Monday 26 March 2012

Davis Controls Ltd. - The Beginning

Next year, I am proud to announce, Davis Controls Ltd. will celebrate 80 years in business in Canada! By any standard, this rare and distinctive landmark of endurance and survival is acknowledgment of a truly unique accomplishment. For any business, but in particular for a Canadian Distributor of Process Controls and Industrial Instrumentation, to achieve this milestone is a testament to sound strategy, dynamic leadership, generations of success oriented people and good fortune.

Founded on September 01, 1933, Davis Controls Limited will soon be a member of the small and select community of Canadian companies to merit the 80th Anniversary distinction. With headquarters in Oakville, ON and branch offices in Montreal, Hamilton, Cambridge, Sarnia, Calgary and Vancouver, Davis Controls is a model of Stability, Leadership, Strength, Endurance and Control, the same attributes we ascribed to the products we represent.

Following graduation from the University of Toronto in 1928 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Cecil R. Davis found work on resource and transportation projects in Northern Ontario and Eastern Quebec, finally ending up back home where he became resident engineer on the newly constructed Welland Canal. Shortly after getting married in 1929, the Great Depression set in and jobs became difficult to find and to keep. Mr. Davis enjoyed short periods of employment with Northern Electric and Massey-Harris, but in late 1933, once again found himself broke and unemployed.

According to the company records of the origin of Davis Automatic Controls Limited (as it was called then), C. R. Davis started out in business for himself with nothing but a bicycle to get around on, offering boiler and refrigeration repair services in downtown Toronto. On the occasion of the company’s 40th Anniversary (Nov.01, 1973), Mr. Davis wrote;

“In the beginning there were no other full time employees besides myself. When clerical or mechanical help was required, hiring was done on a part time basis and only for the work in hand.”

“The billing for the first full year of operation (1934) was about $8,000.00. The next year it was about double, at approximately $15,000.00.” Today we are one thousand times that size.

Davis Controls Limited was one of the first Canadian companies in the controls and instrumentation business and began operations in a one-room store on Bond Street in the heart of Toronto. Post depression growth forced expansion to larger premises on Wellington Street, then Blackmore Street, Dundas St. W. and finally to it’s present location on Bristol Circle in Oakville.

In my next installment, I will discuss how Davis Controls contributed to the war effort and continued to grow into the company it is today.