The Oshawa Manufacturing Company, the precursor to the Joseph Hall Works, was originally owned by a group of Oshawa citizens including A.S. Whiting.
Renamed the Joseph Hall Works, this plant was established in 1857 with its parent company located in Rochester, NY. The plant was managed by F.W. Glen and was one of the village’s largest manufacturing works. Its production included agricultural implements, threshing machines, and custom castings. As the company had no real competition in Canada, it was able to secure good prices for their products. At the height of their prosperity, the Joseph Hall Works was probably better known in Canada than any other industrial company.
At its peak, the Joseph Hall Works employed as many as 300 people and had an excellent apprenticeship program. Those in the program would be able to learn in the shops, and graduates took leading positions in every state in the Union and throughout Canada. It was said at the time that in any large machine shop in North America, you could find a Joseph Hall graduate.
Unfortunately, by the late 1870’s a depression and high tariffs on farm implements caused the business to slump. By 1887, the Joseph Hall Works was forced to declare bankruptcy. While it is always sad to see the demise of a company, in this case a new company was established, as the R.S. Williams Piano moved into the building in 1890.