September 25, 1858
William Thomas Benson and Thomas Aspden became partners in the first corn wet milling company in Canada - known today as Casco Inc. The Company originally operated under the name Benson & Aspden while the factory was known as the Canada Corn Starch Works. In the early years, only the starch was extracted from the corn then refined to make products for culinary use and textile applications.
May 29, 1860
Thomas Aspden sold his share of the Company to W.T. Benson and the name was changed to W.T. Benson & Company.
The Company received the Prize Medal for Benson’s Prepared Corn Starch at the London International Exhibition.
The Company bought the first telegraph instrument in the Village.
December 12, 1864
W.T. Benson’s son George Frederick Benson was born. G.F. Benson later became president of the Company.
January 20, 1865
Company was incorporated as Edwardsburg Starch Company Limited and W.T. Benson became managing director. Walter Shanly was elected president and held this position for over twenty years.
The Company’s head office was located on 37 St. Peter Street in Montreal.
May 9, 1872
Company placed its first ad which was in the Montreal “Daily Witness”.
W.T. Benson established St. Paul’s, the first Anglican Church built in Edwardsburgh.
The Company purchased Benson’s cattle shed so that they could double the capacity of the factory. Benson raised cattle to dispose of the by-products.
June 14, 1873
W.T. Benson went to Scotland to find a manager for the factory and, on September 4th, secured John Gray who moved to Cardinal and later left the Company to start the St. Lawrence Starch Company.
October 11, 1874
The starch factory and sawmill were destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, the building that was being fitted as an addition to the starch factory was not burned.
Shares in the Company were $50 each.
The first grain elevator was built with a capacity of 50,000 bushels of corn. This elevator was later enlarged to hold 100,000 bushels.
The Company received a Medal and Diploma at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition for their starch quality.
The Company ground 87,931 bushels of corn into 1,678,780 pounds of starch.
December 31, 1876
Company records listed 63 shareholders.
May 1, 1878
Company opened its first sales office in Toronto.
Benson and son sailed to Liverpool, England to investigate glucose which was, at that time, being made in Buffalo, N.Y. by the American Glucose Company.
The Village of Cardinal was incorporated.
June 11, 1880
First Trade Mark of the Edwardsburg Starch Company – CANADA STARCH WORKS – was registered.
December 26, 1880
Second Trade Mark of the Edwardsburg Starch Company – SATIN – was registered.
December 30, 1880
Third Trade Mark of the Edwardsburg Starch Company – W.T. BENSON & CO’S CANADA EXTRA FINE STARCH – was registered.
February 27, 1882
The Company began refining glucose under the name “Canada Grape Sugar Works”.
April 1, 1882
Trade Mark – CANADA GRAPE SUGAR WORKS – was registered.
January 20, 1885
Interesting help wanted advertisement printed in the Montreal “Witness” and “Gazette” reading: “WANTED, a labouring man, with a large family of boys, for a factory in Ontario, constant employment and good wages for self and boys.”
June 8, 1885
William Thomas Benson died from a stroke at the age of 61; he was born on April 20, 1824 in Kendal, Westmoreland, England.
The Company ground 157,582 bushels of corn into 3,616,143 pounds of starch.
March 10, 1887
The Company signed a contract with S. Richmire for cartage of products from the factory to the rail station at a rate of $2.12½ per day. Two years later the rate was increased to $2.20 per day.
July 9, 1887
The Company purchased “Baltic Starch” a potato starch factory in Kensington, PEI for $4,500.
September 30, 1889
John Gray, the Company’s factory manager, and Arch Hutchison, sales manager of the Toronto office, resigned and organized the St. Lawrence Starch Company (which closed in 1990).
Electricity was introduced into the factory by Edison Electric Company. Up to this time, the factory used oil lamps and lanterns.
August 10, 1891
Grind was reduced from 440 bushels to 240 per day, and the glucose factory was closed until September, due to high inventories, the high price of corn, and a slow market.
Grind was reduced from 240 to 180 bushels per day.
January 14, 1892
The glucose factory almost closed because of the removal of duty on sugar and a 25% reduction in duty on glucose, allowing U.S. competition to sell their product in Canada for less than the Company’s cost of production.
The glucose factory closed temporarily because of severe competition from U.S. refiners.
The Company began to burn coal instead of cordwood in the boilers.
The Company hired its first stenographer, Miss Evelyn Manson who was with the Company for 10 years, until she married. Married women were not allowed to work for the Company.
Competition from the U.S. was very strong with the reduction of duty on starch from 2½¢ to 1½¢ per pound, and duty on glucose from 1½¢ to 1¢ per pound. The Company lobbied the government to raise the duties, but were not successful.
Since very little corn was grown in Canada, the Company had to source it from the U.S. and pay an import duty of 10¢ per bushel.
