Collection Highlights

James Smart Christmas Tree Stand

AX0040 – Photo: Tom Alföldi 


History:

In the 1930s, it was still common for Canadian families to travel into the countryside to cut their own Christmas trees—and this country’s iron foundries were ready to supply them with the necessary tools. Both the axe used to chop down the tree and the Christmas tree stand in which it would be displayed were made in Canada.

Current Location:

Collection Storage Facility

Provenance:

The James Smart Christmas tree stand was purchased from Jim Dunne of Peterborough, Ontario, at an estate auction.

Technical History:

The James Smart Christmas tree stand could hold a tree up to 3 inches in diameter. Christmas tree stands varied in design over the years. Their evolution is not easy to track, but it seems that the first US Patent for a Christmas tree stand was in 1874.  The search to find the best tree stand design, particularly for fresh trees which need water, seems to be an ongoing quest.  Look at the products being patented and offered on the market even today. Before the four-legged model, it seems most tree stands were designed as a patterned cast iron base. These were heavier than the four-legged model and had a cylindrical opening in the center to hold the tree. Screws were used to tighten it.

Manufacturer Information:

The James Smart Manufacturing Company was established in Brockville in 1854 and incorporated in 1861. To accommodate its growth, the company increased the number of shareholders. By 1883, the Gill family of Brockville and Montreal had gained control of the company and established a branch office and warehouse in Winnipeg. Around 1910, the company was purchased by Canada Foundries and Forgings. The Brockville plant remained in operation as the James Smart Plant until it closed in 1967.

Back to top