Acadia Gas Engines

 

 

ACADIA GAS ENGINES

BRIDGEWATER, NS

CIRCA 1907-1981

IN 1907, ALONG THE BANKS OF THE LA HAVE RIVER, YOUNG ENTREPENEUR WINFRED THEODORE RITCEY FOUNDED ACADIA GAS ENGINES.

AT THE TIME, FISHERMEN WERE JUST SWITCHING OVER FROM SAIL AND OAR POWER. THE MARKET FOR SIMPLE, RELIABLE GAS ENGINES WAS STRONG.  

SEVEN YEARS LATER, WHEN WORLD WAR I BROKE OUT, ACADIA WAS THE LARGEST MANUFACTURER OF MARINE ENGINES IN CANADA.

SHORTLY AFTER THE COMPANY’S INCEPTION, A FOUNDRY WAS BUILT. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PARTS NEEDED TO BUILD AN ENGINE WERE FABRICATED ON SITE IN BRIDGEWATER.

DESPITE THEIR REMOTE LOCATION, ACADIA ENGINES WERE EXPORTED WORLDWIDE. THEIR RELIABLE, EASY TO REPAIR REPUTATION SPREAD RAPIDLY THROUGH THE FISHING FLEETS OF THE WORLD.

ACADIA THRIVED. THE COMPANY PAID ITS EMPLOYEES WELL AND PAID DIVIDENDS TO ITS INVESTORS. IT WAS ONE OF THE VERY FEW COMPANIES TO REMAIN PROFITABLE THROUGH THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

AFTER WWII, THE COMPANY FOUNDER DIED AND THE FORTUNES OF THE COMPANY RAPIDLY DECLINED.  IN 1964, ACADIA WAS SOLD TO THE BRITISH GRIMSBY GROUP. IT WAS SOLD AGAIN IN 1969 TO LUNENBURG’S ABCO.

IN 1981, WITH THE COLLAPSE OF THE GROUND FISHERY, ACADIA CLOSED ITS DOORS FOR GOOD.  THE FORMER ACADIA GAS ENGINES SITE IN BRIDGEWATER IS NOW HOME TO A CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX.

 

 

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