Reuben Smith Hamlin, one of the leading manufacturers in the County of Ontario, is a native of Madison County, N. Y., being born in the town of Fenner, July 12, 1827. His parents, Solomon and Lucinda (Stannard) Hamlin, belonged to the thrifty farming community of that county, and his grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution. Our subject spent his youth on the farm, finished his education at the Cazenovia Seminary, in his native county, and for eighteen years was engaged in the patent medicine business, traveling, during that period, in all the New England and Middle States, in most of the Western States east of Missouri river, and in Canada.
At length, becoming tired of traveling, Mr. Hamlin farmed four years near Lockport, will county, Illinois; then removed to Buffalo, N. Y., and from 1865 to 1875 was engaged in the patent medicine business, being of the firm of Ransom, Hamlin and Co. During this time Mr. Hamlin held considerable stock in the A. S. Whiting Manufacturing Company at Cedardale, near Oshawa, and in the spring of 1875 settled in this town, and has since devoted his time exclusively to the interests of this company, the first establishment in the Dominion that began to manufacture a complete set of agricultural tools. In April, 1876, Mr. Whiting died, and Mr. Hamlin became the owner of four-fifths of the $100,000 stock, and President of the Company. It employs about seventy men the year round; does a business of about $130,000 a year, at wholesale prices, and manufactures usually about 168,000 tools of every kind used on a farm, 48,000 being scythes. These tools are sold in all parts of the Dominion from British Columbia, on the Pacific coast, to Prince Edward Island, and in Great Britain, Germany and other parts of Europe. A warehouse was established in Liverpool years ago, and an agent is kept there to attend to the European trade. Some of the heaviest, steadiest and best customers are on the Continent of Europe. No better goods of the kind, it is safe to say, are made in the world, and they do their own advertising: hence the steadiness of the custom and the certainty of a market. Financial crashes came and other factories suspend operations for a season; but this keeps on. Some of the workmen have been in these shops for fifteen or sixteen years, and had steady employment.
In 1878 Mr. Hamlin sent a few samples of these goods about half a dozen of each kind, to the great World’s Exposition at Paris, and he took a medal for the exhibit, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. These samples were all purchased by Count de Sansebal of Italy, and placed in the Museum at Rome. Probably no manufactured articles of any kind made in Ontario are wider or better known than those turned out by the A. S. Whiting Manufacturing Company.
Mr. Hamlin is a director of the Loan and Savings Bank of Ontario, and though but a short time in Oshawa, is pretty well identified with its interests, being quite public spirited.
November 22,1858, Miss Cyrene E. Whiting, daughter of Algernon S. Whiting from whom the A. S. Whiting Manufacturing Company takes its name, was married to Mr. Hamlin, and they have lost one child, and have one son and one daughter living.