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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 89-014


Aikenhead Hardware Company fonds. -- 1835-1969. -- 13 cm of textual records.

Biography / History

In 1830 a new hardware store, also known as an ironmongery, was opened on the north-east corner of King and Yonge Streets in York (now Toronto), known as Ridout's Hardware Store. In 1845 a Board of Trade was organized and George P. Ridout was named its first president. In 1845 James Aikenhead joined the firm of Ridout Bros. & Co. In 1868 James Aikenhead became a member of the firm which at this point was renamed to Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie. On September 1, 1873 James' son Thomas E. Aikenhead started to serve a five year apprenticeship with Mrs. Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie. In 1891 Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie sold their lease on the corner of King and Yonge Streets and moved to Adelaide Street East. In 1893 Thomas E. Aikenhead purchased the business and it became known as Aikenhead Hardware Co. In 1901 the business was reorganized as a limited stock company known as Aikenhead Hardware Limited. By 1930 Aikenhead Hardware Limited was situated on Temperance Street and had been there since 1905. By this point in time the business had six floors of merchandise and a warehouse for stock. It sold everything from tacks to tractors to cutlery and locks. In 1937 the company started to open branch stores in different communities in the Toronto area. They later expanded to the greater Toronto area and outside of it to such communities as Burlington, St. Catharines, Kitchener, Dundas, Markham and Sudbury. James T.E. Aikenhead, son of Thomas E. Aikenhead, joined the company in 1911 and took over from his father in 1944 as president. He died suddenly in 1948 and his brother J. Wilfred Aikenhead took over the presidency which he was still holding in 1969. In 1965 Aikenheads's purchased the hardware chain of Russell Hardware Company Limited and continued to expand. (Taken from: Histories on Aikenheads, Folder 2.) By 1996 Aikenhead Hardware Limited was known as Aikenheads Improvement Warehouse Inc. with its corporate office located on Ellesmere in Toronto and stores located in Scarborough, Markham, Woodbridge, Brampton and Oakville.

Custodial History

This fonds was created by Aikenhead Hardware Limited and donated via Professor Alan Wilson to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of a retail day book of the Aikenhead Hardware Company for July 10, 1835 to September 5, 1839, with the currency being recorded in pounds, shillings and pence. The fonds also contains wholesale price lists of the Aikenhead Company from 1895 to 1899; a commemorative booklet of the company for its 100th year and a nine-page history of the company. The Aikenhead Hardware Company was established in Toronto in 1830 and played a very significant role, in providing to early settlers, tools and equipment to build their homes and businesses.


Title based on company which created the fonds.

This fonds was donated by Aikenhead Hardware Limited via Professor Alan Wilson.

Restrictions: N

Finding Aid

Box 1

Item 1: Aikenhead Hardware, Toronto. Retail Daybook, July 10, 1835 to September, 1839.

Item 2: Aikenhead & Crombie's Handy Book of Builder's Hardware [pre-1891]

Folder1: Aikenhead Hardware: Net wholesale price lists of blacksmith's supplies:
No. 1, Dec. 1896;
No. 2, Feb. 1897 - 2 copies;
No. 3, July, 1897;
No. 4, Nov. 1897 - 2 copies;
No. 6, July 1898;
No. 7, April 1899 - 2 copies.
Waggoner & Williams Hardware Co.: price list of American Spring Hinges, May, 1895.

Folder 2: Aikenhead Hardware Co. "Building Toronto": 1830 -1930 (booklet published by Aikenhead commemorating their 100th year in business.
History of Aikenhead Hardware Co. from 1830 to 1969 (9 typewritten pages).