VIEW-4618 | King's Mill, Amalgamated Asbestos Corporation Limited, Thetford Mines, QC, 1909
King's Mill, Amalgamated Asbestos Corporation Limited, Thetford Mines, QC, 1909
Wm. Notman & Son
1909, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , industrial (826) , Industry (942) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
The railways played a crucial role in the development of the mining industry. They were actually a prerequisite to the opening of a mine, because of the high cost of hauling the ore to market. Thanks to Quebec Central's service to Thetford Mines, for example, asbestos companies were able to ship their product to the United States. Similarly, the nickel mines around Sudbury benefited from Canadian Pacific's rail network in the area. Thus all the mines were well served by railway lines criss-crossing their sites and passing near their mills.
The ore had to be taken to the mill, where the asbestos fibre was separated from the rock. This work was at first done with a kind of hammer by young women called cobbers, but was mechanized in the 20th century.
The profile of towers lined up near the King mine asbestos pit can be seen in the distance and indicates that the mill is close by. The pole is a sign that a new source of energy-electricity-is being used.
In 1909 five Canadian companies decided to merge to fight the buying monopoly formed by American companies, which was forcing prices down.
A number of mining company shareholders, like James King, a Conservative MLA from 1892 to 1897, became active in provincial politics in order to keep an eye on possible government intervention.