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Hawboldt Gas Engines Ltd., 1919-1966

A black and white photo of the company showing the office on North Street with the two-storey machine shop at the back and the domed roof welding and foundry buildings to the left of the machine shop. The worker’s parking lot is shown in the foreground next to the stream.

-Hawboldt foundry

The company manufactured a variety of gas engines and deck machinery through the early part of the 20th century. However, when the Depression occurred in the 1930’s, demand for engines and fishing equipment diminished and many businesses closed. Hawboldt’s adapted to the changes by shifting production to water pumps, hot air furnaces as well as gymnasium equipment.

A black and white picture showing a man, Frank Hawboldt, Forman’s son, dressed in casual work clothes, standing in the door way of Hawboldt Gas Engines. Also in the picture a six horse power marine gasoline engine with 4 cylinders and a fly wheel. The sign says foundry and machine work, manufactures of marine engines and automatic water pumps.

Frank Hawboldt, son of Forman, in front of building 1960

In the post World War II years the Hawboldt company diversified again as the fishing industry rebounded. In addition to engines, the firm manufactured deck machinery, trawl winches, cast propellers, gurdy haulers and anchor windlasses.

Frank Hawboldt, Forman’s son, recalled that much of their business was done for clients in the Magdelen Islands.

Forman Hawbolt retired from the business in 1946, leaving the company to his sons Frank and Bruce and to Raymond Armstrong. Frank Hawboldt, a trained mechanical engineer who had been with the firm since 1932, became the company’s general manager.

On October 1947, a fire broke out at the foundry which gutted the main building. The Mahone Bay Fire Department was called in to assist the Chester Volunteer Department. Although retired, Forman was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

Frank Hawbolt Artisan – Link to the Chester Artisans Site


“Foreman was known locally as a very generous employer who treated his employees with respect and dignity. I have known a lot of these men and they always have maintained a great respect for Foreman and his kindness toward them.

He was a man who would hold a conversation with anyone and was always up for a yarn and a joke or two. His son Frank was the same. He always seemed to be in a good mood with a funny story to tell. He had lots of Foreman stories to share with me when I visited with him. Like the one about the big car Foreman brought to Chester in the early 1900’s that he used to take folks for rides whenever they would ask.”

Brad Armstrong Grandson

Chester Municipal Heritage Society