Canadian Fashion Connection – Miner Rubber 1911 – 1982

In 1829 Harlow Miner opened a leather tannery in the town of Granby, Quebec. In 1862 he officially incorporated his business, including his son Stephen in the company. Stephen modernized the factory, converting the tannery to steam power, and expanding production. In 1876, when Miner was producing over 55,000 hides per year, the company received an award of excellence at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Stephen Miner also diversified the company and by 1880 had interests in a carriage-works as well as the town’s largest sawmill. American competition in the leather trade and a growing scarcity of hemlock for tannin caused Miner to begin giving up leather making, ceasing entirely by 1895. Instead, Miner looked to the burgeoning rubber industry and founded Granby Rubber and specialized in the production of rubber boots and galoshes. In 1891 Granby employed 250 workers and made 40,000 pairs of footwear.

Rubber hat by Miner, c. 1940, with khaki wool lining, possibly made for merchant mariners working North Atlantic convoys during WW2.

The Canadian Rubber Company, the largest manufacturer in Canada, consisting of six plants, bought Granby Rubber and put Stephen Miner in charge of operations. A take-over of smaller Canadian companies by the American firm United Rubber became a catalyst for Stephen Miner to fight the giant rubber companies by founding Miner Rubber in 1911. The plant started production just before his death later that same year.

Stephen’s nephew William took over and expanded the company’s production to include rubber footwear and clothing, as well as gas masks during both world wars. Even during the Depression of the 1930s, the company remained successful, employing over a thousand people in manufacturing.

When William Miner died in 1960, his son John took over, but the company’s profits were starting to decline due to the company’s inability to compete with cheaper rubber products from other countries. John died in 1970 and his brother-in law Kazimierez Lubecki took over, but when the remaining Canadian import tariffs fell in 1974, foreign products flooded the marketplace, eventually putting Miner out of business in 1982.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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13 Responses to Canadian Fashion Connection – Miner Rubber 1911 – 1982

  1. liz says:

    The Osborne Collection holds two pieces of colour-printed ephemera related to Miner Rubber, advertising their “Scout” and “Guide” rubbers:

    You will find both Guide and Scout
    Shod with MINERS, snug and stout

    One advertisement encourages “all boys and girls” to “buy – and get others to buy – Canada’s War Savings Stamps to STAMP OUT HITLER!” It also tells wearers to “look for the pictures on the soles”, but what those pictures are, or were, is not mentioned.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Very cool – I like the stamp out Hitler schtick… Somewhere around here I have a Miner rubber catalogue from the 1920s but I can’t find it!

  3. Bill Miner says:

    Jonathan

    Interesting article. I have a foul weather jacket made by the company. John Miner was my father and William my grandfather. The is one fact that is incorrect however. Kazimierez Lubecki never was President of the company as he pre-deceased my father.

    • Jonathan says:

      Thanks for the correction. I must have lifted that information directly from a newspaper or magazine article.

    • George Hamilton says:

      Hi Bill hope all is well. Voice from the past. Trying to reach your brother John. I was at Stanstead college with you and John.

  4. Kevin Dean Miner-Jones says:

    Awesome Story overall. Im a Miner on the West Coast PNW I descend from Clement Miner son of Thomas Miner Love the Story.

  5. SAM DAVIES says:

    Got a pair of Miner rubber boots patented in 1943.Nice condition.

  6. Linda C Swanson says:

    I just SCORED an amazing pair of women’s Miner Rubber boots that appeared to simply be boots themselves. To my surprise when I put them on the slanted 1.5″ heel collapsed under my weight. It was then I realized they were meant to go over a woman’s shoe for protection. They have a rubber bottom, hide top and tongue that laces up that is fur edged and a plaid flannel material interior. Would love to more about them. The tongue label says Miner Eve ~ n ~ Braid Patent Pending. The bottom rubber is stamped Miner Rubber Made in Canada

    • Jonathan says:

      Those hollow heel galoshes were popular until the late 1950s. Once the thin stiletto heels were in fashion, they didn’t work anymore because the heels would poke through the galoshes, so boots came back into fashion instead.

  7. Jeff Geddes says:

    I still have my Miner size 7 (baby) black boots with the black metal buckles.

  8. j mac says:

    My grandfather, Vere Athol, yes, real names, used to be salesman @ Miner
    Still remember the pig’s head from strike they had

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