The majority of our corn came from Chicago at a cost of about 50¢ per bushel.
March 5, 1896
George Frothingham Benson Jr. was born.
The duty on corn of 10¢ per bushel was eliminated by the new Liberal government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
July 18, 1896
The glucose factory was closed for one month due to poor market conditions.
Construction began on the new canal running
back of the Village of Cardinal which eventually placed the Village on an island.
The first typewriter was bought for the Cardinal office. Until this time, all letters had been written
February 10, 1898
The Company made an arrangement with the Cardinal Electric Light Company whereby, in exchange for power from our factory to run the electric company’s dynamo, the lighting for our factory was to be supplied free of charge.
April 14, 1898
The Company finalized an arrangement with the Grand Trunk Railway for the building of a siding from the main line of the railway to a point near
Freighter shipping rates were 2¢ per bushel of corn from Chicago to Cardinal.
Sales in starch and glucose reached over 5 million pounds.
The Company expanded the factory to a capacity of 2,500 bushels per day – 1,000 bushels for starch and 1,500 bushels for glucose and syrup.
Freighter shipping rates increased from 2¢ to 6¢ per bushel of corn from Chicago to Cardinal.
Sales in starch and glucose reach 8¼ million pounds.
January 16, 1900
Remuneration to the directors was increased from $500 to $1000 per annum.
April 8, 1900
The glucose factory was completely destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt at twice the capacity within a year.
May 17, 1900
The Chicago Sugar Refining Company
approached the Edwardsburg Starch Company
to enter into an arrangement for the
manufacture of glucose in Canada.
November 15, 1900
The Company made its first purchase of Canadian corn; 10,000 bushels were purchased from Western Canada, to be delivered to Cardinal by rail at a cost of 42½¢ per bushel.
December 31, 1900
Trade Mark CROWN BRAND – was registered.
The Company’s local competition was from the Imperial Starch Company, the St. Lawrence Starch Company, and the Brantford Starch Works.
George F. Benson became acting president and managing director of the Company.
November 27, 1901
A tug towing a barge of corn purchased from an elevator in Ogdensburg was cut by ice and sank, but a wrecking crew managed to save every bushel.
The Edwardsburg Starch Company was approached to take over the Brantford Starch Works’ factory after it was destroyed by fire. The Company declined at that time.
The Company purchased the old steamer “Cardinal” which could carry 8,000 bushels of corn or 250 tonnes of coal.
The Company employed 180 males and 9 females in the factory and 6 males and 6 females in the office. The total wages paid in that year were $52,474.70.
The Imperial Starch Company and Brantford Starch Works amalgamated with the Edwardsburg Starch Company.
January 22, 1906
The Canada Starch Company Limited was incorporated.
August 9, 1911
The Company built its first fireproof warehouse.
March 21, 1912
The Company registered the name “CASCO” as a trademark.
September 6, 1912
The Company began preparing the drawings and specifications for a new plant in Fort William that would manufacture glucose and starch. The plant opened in April 1914.
March 10, 1913
To raise capital for the Fort William plant, the Company sold the Imperial Starch Company to the government for $47,000.
The Fort William plant began grinding corn this month. After less than 2 months, the plant was shut down due to accumulation of stock and collapse of trade in the Northwest because of the war. The plant did not re-open until March 1916.
The price of corn between October and December 1917 fluctuated between $2.10 and $2.15 per bushel, a record high at that time.
January 13, 1918
Corn Products Refining Company obtained majority interest of The Canada Starch Company. E.T. Bedford continued as president of the Corn Products Refining Company and George F. Benson remained president of The Canada Starch Company.
May 20, 1920
The Brantford Starch Works was sold to The Canada Glue Company for the sum of $40,000.
June 1, 1920
G.F. Benson Jr. started working for the Company in the purchasing department.
June 9, 1920
The Board of Directors voted to provide employee housing in Cardinal. Authorization was given for $100,000 to build these homes.
The Cardinal plant was closed from the middle of August to the middle of October, and the Fort William plant for the months of November and December because of a slow economy.
The Fort William plant was closed and the buildings were used for warehousing for the trans-shipment of goods from Cardinal.
August 31, 1923
For the first time, “Benson’s Golden Syrup” was packaged and sold in glass jars to attract low volume consumers.
The Company installed the first chlorination system for use by both the plant and the Village of Cardinal, at a cost of $1,275.
The Company had a steam vessel built in Hull, England. The new vessel, "CASCO", was used to transport coal and corn.
June 22, 1927
The Company’s new steam vessel “CASCO” arrived in Cardinal. Unfortunately, that same summer, the vessel ran into the canal bank and had to be in dry dock for repairs for a couple of months.
