Sweat of the Brow

CVA: 789-72 - [Group photograph of unidentified workmen], 1913. Photographer not identified.

CVA: 789-72 – [Group photograph of unidentified workmen], 1913. Photographer not identified.

CVA doesn’t identify what sort of industry these workers worked at, nor who they were.

The gent in the waistcoat holding the rope looked familiar to me and so I sifted through some of the CVA “industrial” images made roughly in the same period; I’m now 90% convinced that the fellow in the photo below is ‘rope-holding-waistcoat’ man above. In the image below, he is looking at the photographer with the same, intense stare. If I’m right about this, it is Reinhart (also spelled, occasionally, Reinhard) Hoffmeister. I don’t see any other common faces in the two images.

Detail of CVA: Misc P16 - [Interior of R. Hoffmeister's factory at 1271 Granville Street] ca 1906

Detail of CVA: Misc P16 – [Interior of R. Hoffmeister’s factory at 1271 Granville Street] ca 1906. Jacob (Jake) Hoffmeister (Reinhard’s brother) is, I believe, the gent standing beside Reinhard in the white shirt.

According to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website, Hoffmeister (1866-1948) was an electrical engineer and was generally known in the city as “the pioneer of power”, as he built the city’s first electrical generator and established Vancouver’s first electrical shop (Davie and Howe). He installed electrical plants at B.C. Sugar Refinery and the first Hotel Vancouver.

Hoffmeister's first electrical generator built for Vancouver. Courtesy Museum of Vancouver. http://openmov.museumofvancouver.ca/object/h201241/%5Bfield_acquisition_object_name-raw%5D

Hoffmeister’s first electrical generator built for Vancouver. Courtesy Museum of Vancouver. http://openmov.museumofvancouver.ca/object/h201241/%5Bfield_acquisition_object_name-raw%5D

According to CVA, the second image (1906) of Hoffmeister’s workers was made at 1271 Granville Street. I suspect that is where the first image of Hoffmeister’s shop was made, as well, although I can’t prove it, except to point to the image below of the 1200 block of Granville Street in about 1935, where his shop still was located.

Detail of CVA 99-4806 - [Store fronts showing 1271 to 1295 Granville Street] ca 1935. Stuart Thomson photo

Detail of CVA 99-4806 – [Store fronts showing 1271 to 1295 Granville Street] ca 1935. Stuart Thomson photo

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