The sources I used for this project are scattered, making a complete bibliography largely incomprehensible. This is an incomplete list of the types of sources used in this project. Where digital sources are available, I have provided links to an example source.

I also relied on the research completed by previous Ingenium researchers. These include, but are not limited to: David Pantalony, Randall Brooks, Jean-Louis Trudel and Jean-François Gauvin.

Artifacts & Museums

Artifacts are themselves evidence of a company's activities--for example, the manufacture of particular kinds of equipment, acting as agents for other companies, or contributing to a collective effort, such as a major scientific project or a war effort. Artifacts can also complicate

Most of the artifacts in this project belong to the Ingenium collection, located in Ottawa, but many museums and collections hold or research Canadian-made artifacts and many of those have online catalogues. Other museums have a digital presence only. Some of these offer highly detailed information about historical instruments.

I used a huge array of collections from across Canada, many of which I visited for my PhD thesis research. Here is a small selection of museums and collections with an online and searchable collection:

Ingenium Collection, Canada's collection of science and technology objects. Online catalogue.
Museum of Health Care at Kingston. Museum located in Kingston, Ontario, holding healthcare-related artifacts, with an online catalogue.
Musée de la civilisation, Québec, Québec. Museum holding an array of different types of artifacts, including older scientific instruments, with an online catalogue.
Radio Museum. International online resource which provides detailed information on radio-related technologies and companies, and includes listings of museums holding technical equipment. radiomuseum.org.
The Smithsonian Institution. American national collections of artifacts, including science and technology. Includes an online catalogue.

The University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection (UTSIC). Collection holding scientific, medical and engineering-related artifacts connected to University of Toronto history. There is an online catalogue.

The York University Computer Museum. Museum dedicated to the Canadian history of computing. https://museum.eecs.yorku.ca/

City & Business Directories

City directories give location information about companies' addresses in a given year and can also list employees. Business directories can include advertisements and classified listings which provide information about companies' activities. Knowing precise locations can help date artifacts, which sometimes include street addresses.

This is an incomplete list, but gives a sense of what is available, and where.

The Canada Directory. [e.g. available through BAnQ numérique]
Fraser's Canadian Trade Directory [e.g. available at Ingenium Library]
Lovell's Montreal Directory [e.g. available through BAnQ numérique]
Mitchell’s Canada Gazetteer Business Directory [e.g. 1864-65 available through Canadiana]
Might's Greater Toronto City Directory [e.g. 1925 available through the Internet Archive.org]

Vernon’s City of Belleville Directory [e.g. available through the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County)

City Histories/Who's Who

In the 19th and early 20th century, books were produced which summarized the recent commercial activity and history of an urban area. These often provide small histories of prominent companies or individuals. However, the information may be incorrect or misleading, as it relies primarily on an individual's account of themselves and their activities.

Here are a few examples:

Industries of Canada: Historical and Commercial Sketches of Toronto and Environs (M.G. Bixby, 1886). [Ingenium Library.]
Notable Events in the History of Newfoundland Six Thousand Dates of Historical and Social Happenings. (Devine & O’Mara, 1906)
Montreal, the Metropolis of Canada, Illustrated, 1894 (The Consolidated Illustrating Co., 1894)  [other editions also exist. 1894 available through BanQ numérique]

Company/Maker Records, Histories and Accounts

Where available, company records provided primary evidence of company activities. Company histories can be histories written by current or former employees either as memoirs or promotional material, or by third parties conducting research.

These are extremely useful for gaining detailed insight into company activities that is not available elsewhere, and may have had direct access to people. However, accounts relying on company or human memory or advertising may not necessarily get details, such as dates or the precise order of events, correct. In-house histories may overlook mistakes or failed projects.

There are thousands of such books and articles. Here are just a few examples I found especially useful for this project:

Ball, Norman R., Vardalas, John N. Ferranti-Packard: pioneers in Canadian electrical manufacturing (1994)
Brooks, R. “Conversation with an Instrument Maker” Rittenhouse Vol. 20 (2006)
Brooks, R.C., Daniels, W.J. "Surveying instrument makers of Central Canada" Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering Vol. 20 (1993)
Fisher, E.J. "Early Canadian Optometry" Newsletter of the Optometric Historical Society Vol. 20, No. 4 (October 1989)
Lanphier, R.C., Thomas, B.P. Sangamo – A History of Fifty Years (1949) [Internet Archive.org]
MacDonald, Larry. Nortel Networks: How Innovation and Vision Created a Network Giant (John Wiley & Sons, 2000)
Varkaris, J., Varkaris C. The Pequegnat Story – The Family and the Clocks” (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1982)

Government Documents

The government tracks national industries and controls national standards. Many of the documents produced by the Canadian, provincial and territorial governments have either been digitized and made public, or were born digital and remain available. These documents can help trace company locations, provide clues to their activity, and sometimes reveal information about how they were perceived--e.g. as part of a particular type of industry group.

Canada - Department of National Defence. Defence Research Board of Canada - Review 1970. (Department of National Defence, 1970)
Canada - Dominion Bureau of Statistics “Electrical Apparatus and Supplies Industry, 1956,  (pg A-33) https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/statcan/43-201/CS43-201-1956-eng.pdf
Canada - Ministry of the Interior. Supplement to the Manual of Instructions for the Survey of Dominion Lands (J. de L. Taché, 1917)
Canada. An Iindex of digitized documents associated with Canadian governmental standards agencies dating back to the late 1920s. It is loosely available through a file structure hosted by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada [29/02/24]. This is spottily available through internet searches but has no on-site search; documents are available roughly sequentially. Example document: the Department of Trade and Commerce - Electrical and Gas Standards Laboratories, Sept. 25, 1930.

Trade Literature

Companies produce promotional material to advertise and sell goods. This can include catalogues, pamphlets, and instruction manuals. These can help date the activities of companies and the manufacture of equipment. They also sometimes include brief company histories.

I accessed trade literature for this project either online through online archives, or through the Ingenium Library's collection of Trade Literature. Trade literature is also located in archives.


Newspapers report on industrial and commercial activities,  including mergers, buyouts, financial positions, innovations and personnel changes. They also provide evidence of the political influence and importance of an industry. This is information not necessarily available in other types of records. Where national newspapers may focus on big stories, local newspapers may report on emerging and developing companies, providing third-party insight into how companies began.

Historical newspapers are often digitized and available through university, public or government library and records systems. In this project, I had access to many Canadian and US newspapers outside Quebec through ProQuest's Historical Newspapers service or the Toronto Public Library, and newspapers within Quebec through BAnQ numérique.

Trade Magazines

In the 20th century especially, industries often produced magazines focused on their trade. These gather industry news and updates, and also often feature in-industry advertisements. Some magazines produced yearly listings or directories for company addresses and the focus of their activities. The electrical and electronics industries are especially well represented.

Electronics and Communications (https://worldradiohistory.com/CANADA/Electronics-and-Communication/Electronics-&-Communications-1956-12.pdf)

Electrical News (https://ia800300.us.archive.org/6/items/electricalnewsen19donm/electricalnewsen19donm.pdf)