The Company increased corn storage capacity, building a new concrete elevator. This elevator had a storage capacity of 450,000 bushels of corn.
February 9, 1931
G.F. Benson Jr. was promoted to assistant general manager.
December 5, 1932
The Company sponsored a series of concerts title "Syrup Symphonies" which were broadcast every Monday evening from 8:00 to 8:30. One hundred and forty-five of these concerts were aired with the final broadcast on April 5, 1937.
January 1, 1938
G.F. Benson Jr. was appointed president and general manager of the Company.
Almost 300 men and women from the Company joined the Canadian Armed Forces; this represented about one-half of the work force.
The Company created the fictional "signature" of Jane Ashley to promote products and recipes.
The Fort William operation closed.
The Company produced its first newsletter “The Casco Kernel” to keep employees serving overseas up-to-date on the Company and community.
October 26, 1944
William (Bill) George Robinson retires after 52 years of service with the Company. Bill started working for the Company in 1891, just 6 days after his 15th birthday, and earned 75¢ a day.
In 1945 and 1946 a serious crop failure affected Canadian corn supplies, and imports from the United States were drastically curtailed.
Dial telephones were installed throughout the plant. Unlike the previous system which only operated during the hours of the plant, this new system was operable 24 hours per day. This was one of the first of its kind in Canada.
October 5, 1945
The first Company canteen opened offering full meals for 25¢, sandwiches for 10¢, soft drinks for 7¢, and soup, coffee, tea, or milk for 5¢.
The Company switched from a 7 day, 56 hour work week to a 48 hour week.
The Cardinal plant was closed for over a month between June and July, and the year’s operations were reduced to about 35% of capacity because of a shortage of corn.
January 2, 1947
The “CASCO” steam vessel began supplying extra steam to the plant which was required for the increased grind under winter conditions.
The Cardinal plant was closed for over a month in June – July because of a shortage of corn.
The Company’s first diesel-electric locomotive #6 offered significant operating advantages over the steam locomotives; it could be run by one person, was quieter, was fully weatherproof, and was much cleaner to operate.
The Company purchased an ultra modern 16 mm sound on film projector from the Bell and
Howell Company. In addition to showing films on shop practices, safety, and training, the projector was also used on Saturday mornings for children’s viewing.
In order to cut back on operating expenses, the September and November issues of The Casco Kernel were cancelled.
Created in 1940, Jane Ashley began as a “signature” personality used to promote products made by the Company. In 1949, Jane acquired a physical form, and then a voice which was used on the radio to promote the Company's products.
For the first time, the Company participated with an external entity, the University of Saskatchewan, to do research on using Cerelose dextrose in ice cream.
The Company ranked fifth in Ontario by the Industrial Accident Prevention Association covering Food Products Industries.
The Company installed the first “flash dryer” in the plant.
January 1, 1951
A new agreement was reached at the plant – an 8¢ increase per hour for all male employees, a 4¢ increase for females, and 3 weeks vacation for employees with 25 years of service or more.
Corn costs averaged 47¢ per bushel.
April 30, 1951
Joe Amell retired after 55 years of service. All Joe’s family were associated with the Company.
The canteen raised prices – coffee 7¢, soup 10¢, sandwiches 15¢, and a complete meal for 60¢.
Corn costs averaged 41¢ per bushel.
Corn costs averaged 39¢ per bushel.
April 11, 1953
George F. Benson died at the age of 89; he was born on December 12, 1864 in Montreal. Mr. Benson was survived by his 3 children, G.F. Benson, Jr. who was president of the Company until 1961, William D. Benson, and E. Dorothy Benson.
A new labour agreement increased hourly rates by 3¢ for male employees and 2¢ for females, and provided 3 weeks vacation per year for employees with 15 years of service or more.
July 12, 1954
The first rail car of glucose was shipped to Western Canada. Prior to this, glucose was delivered in drums.
September 9, 1954
Marilyn Bell completed her history-making swim across Lake Ontario. Marilyn gave The Canada Starch Company permission to quote her statement “Crown Brand Corn Syrup helped give me the energy I needed to finish the hardest, swim of my life.” Marilyn was frequently fed corn syrup from the boat that accompanied her on the crossing.
September 17, 1954
The Corn Products Refining Company offered to purchase all the common shares of The Canada Starch Company it did not already own. Since 1919, Corn Products held majority interest in the Company.
November 4, 1954
Tank-truck service was inaugurated with the delivery of “CASCO” glucose to the George Weston Company in Brantford, Ontario.
The Company sold the S.S. “CASCO” steamer. This vessel had been in the Company’s service since 1927.
The Company paid an average base rate of $1.48 per hour and an additional 53¢ for fringe benefits.
The Canada Starch Company Limited celebrated its 100th Anniversary.