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Heater, Electric
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Title: Heater, Electric
Identifier: 2008.12.14
Donor: Mario Druso
Item Date: 1940 – 1950
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A metal electric heater with a 137 cm long electric cord and plug. Stands on four feet. Lines of heater are curved and back is curved to reflect heat into the room. Electric element is wrapped around a white 27 cm long bar on the floor of the heater. Electric element is protected on three sides by a 18 cm high metal an rod 'fence'. The curved end pieces are engraved with simple flowers and leaves. Handle on top is 12 cm by 2 cm. The metal label on the back is broken but reads in part "E Electric Appliance Co. Onto Canada. Watts 1320 No. 25 C. Caution App No. 857 or base receptacle only". The blade plug is round and measures 3.5 cm in diameter and 5.5 cm long. The plug is marked "SS Canada" on it. The plug has a yellow base.

This artifact was salvaged from the O'Neil farm located on 3361 Mississauga Road in Erindale.

Apples were once one of the main crops grown in Mississauga. Dixie and Clarkson were such large producers of apples that in 1927 they formed the Clarkson-Dixie Fruit and Vegetable Co-op so the farmers could better organize the selling of their produce and were able to pool their resources to buy fertilizer in bulk. These initiatives lead to further grower associations in the area and the construction of the Dixie Cold Storage, a 200,000 sq foot building that allowed farmers to sell their produce year round. This facility is still in operation but the product mainly comes from Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, China and the United States.

One of the last apple growers in Mississauga was Hugh O’Neil who passed away in 2006. His farm was located on 3361 Mississauga Road and was demolished in 2009. Many artifacts were salvaged from the O’Neil farm. The collection is unique in that Hugh purchased implements from auctions, so his collection not only represents his farm, but many others that went out of business over the years.

James and Ann O’Neil of County Wicklow in Ireland immigrated (after the potato famine) to Quebec, where James found work on the railway. Around 1867 they moved to Streetsville, purchasing two properties equalling 80 acres of land. In the 1877 Ontario Census James (77) was listed as a farmer and a Catholic. His wife Ann (70) and daughter Bridget (26) live with him. James died in 1888. His son John Moody O’Neil (1841-1911) bought property south of his father's at Mississauga Road called the Grange Cottage. Their son John Thomas O’Neil (1878-1931) married Rachael Mosley and they had two sons, Hugh and John. Thomas moved to Vancouver for a short time but returned to his family home and built an addition on to the back of his family homestead at 3361 N. Mississauga Road. Hugh (1913-2006) was the last owner of the homestead and ran a fruit farm. Hugh was an eccentric and very wealthy man who choose to live in his parents neglected farm house.

The property was sold to the donor in 2008. The house and out-buildings have been demolished but heritage organizations were allowed to salvage any items that would help to preserve the history of Mississauga.

According to Robert Archer, a former employee of Hugh O'Neil, this electric heater was likely used to provide warmth to workers who worked at grading apples inside the barn. Mr. O'Neil's farming techniques were similar to those adopted in the 1920s and he would have his workers grade apples by hand using old fashion wooden apple graders.
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Related Links:
   Museums of Mississauga Home Page
   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)
   Virtual Museum of Canada