Andrew Newlands was born in Scotland in 1840, and was married with two children when he immigrated with his family to Canada in the late 1860s. In the 1871 census he is recorded as working as the superintendent of a woollen mill in Preston, Ontario. In 1884 he opened his own mill in Galt, Ontario making jersey cloth, glove and shoe linings, among other products.
By 1890 he had opened another business called the Galt Robe Company that made “Saskatchewan Robes” – a brand name lap rug for use in sleighs and carriages. With the extinction of the vast herds of Buffalo on the Western Plains, the large haired buffalo hide robes, which had been popularly used as sleigh and carriage rugs, could no longer be found. Newlands created a substitute robe he felt imitated the qualities of the buffalo robe by using multiple layers of wool blankets, a rubber membrane (for waterproofing), an imitation lambskin for softness, and a piled wool that loosely resembled buffalo hide.
Newlands died in 1899. Who owned the mills for the next 16 years isn’t clear, but the company continued to operate under the Newlands name. In 1916, 36 year old George Dobbie bought a half share interest with his partner Joseph Stauffer, merged Galt Robe with Newlands, and officially changed the name of the company to Stauffer-Dobbie Ltd., although the Newlands brand of yarn continued to be made until around the time of George Dobbie’s death in 1951. The yarn brand’s name was then changed to Lady Galt (a line of towels was also called Lady Galt which were produced into the 1970s.)