Skip to main content

EZRA BUTLER EDDY (1827-1906)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Ezra Butler Eddy. (Photo - Hull 1800-1875)Ezra Butler Eddy, a name long synonymous with the City of Hull, was one of that city’s most successful and influential industrialists. A native of Vermont, E. B. Eddy moved to Hull when he was only twenty-four, bringing with him his modest wooden match manufacturing business. With the help of his wife, Zaida, E. B.Eddy produced his matches by hand at his home in Hull, delivering them himself by carriage each day. Within a few years of coming to Hull, Eddy had become one of the region’s wealthiest industrialists. By the time of his death, his interests were said to be worth over four million dollars.

Eddy manufactured only matches at first.

The factory has been designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

Eventually he became the largest manufacturer of matches in Canada, and his famous “Eddy Matches” were sold in every corner of the country. In time, however, Eddy began to diversify his product line, and soon his company was producing not only matches, but wooden buckets, clothes pins, washboards, crates, window frames, doors, timber, and eventually paper. In 1870, E. B. Eddy purchased Wright Island, near the Chaudière Falls, and constructed a sawmill near the Chaudière Bridge. Eddy continued to expand, building new factories to produce his various products.

The E. B. Eddy Co., Hull. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

In 1890, Eddy’s company began manufacturing paper through a new process that used wood pulp. Within a few years, the company was supplying newsprint to most of the newspapers in Canada. By the early 20th century, Eddy was producing 80 tons of paper and 3,500 cases of matches a day.Eddy suffered two major setbacks with the fires of 1882 and 1900, but he soon rebuilt, and even modernized, his operations to keep up with changing technologies. His factories were among the first to be lit by electric light, for example. He was also the first industrialist to use motorized trucks in the region, and one of the first to install telephones.

Detail, E. B. Eddy building. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

In addition to being a prominent industrialist, Ezra Butler Eddy was active politically. He served in the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1871 to 1875, and as mayor of Hull from 1882 to 1891.

References:
Diane Aldred, The Aylmer Road - An Illustrated History / Le chemin d'Aylmer - une histoire illustrée, Aylmer Heritage Association, Aylmer, Quebec, 1994.
Marc Beaulieu et al., Hull – Aylmer: Quelques éléments d’histoire et d’architecture, Institut d’histoire et de recherche sur l’Outaouais, Hull, n.d.
Léo Rossignol et al., Hull 1800-1875, [1975].