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.
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.