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A Brief History of the J.E. Lortie Company

Joseph E. Lortie Gerard Lortie
Albert Lortie Michel Lortie
One day in 1892, a 26-years-old, Joseph Edward Lortie, left his native city of Ottawa where he had apprenticed to the trade of saddlery and harness-making with his father Leon. He moved to the big city of Montreal and eager to strike out on his own, he started business on the second day of May of that year. His original handwritten ledger, still in corporate archives, shows that he started with a capital of seventy-five Dominion of Canada dollars, not bad in those days.

His younger brother Oscar joined him and they proceeded to manufacture a line of quality dray horse harness and ancillary leather goods with the help of a few trained craftsmen. The burgeonning industry of telegraph communication and electric energy distribution involving wood poles created a need for leather pole climbing belts and straps which the Lorties began to manufacture, hence the long association of the company with fall prevention devices.

Joseph Edward married and had six children, two of his sons, Gerard born in 1905 and Albert in 1907, were to join him in business and continue the manufacture of quality leather products and arrange the incorporation of the family firm into a federal charter as a limited shareholding corporation.

They would face the onset of World War two and join the war industrial effort by diversifying into the manufacturing of canvas goods such as dunnage bag and army webbing to exacting defence specifications, a field in which the corporation is still active today.

A further diversification took place in 1957 when the industrial cases business of the Eveleigh Baggage Company was taken over by J.E. Lortie Co. and the line of fiber tool cases and shipping containers added to the products of the company. Gerard Lortie's son, Michel, born in 1936 joined the firm and would eventually take over as president in 1970, since other family members were involved in other fields of activity, he had to look outside the family for help in running the business, thus Jacques Cyr became a shareholder and vice-president up to his departure in 1980 and now Michel Lamothe is vice-president and a shareholder and Anne-Marie Boucher has joined the Board of Directors as secretary.

Year in and year out, through boom and bust, through two World Wars, through deep economic depression and years of prosperity, J.E. Lortie Co. Ltd. prides itself on selling quality products made in its own Montreal plant.

Three generations of the same family have succeedingly reinvested in the upgrading of their production facilities while always conserving a deep commitment to good workmanship.

In today's evolving global market situation, J.E. Lortie Co. Ltd., management team and employees enter the second century of corporate history with confidence remembering that continued trust in basic values is the soundest guarantee of a successful future.

J. E. LORTIE CIE LTÉE / CO. LTD. 3160 de Rouen, Montreal QC, H1W 1K7
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