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Thomas Ahearn

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Thomas Ahearn (1855-1938)


1938 Obituary [1]

BY the death of the Hon. Thomas Ahearn which took place in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 28th, Canada has lost one of her pioneers in electrical engineering.

Thomas Ahearn who was born in Ottawa in 1855, came of humble Irish parentage, and after attending school at Ottawa he started work at fifteen as a messenger boy for the Montreal Telegraph Company. He became an expert in telegraphy, and served with the Western Union Company, both in Ottawa and New York.

Returning to his native city, he became manager of a telephone company and later on formed a partnership with the late Mr. Warren Y. Soper, another telegraphist, for the supply of electrical equipment and the construction of telegraph lines.

In 1887 the firm of Ahearn and Soper, together with some local interests, founded the Chaudiere Electric Light and Power Company, which was the parent of the existing Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company. Four years later the Ottawa Electric Street Railway Company was formed. He solved the difficult problem of operating tramways in winter.

Later, in 1905, he it was who was responsible for the formation of the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, which eventually became one of the largest tramway car manufacturing companies in Canada. He interested himself in banking businesses, the Bell Telephone Company, and other concerns. He was, in 1926, the Chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission, to which was entrusted the town planning of the city. In recognition of his national services he was, in 1928, made a Canadian Privy Councillor.



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