Brantford Carriage Company 1880s-1930s & Brantford Coach & Body Co. 1930s-1960s now Trailmobile - Brantford, Ontario, Canada (aka Canada Body & Carriage Co. Ltd.)


Known medium volume professional car builder on LaSalle chassis. LaSalle shipped 13 commercial chassis to Canada Body & Carriage in 1937 through their GM Oshawa, Ontario Branch. Another 13 were shipped in 1938, and 9 were shipped in 1939. (In its records, GM sometimes referred to Brantford Coach & Body as Canada Body and Carriage Co Ltd.) 

Brantford Coach and Body – Brantford, Ontario, Canada - Read this fascinating account of how most of the major carriage and wagon manufacturers in Ontario merged and, with the help of Cockshutt Plow Company, evolved out of the pre-automobile era. Follow the story of Adams Waggon, Brantford Carriage, Carriage Factories and others as they diversified out of building horse drawn vehicles and through mergers eventually became Brantford Coach and Body. Further takeovers involved Trailmobile and Fruehauf Trailer until the final company became the largest trailer manufacturer in Canada. Trailmobile Canada: Trailmobile's Canadian division was, for a portion of its existence, a completely separate company.  Here is a site where you can purchase a book about the history of Trailmobile Canada entitled "From Wagon to Trailer". By Michael Hand   

Brantford Coach & Body of Brantford, Ontario built Henney bodies under license for sale in Canada. Also known to have built some hearses on McLaughlin-Buick chassis in the early 1930s (1933).

1938 INTERNATIONAL D15 - Custom Built Tow Car

This custom-made, one of a kind vehicle was built exclusively for the purpose of towing the Aerocar trailer. Initially the trailer was pulled by a 1936 Plymouth coupe, but it soon proved to be somewhat underpowered. In order to realize the full benefits of this travel trailer, the owner commissioned the International Truck Plant in Chatham, Ontario to custom design this unique little workhorse.

A 1938 custom D-Line cab and chassis with a shortened wheelbase was chosen as the basic unit. A four-speed transmission gets the power to the dual rear wheels through a two-speed rear end. Powering up the unit is an International Green Diamond (GRD-233) six-cylinder, L-head engine. Bore, 3-5/16"; Stroke, 4-1/2"; Piston displacement, 232.65 cu. in.; Compression pressure, 110-120 lbs.; Horsepower, 93 @ 3400 R.P.M.; Maximum torque, 181 ft. lbs. @ 1000 R.P.M.

The body was custom fabricated in Brantford, Ontario by Brantford Coach. Moulded steel panels were fastened to hardwood framing members.

Since this travel unit was chauffeur driven, it was self-contained, even without the trailer. It would seat seven persons; the windows had pull-down blinds, and the six-foot long rear seat opened out to form a double bed. Storage compartments were provided for the heavy-duty batteries, the delco generator, and even a swing-out sink for the chauffeur. An intercom system connected the two units.

At the rear deck, a roll-down covering exposes the "Glenn Curtiss Aero Coupler".

The coupled length of the combined unit is 35 feet and it weighs in at approximately 5 tons.

Owned and restored by:
Ken and Lana Hindley
Union, Ontario, Canada

Brantford Coach & Body of Brantford, Ontario was a division of the Cockshutt Farm Equipment and built Henney bodies under license for sale in Canada starting in the mid 1930s. Although their US partner switched to Packard chassis in 1938 a number of Cadillac and LaSalle chassised coaches were produced with Henney bodies right up to WWII.  Henney's patented Leveldraulic suspension and Elecdraulic NU-3-Way casket tables were available on Brantford-Henney coaches as was their deco-shielded Formal Limousine.

1911 This is the year CPCO bought out Frost and Wood, Adams wagon, and Brantford Carriage, which tied into the new capital, and incorporation date. Cockshutt family members remained in control of management and still supplied much of the working capital. Frost and Wood continued for some time to operate it's own branches in the east, and have it's own catalog and management.

1954 Cockshutt Aircraft produced $3,686,000 of the jet engine parts. New product lines included the #422 Pull type combines, SP427, and SP428 Self Propelled Combines. Brantford Coach and Body is rated Canada's largest truck body and trailer manufacturer.

