Collections

Tools and Equipment

Textile | Construction | Farm | Other trades

Other trades

Shoemaking | Tinsmithing | Barrel making

In the country, farmers and others often practised a secondary trade, manufacturing all sorts of items used on the farm and in the home, not only for their own use but also for their neighbours. This is the case of the barrel maker, the tinsmith and, occasionally, the cobbler.

Shoemaking

In the 17th century, when the French came to settle Quebec, they could not transplant the system that controlled French shoemaking. Although they came here to implant a replica of France on North American soil, they were forced to adapt in numerous ways. Driven by the forces of the environment and confronted with a new geographic reality, they had to adapt to an unknown climate, soil, fauna and flora. Cut off from urban resources during the cold of winter and driven by the vital need to survive, these French settlers demonstrated imagination and, while developing their creativity, they also borrowed knowledge from another culture, namely that of the Amerindians, who knew how to defend themselves against the harsh winters.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Shoe tree

Shoe tree
1994.890

Piece of leather

Piece of leather
2005.77

Cobbler’s bench
and shoe tree

Cobbler’s bench and shoe tree
1994.886

Tinsmithing

As of the 17th century, Quebec was home to numerous metal workers, each having his own speciality. They included tool makers, locksmiths and tinsmiths.

The tinsmith manufactured a large number of tin objects that were of use both in the home and on the farm: pots, basins, shovels, candle brackets, and oil lamps. Over the centuries, the tinsmith established his business in a village and his shop would contain objects of all sizes and shapes. Over time, the shiny, light and relatively inexpensive tin objects replaced articles made of pewter, wood and pottery.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Perforated container

Perforated container
1994.3906

Weather vane

Weather vane
After 1850
1994.1584.1-2

Candle mould

Candle mould
1994.915.1

Punch mould

Punch mould
2001.134

Candy mould

Candy mould
1994.3339.1-4

Barrel making

When the French arrived in New France, they needed a large variety of tradesmen. The colonists brought in people who specialized in numerous fields. Barrel makers played an essential role. Not only was their trade essential to everyday life, but it also played a direct role in the country’s industry and trade. What was the point in developing the fishing industry if there were no barrels to carry the fish? Why encourage farmers to increase their wheat harvest if there was nothing in which to export it? As a result, barrel makers who were rare in the 17th century, saw their numbers grow significantly in the 18th century with the growth of the economy, finally reaching a plateau at the peak of Quebec’s commercial development in the 19th century.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Two-pronged tongs

Two-pronged tongs
Late 20th century
1997.88.17

Cooper’s tool

Cooper’s tool
Late 20th century
1997.88.4

Barrel hoop

Barrel hoop
Late 20th century
1997.88.15.1-2

Punch shears

Punch shears
Late 20th century
1997.88.18

Alan key

Alan key
Late 20th century
1997.88.6

Drawknife

Drawknife
Late 20th century
1997.88.11

Round gouge

Round gouge
Late 20th century
1997.88.13

Bung adze

Bung adze
Late 20th century
1997.88.21

Barrel pry bar

Barrel pry bar
Late 20th century
1997.88.14

Cooper’s hammer

Cooper’s hammer
Late 20th century
1997.88.20

Cooper’s plane

Cooper’s plane
Late 20th century
1997.88.2

Cooper’s auger

Cooper’s auger
Late 20th century
1997.88.16

Plane

Plane
Late 20th century
1997.88.12

Draw gauge

Draw gauge
Late 20th century
1997.88.5

Cooper’s brace

Cooper’s brace
Late 20th century
1997.88.8

Cooper’s brace

Cooper’s brace
Late 20th century
1997.88.9