Canada 150: The Mad Men Days of Glo-Hill

 

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Throughout this year, as we celebrate the 150th birthday of our country, we are having a look at and giving a shout out to some of the Canadian-made products found in the food and culinary profession. Some, like the classic Baribocraft salad service-ware have long since exited the stage, while others, like Crown Cookware are still going strong, putting out superior quality products that will likely be passed down for generations. And one of the more unique, all-Canadian companies specializing in making the dining and entertaining experience a little more exciting was Glo-Hill.

 

Chrome and Bakelite serving tray circa 1970

Chrome and Bakelite serving tray circa 1970

 

Many Canadians, especially from the fifties to the seventies grew up with Glo-Hill housewares, bar accessories, carving sets, steak knives and flatware. The combination of art deco and Fifties’ modernistic styling was almost irresistible to the average Canuck, wowed by the creative designs wrought from bright chrome, cut glass and colourful Bakelite. The company was founded in Montreal in 1946 by three brothers in the cutlery business; Sol, Leo, and Paul Globus. Teaming up with their brother-in-law, Harry Hill, the four men formed their own business and called it, The Glo-Hill Corporation. The timing was perfect; at that time, Canadians were just emerging from the blight of WW2, and it was a time to celebrate, relax at last, and entertain in the home with fancy new stuff. The Glo-Hill line ranged in price from affordable to dear, and the distinctive designs were the work of Paul Globus himself. During their heyday they imported Bakelite and glass from the States, and their wooden items came from none other than that other great Quebecois company, Baribocraft!

 

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The Globus Brothers were of Belgian descent, their family having arrived in Canada at the beginning of the 1900’s. The young brothers began their business in Montreal as cutlers and manufactured lovely carving sets and cutlery. Later, the business grew and began offering chrome holloware pieces used in home entertaining: serving trays, cocktail items and kitchen tools of various sorts. Situated right on the river in Montreal, Glo-Hill’s factory was well-placed to take advantage of materials available from factories located along the Eastern Seaboard. Bakelite was imported from the USA and glass components were supplied straight out of Pennsylvania, a state that had become expert in glass manufacture (McKee, Glasbake, Jeannette Glass). Glo-Hill also partnered with Canadian manufacturers to provide materials for their products. Baribocraft, a Montreal company that was started by the Baribeau family, supplied exquisitely finished wooden items for Glo-Hill. Baribocraft wooden carving boards lined the inside of chrome trays that were styled and manufactured by Glo-Hill. What sets Glo-Hill apart from others is their exquisite designs. Paul Globus was considered the ‘stylist’ for Glo-Hill and it was his ideas that became the popular Glo-Hill designs we still see today. Glo-Hill became available to Canadians through many retail outlets. It was not unusual for Glo-Hill to be available both at high-end jewellery stores (some of the items they manufactured truly were ‘upper-crust’) and also available to anyone at local department stores.- http://glohill.blogspot.ca/

 

Quality doesn’t go out of style, but fashions do, and by the seventies Glo-Hill products were no longer sought after, and the company folded. Today you can still see their goods online, and if you are lucky enough, in second hand stores, flea markets and yard sales. If you do come across some, you should definitely snatch it up, it’s a part of our history and a cool way to celebrate our national birthday.

 

From Sea to Sea

From Sea to Sea

 

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