1958 Brantford Coach and Body built a new one and a half million dollar factory. This was to satisfy demands for orders The stock market was down and many stocks including Cockshutt's were under priced. In addition Cockshutt had spent huge sums of money developing and introducing there new line of tractors. Industry sales were off a bit and profits had been poor for several years. But the book value had remained high and the "break-up" value appeared to be excellent. It was for these reasons that Cockshutt became one of the early casualties of "corporate raiders" A New York group which specialized in stripping companies for there cash value, obtained control with 30% of the voting stock and replaced the Board of Directors, with there own appointee's.

1961 Ashton Cockshutt, President of The Brantford Coach and Body, was the last family member working for the company when it was broken up and sold off in pieces, for cash, to the highest bidder. The cash was taken to Florida, and the only truly Canadian farm equipment company became history. White Farm equipment who bought out part of the implement manufacturing division, were able to claim credit for a pair of brand new Self Propelled Combines into which it had no input.

1962 Brantford Coach and Body, a wholly owned subsidiary, had been one of the most profitable divisions for many years. "Brantford Brand" highway semi trailers and dump trucks were the best sellers in Canada. It was one of the last pieces to be sold, eventually becoming a part of Trailmobile. Several years after the purchase of Cockshutt by White Farm Equipment, the parent company went into bankruptcy, and both companies were sold off in pieces.

Cockshutt Farm Equipment had already made it's imprint on the farm equipment industry around the world. It's many inventions have helped the style and profitability of farming throughout North America. For many it was a "family place" to work, with nice people and honest principals. Still today the examples of its products and it's contributions to the less fortunate stand as memorials to the enterprise and generosity of several generations of Cockshutt's and those who worked for them. It will be long remembered as a fine example of Canadian ingenuity and industry.


Brantford Motor Truck Co. Ltd., Brantford, Ont.

The Brantford was introduced with a dash-mounted radiator and was available in models from 2/3 to 1 1/2 tons. They introduced the idea of a removable body which could be left at a loading bay while the truck was delivering a full load. In 1917 production was switched to the Brant­Ford, a 1-ton pick-up which was basically an elongated Model T Ford with chain drive. The company is still in business making truck bodies and trailers.


As a postscript to last year's Brantford Coachworks article, enclosed is-a photo of our 1940 Brantford-Henney Packard Carved Panel Hearse. This carved hearse body is mounted on a Packard 1801-A chassis and is equipped with a three-way casket table, coach lamps, a single side-mounted spare tire and a "cathedral" interior. - 1940 Packard Carved-Panel Hearse, built by the Brantford Coach & Body Company Ltd. of Brantford, Ontario. The carved drapery panels were possibly originally painted light gray, contrasting with the black body.

