Lumber has always been a lucrative business in Canada, but by the 1870's, competition was so fierce that rivers became crowded with logs of competing companies. Identification of logs became a major issue, and the Dominion of Canada felt it necessary to intervene.
In her article, "Logging Log Ownership", Amanda HIl of the Deseronto archives writes:
"In the days when logs were floated down rivers to be processed, it was important for the lumber companies to reliably identify whose logs were whose. The Timber Marking Act was passed in 1870 and required logging firms in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to register a unique identifying mark and then to stamp the cut trees with that symbol. Between 1870 and 1990, some 2,200 timber marks were registered. Failure to register and use a timber mark incurred a fine of $50, while wrongly applying a mark to someone else’s logs was also an offence, with a fine of up to $100."
In 1874, the Ministry of Agriculture published "The Lumberman's Timber Guide, " to help lumber companies overcome problems of identification. It included pictures of stamps for all registered lumber companies, and a complete index. The preface concluded that "without a correct book of reference, much trouble and loss must be sustained from ignorance of the Registered Marks by which the timber and lumber can be identified, besides incurring the risk f infringing on those already adopted and registered."
.This hammer’s mark (a six-pointed star) was registered by Deseronto’s H. B. Rathbun & Son on July 18, 1870.
Lucky for us, Ron Barrons from "back of Cordova", donated the stamp hammer of the Gilmour Lumber Company,(pictured above) one of the major timbering companies of this area, along with the Rathbun Lumber Company and the Page Lumber Co.
The Gilmour Lumber Company was widely active in our area and north up to Algonquin Park. For an excellent site regarding the Gilmour company's Dorset Tramway, with 128 photos and text, click here!