Electricity didn’t exist yet in the 19th century, but everyday tasks still depended on things that people couldn’t do well enough without machinery – things like grinding grain to make flour, making plants into cloth, sawing lumber, and many other things. Without electricity, machinery in the 19th century harnessed the power of water instead. For many small communities in Ontario, including Paris, the water-powered mill was the centre of the community (Priamo, 11). Many of Paris’s earliest businesses depended on water power, which Hiram Capron was responsible for developing.
View of Grand River with Willow Street raceway and Grand River dam, c. 1860 Details