A Changing World: Education in New Brunswick
Amherst Foundry Co.
About 1890, 19th century
80 x 40 x 40 cm
Gift of M. Abel Doucet
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
Keys to History
Before the first schoolhouses were built in the 1850s, young Acadians were taught by travelling teachers who boarded with local families. The peripatetic instructor made sure to provide the pupils with a basic general education before moving to the next school.
After the 1850s most communities had a schoolhouse run by a teacher. It was not, however, attended by all the children of the parish, as only those whose families had the means to pay could pursue their studies. Indeed, children of poor families often had to quit school in order to help at home. But despite the high rate of absenteeism and the lack of teaching materials, the assembly at the end of the school year was a popular event. The whole parish came to see the ceremonies and presentations and to applaud the students' results.
The now-defunct Robb Engineering Company Limited manufactured not only various types of stoves but also steam engines and boilers used, among things, for building electric tramlines.
The Robb Engineering Company Limited was established in Amherst, Nova Scotia, in 1865. It was one of the biggest foundries in Canada, exporting to England and even Australia.
In the early-20th century the wood or coal stove in the middle of the schoolroom kept pupils and teacher warm and able to concentrate on class work in cold weather.
Alexander Robb established a cast-iron foundry later to be called the Robb Engineering Company Limited.