gillie's plant, and the nearby Gillie, Goddard and Company "whirligig" production facilities--the third time the latter had burned. Apparently they are fed up, and erect a new factory in North Tonawanda (around present-day 15th Ave, but west of Oliver) to manufacture merry-go-rounds and, when demand wanes, bicycles. They are prospering when, on June 6, 1896, another disastrous fire strikes, with flames so high the fire "seemed to lick the very clouds above." The plant was woefully underinsured. By October an even larger building is completed on the spot, and also houses Gillie, Goddard and Drury and the Tonawanda Cycle Company.

From Landmarks of Niagara County, New York (1897):
Gillie, William M., was born in Scotland in 1852...and came to America with his parents in 1854. He learned the blacksmith trade and was in that business for himself for 11 years, when he branched out into the machinery business and finally formed the stock company of Gillie, Goddard & Co. They manufacture merry-go-rounds, bicycles, etc., and also have a foundry. Their trade extends all over this country, Canada, Mexico and other points such as Buenos Ayres, New Brunswick, etc. Mr. Gillie has been a trustee of the village for two years and was re-elected in the spring of 1896. He is a member of the Odd Fellows and A. O. U. W. He married Mary Campbell, and their children are Harold, James, Agnes and Jean.
From Tonawanda and North Tonawanda (1891):
A native of Scotland, Mr. Gillie, emigrated to this place thirty-seven years ago, learned the machinists trade in boyhood, and a dozen years since erected the slips adjoining the creek at the corner of Tonawada and Chestnut streets. The machine shop is 30x70 feet, equipped with lathes of all necessary dimensions, and other iron devices for making new work or doing any kind of repairs. The foundry is 40x60 feet, where all kinds of castings are turned out; and with direct connections to the Niagara Furnace of this city, iron of the requisite grade is secured better and cheaper than formerly, with a complete saving of time and freights. The engine and boiler room is fitted with the necessary power producing apparatus for the successful conduct of the work. A specialty is made in steering wheels and other boat castings, water works pipe, builders' columns, etc. Although as before said, any kind of casting is produced lo the order of customers, or machinery made to special pattern. Twenty to twenty-five skilled mechanics find employment here, and, as Tonawanda develops into a manufacturing city, Mr. Gillie's shops and other like concerns will doubtless be compelled to enlarge their sphere of action. The plant recently purchased by J. Bordman, and under the super- intendence of W. A. Hartwig, is also fitted up as a foundry and machine shop.
In 1895 partner Goddard is reported implicated in a murder.

The Gillie Machine Co. is formed in 1907. At some point W. M. Gillie's son, James enters the family business (A "J. B. Gillie" is identified as the company's president and manager in the 1923 ad in this collection). The Tonawanda concern is later purchased by Alfred Schwartz, who names it Tonawanda Engineering Company. Clarence A. Hackett purchases it in 1947, and it's relocated to Military Rd. in 1957 when the Seymour Street bridge is built across the creek.


Gillie, Goddard and Company (Sanborn Insurance Map, 1893).jpg

Gillie, Goddard and Co plant, map (Sanborn 1893).jpg

Gillie Place was west of Oliver Street, just a little north of where 14th Ave would later intersect with Oliver.