The Professional Car Issue #66, Fourth Quarter 1992


CAW Union in Brantford

In 1936, the Congress of Industrial Organizations was born in the United States, a by-product of the internal wrestling with in the American Federation of Labour regarding the proposal to organize mass production industry on an industrial basis. John L. Lewis, of the United Mine Workers, rejected the exclusivity of the anachronistic craft union and withdrew from the ALF to form the CIO.
With in a year, the CIO had crept into Canada in an attempt to organize autoworkers at the General Motors Plant in Oshawa. The premier of Ontario, Mitch Hepburn, declared war on the CIO, using every available tool to squelch the resulting strike at the Oshawa plant - a strike that was to have tremendous ramifications for the country as a whole.
Local labour organizers viewed the events in Oshawa with keen interest and intent. Specifically, a group of employees from the Brantford Carriage Works convened a meeting with UAW representatives at the Trades and Labour Hall. At the end of the meeting, fifty-three workers made the decision to sigh up and on May 4, 1937, Charles Millard, head of the Canadian Region of the UAW, presented Local 397 with a charter. Four days later, a contingent of employees from the Adams Wagon Works indicated their willingness to join the newly-formed union and the seed that would eventually germinate into one of the most powerful forces in the city was planted.
One of the original members of the union, Reg Cooper, later Mayor and city clerk of the municipality, recalled in an interview with the Expositor that local workers were very much influenced the success of the GM strike, particularly in combination with local grievances.
He described the fragility of an almost nonexistent job security in which men with as much as fifty years tenure could be laid off without warning or preparation. In the mid-thirties, wages were cut at the Carriage Works by forty cents an hour. There was no pay for overtime.
The founding nucleus of Local 397, struggled to overcome minority status within their places of employment, meagre funds, token recognition from management and a resulting and predictable diminished interest amongst waning members. In November 1938, President Cameron Jacques, reluctantly surrendered the charter to the UAW regional director, George Burt, Millards successor, who, in a rare show of good faith, kept the charter in his desk, rather than return it to Detroit as he had been instructed. Four years later, the charter was returned to the Local, whose centre of organization was still the Brantford Carriage Works newly named, The Brantford Coach and Body.
The UAW sent a representative, Robert Stacey, who began to organize other local plants in earnest of a successful membership drive, He eventually signed up members of Canada Car and foundry, Robbins and Myers and as many as twenty-five others.
The second UAW local in Brantford, 458, developed from the Markets St. plant of Massey-Harris Co. and the Mohawk St. plant of Cockshutt Farm Equipment. The UAW represented a dynamic departure in labour tradition for the two plants whose "union" were financed by the company and whose functions were primarily as listening posts and petty complaint boxes. Local 458 launched a major membership drive within the two plants on the heels of the expulsion of the "company union" in 1943. Massey-Harris was the first of the two plants to sign up. In fact, Cockshutt workers voted to reject the UAW in a meeting held on May 20, 1943, preferring to adhere to the company union until it was banned later on in the year through provincial legislation.
On August 10, Local 458 was officially chartered by the uaw. The Coach and Body was among the first plants to implement the recommendations of the Rand report which provided that all members of the bargaining unit, union and non-union must have dues deducted from their pay cheques, and the amount turned over to the union. Within ten years, both locals had achieved prominent status within the community, despite the negative catcalls of the press and the reluctance of the local industrial establishment to welcome them with open arms. The UAW was able to make significant gains and won contract benefits that made their plants the envy of the other Brantford factories.
Trailmobile, a member of 397, had a cost of living clause introduced into their contract in the 1950's. Members of Local 458 at Massey and Cockshutt's had a company guarantee to pay supplemental unemployment benefits to laid off workers. The unions also introduced health benefits and insurance policies into their negotiations during the fifties. In the sixties the emphasis was on the inclusion of drug plans and seniority clauses.
The significance of the solidification of the modern industrial trade union in Brantford, as in all of North America, lies in its measurable alteration on the status of the union as equal to the giant corporation. The working man and woman found their most powerful ally in the development of industrial unionism.

    For more information please read:

The Professional Car Issue #66, Fourth Quarter 1992

Brantford Coachworks - The Professional Car Issue #??,  1991

Ron Van Gelderen & Matt Larson - LaSalle: Cadillac's Companion Car

Michael Hand - From Wagon To Trailer: A History of Trailmobile Canada and its Forerunners

Dennis McGrew - Cockshutt: The Complete Story

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company : a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Tad Burness - American Truck Spotter's Guide, 1920-1970

Tad Burness - American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide, 1920-1985

Robert M Roll - American trucking: A seventy-five year odyssey

David Jacobs - American Trucks: A photographic essay of American Trucks and Trucking

David Jacobs - American Trucks: More Colour Photographs of Truck & Trucking

John Gunnell - American Work Trucks: A Pictorial History of Commercial Trucks 1900-1994

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Ronald G. Adams - 100 Years of Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Big Rigs: The Complete History of the American Semi Truck

Stan Holtzman & Jeremy Harris Lipschultz - Classic American Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Semi Truck Color History

Donald F. Wood - American Beer Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Beverage Trucks: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - Commercial Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Delivery Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Dump Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Gas & Oil Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Logging Trucks 1915 Through 1970: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - New Car Carriers 1910-1998 Photo Album

Donald F. Wood - RVs & Campers 1900-2000: An Illustrated History

Donald F. Wood - Wreckers and Tow Trucks

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Impressive International Trucks 1907-1947

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Keen Kenworth Trucks - 1915-1955

Richard J. Copello - American Car Haulers

Niels Jansen - Pictorial History of American Trucks

John B. Montville - Refuse Trucks: Photo Archive

Bill Rhodes - Circus and Carnival Trucks 1941-2000: Photo Archive

Howard L. Applegate - Coca-Cola: Its Vehicles in Photographs 1930 Through 1969: Photo Archive

James T. Lenzke & Karen E. O'Brien - Standard Catalog of American Light-Duty Trucks: 1896-2000

James K. Wagner - Ford Trucks since 1905

Don Bunn - Dodge Trucks

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

Don Bunn - Encyclopedia of Chevrolet Trucks


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