“This morning at 2 o’clock a fire broke out in a barn on the corner of George and Locke streets, and in spite of the efforts to the contrary, was completely destroyed.
Spectator. February 12, 1876
In a troubling sequence, a second arson incident occurred in the city’s west end, just steps away from the deliberately set fire which occurred the previous night.
The Spectator account noted that “the building was burned under suspicious circumstances, and was used only as a stable, it being partially occupied by eight cows. The animals however were released, and set at liberty before the fire got near them, but the house adjoining, occupied by a German, was completely gutted.”
In the downtown core, a theft occurred at a gold and silver plating business near Bay and King streets :
“Last night, or more probably early this morning, Ing’s was broken into by burglars and a gold-plated watch, valued at $30 taken. The burglars cut through the outer window with a diamond, and cut into a glass case immediately inside with the same instrument, the whole being accomplished without leaving the sidewalk. A fact hard to account for is that another gold watch and a locket, with a great number of trinkets of lesser value, were in the case and were not meddled with by the burglars. They evidently heard footsteps approaching and had not time to complete their work. A couple of suspicious looking characters were observed lounging about the corner, and were watched by the policeman on duty, but were not discovered at work. Citizens cannot expect to have their property secured from burglars if they leave valuables with only a plate of glass between them and the sidewalk.”
In an odd sighting, a Spectator reporter noted the following individual and the animal he was carrying:
“A lad from the country was in town today trying to sell a tame fox. The animal was a fine, large one, and was quite tame and fat. The boy said that he would make a nice pet, and that he would keep the peace toward poultry, he being willing to go his security.”
In 1876, Hamilton had a number of very successful businesses, competing for the cigar market in the city and indeed all across Canada.
One of the leading cigar makers, the Canada Cigar Company invested considerable money in an attempt to partially automate their production. A number of prominent citizens and members of the press were invited to inspect the recently installed machinery:
“The Canadian Cigar Company, of this city, invited a number of gentlemen to visit their factory yesterday, on the corner of Merrick and Macnab streets, to inspect the process of making cigars by machinery. The problem of making cigars by machinery has long been sought a solution of, by the ingenious, and it would be rash in us to pronounce that complete success has at length been attained. We can say, however, quite dogmatically, that we yesterday saw cigars made by machinery with marvellous rapidity, and having inspected them and smoked some of them, we fail to see how they could be made better by any other process. The Canadian Cigar Company have now been in operation about eighteen months, and during that time the managers have been making continual improvement to their machinery, which they now believe to be perfect. The machinery is driven by a small steam engine of about two horse power. Four separate machines are used in the manufacture. The first and most complicated is called the Buncher, into which the “filling” of the cigar is fed through an inclined box which brings it in contact with a toothed cylinder. The teeth of this cylinder are arranged longitudinally in parallel rows on the cylinder, the space between the rows of teeth are those which take up the “fillers” and by a delicate adjustment of parts, these spaces will take in whatever quantity of the operator choose, up to their full capacity, which is greater than any one cigar would require. The quantity for each cigar is thus made exactly equal. Having taken the quantity of “fillers” required for a cigar, the cylinder passes them on to a system of trolleys to which the “binder” is fed by an operator at the opposite end of the machine; the rollers wrap the “binder” round the “fillers” and drop the rudely fashioned cigars underneath. . In this shape they are taken to the moulding machine, which consists of a flat disc of wood, nearly three feet in diameter, around the flat periphery of this disc are arranged about a hundred iron moulds, having the shape of a section of cigar cut lengthwise. A device cuts the cigar endwise into the shape of these moulds by the same operation. When the circle is filled, it is placed under a screw press and a corresponding mould placed over it and pressure applied, this serves to mould the cigar into the exact shape required. The pressure is kept on for three quarters of an hour, and the cigars are then ready for the wrapping machine. The main part of this machine consists in three rotating fingers, made of coiled wire, and bent as nearly as possible into the outline of a cigar. The coiled wire is wrapped around stationary spindles, and can only yield to a certain extent, these, as we have said, to rotate and the motion is claimed to be an exact “counterpart of the motion of human fingers as applied in cigar making by hand. Once placed in the receptacle formed by these fingers, the cigar is ready to receive the wrapper or outer covering, which has been prepared in the usual way. The end of the wrapper is fed to the rotating spindle which pull it in and cover the cigar with it. A touch of paste, to the end of the wrapper, secures it at the tapered end of the cigar. When passed through the machine, it is finished, with the exception that the lighting end of the cigar has yet to be cut off, so as to leave by the cigars of uniform length. This is done by the Cutting Machine into which the cigars are fed, and which by automatic machinery cuts off to whatever length it may be “set” for. Out of this machine a cigar drops a finished article ready for packing. From our inspection, we have no doubt that thre saving in the cost of manufacture by this machinery amounts to six dollars per thousand. Whether this be correct or not, there can be no question that the cigars are turned out with remarkable speed, and that all the machines can be worked by girls or boys, thus saving the cost of skilled labour. Mr. J.E. O’Reilly of this city is President of the company; Mr. John Garry, Secretary-Treasurer; and Mr. A. G. Smyth, Manager. The company intend to increase their capital soon, and there is no doubt that their enterprise is well worthy the attention of those who have funds to invest.