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Henry J. Thomas & Son

Henry J. Thomas & Son, 1870, 1904-1963
.75 metres

Scope and Content / Series Listing

Administrative history
Henry Thomas came to St. John's from Devonshire, England in the 1830s with his wife Sarah and their two year old son, Edward Albert (1833-1920). When Edward was 25 years old he started a construction company. In 1856 the company was established and located at Rawlins Cross. Its first project was to build a Methodist Church at Bareneed.

After the great fire of 1892 the business was named the general contractor to build Cabot Tower to mark the celebration of the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The project took five years and cost $7,000.00.

Edward Thomas retired after the bank crash of 1894 and, from 1897 to 1931, the company was named Thomas Brothers, a partnership between Edward's sons, Henry J. (1861-1944) and James H. The firm specialized in house construction. During the early to mid-1900s, Thomas Brothers constructed many buildings, including the Central Fire Hall and the Board of Trade building, the first steel structure in St. John's. Some of the larger houses in the Circular Road and Bonaventure Avenue area were also built by the company.

Both Henry J. and James became involved in property appraisal in St. John's and, when James withdrew from the business to become city appraiser, it was again reorganized to become Henry J. Thomas and Son (the son being Eugene H.). This version of the company was incorporated in 1953 with Eugene Harvey Thomas as president.

Gordon H.L. Thomas (1926-?), Eugene's son, was the fourth generation to become involved in the business. He travelled across the province by train to make sales, and was astounded to discover the high level of demand for glass for windows in both residential and commercial buildings. After his return to St. John's he changed the direction of the company, making it a supplier of glass. In 1975 the company name changed to Thomas Glass. It sold various glass products including mirrors, insulated glass, plexi-glass, shower enclosures, aluminum windows and doors, and glass tabletops. Among the larger of its early contracts were supplying glass for the Confederation Building and the Avalon Mall.

In May, 2014 Thomas Glass joined Economy Glass under the banner, Thomas Economy Glass, making it part of the largest glass company in Atlantic Canada. This transition gave Thomas Economy Glass access to a wider range of architectural aluminum and glass products as well as added technical support and expertise.

Scope and content
Miscellaneous business records for Henry J. Thomas & Son arranged in 10 series: Day books, 1906-1950; Journals 1924-1953; Ledgers, 1896-1940; Memo books; Construction Project estimates book 1904-1958; Job estimate books 1946-?; cash paid out books 1906-1947; Wages 1911-1930; Miscellaneous items and published material.

The collection is fragmented, with many gaps in the records.

Items in the collection created before 1940 are in the public domain. Copyright restrictions apply to material created after that date and to the published material.
No restrictions on access
Created or acquired by the Thomas family in the course of operating their business.
Maritime History Archive finding aid 136
Accession number 2002.011 and 2012.002
Location storage Bank 38, Shelf 4

Created or acquired by the Thomas family in the course of operating their business.

Custodial history
Material originally collected by Shane O'Dea and later donated to the MHA through Gord Thomas, Manager of Thomas Economy Glass.

Series Listing

Series 1    Day Books
1.01   Day Book   2 January - 29 December 1906
1.02   Day Book   7 January - 24 December 1910
1.03   Day Book   January - December 1911; 1912; Sept. / Oct. 1913
1.04   Day Book   2 January 1925 - December 1926
1.05   Day Book   2 January - 25 December 1943
1.06   Day Book   1 January 1944 - 23 December 1944
1.07   Day Book   1 January 1942 - 1950

Series 2    Journals
2.01   Journal   1924 - 1926
2.02   Journal   1947 - 1953

Series 3    Ledgers
3.01   Ledger   1896-1898
3.02   Ledger   1913-1914
3.03   Ledger   1939-1940

Series 4    Memo Books
4.01   Memo Book   1947-48

Series 5    Construction Project Estimates Book
5.01   1904
5.02   1946-58

Series 6    Job Estimate Books
6.01   1946
6.02   1946
6.03   1949
6.04   1950
6.05   1950
6.06   1951
6.07   date unknown
6.08   date unknown
6.09   date unknown

Series 7    Cash Paid Out Books
7.01   1906 (poor condition)
7.02   1913 (poor condition)
7.03   1942
7.04   1943
7.05   1944
7.06   1947

Series 8    Wages
8.01   1911-1913
8.02   1927-1929

Series 9    Miscellaneous
9.01   address book
9.02   note book
9.03   voucher book
9.04   photobook (notes about photos - no images)
9.05   unidentified black note book
9.06   unidentified black note book
9.07   unidentified black note book
9.08   Edward Thomas appointed surveyor of Lumber, 1870
9.09   Income Tax, 1934-37
9.10   Imperial Oil Limited - List of Drawings, General Conditons and Specifications for construction of a service station
9.11   Bowring Bros. Ltd. appraisal of North Side Premises, September 1936
9.12   Bowring Bros. Fire Valuation, 1963
9.13   Newfoundland Patriotic Assoc. fundraising leaflet
9.14   Miscellaneous statements, letters, receipts, etc. found in Journal 2.20, 1910-1954

Series 10    Published material
10.01   Architectural lettering. Chicago: American School of Correspondence, 1906.
10.02   Universal Millwork Design Book No. 20. Universal Catalogue Bureau, Iowa, 1920.
10.03   Bvilding with Assvrance. Morgan Woodwork Organization, 1921.
10.04   Architectural and building catalogue, 1961.
10.05   The all in one business account book. London: Business Account Books Ltd.
10.06   Walkers Practical Self-balancing Bookkeeping and Income Tax Record for Contractors. Chicago: Frank R. Walker Company 1928.
10.07   Rural Church Architecture. New York: Geo. E. Woodward, Publisher of architectural books, 185? (48 leaves of plates)

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