Best moments


Based on the 65th anniversary album the of the CATCC-Quebec section, this section highlights some of the best moments of our association. Directed by Laura Synnott, this work is the result of close to a year of research and consultation implicating many textile industry related professionals.

We hope that this 65th anniversary album and this web site will fulfill your information needs and recall good memories.

Message from the Federation of Canada President

On behalf of the Textile Federation of Canada, I wish to congratulate the Canadian Association of Textiles Colourists and Chemists – Quebec on reaching this significant milestone.

In my own quarter century in the Canadian Textile Industry, I have seen many changes, as you all no doubt have. From the recession of the early 80’s combined with NAFTA, we saw a large number of enterprises fail. However what we have evolved to is a highly efficient, highly technical, niche market textile economy.

The role played by the professional chemist and colourist is vital in maintaining that edge and expertise. The contacts made within your association makes for timely answers and solutions.

Over the past couple of years, there have been associations affiliated to the Textile Federation that have closed down, but remaining constituent associations like yourselves continue in strength. It is the aim of the Textile Federation to continue to support contact between the constituent associations to promote networking and synergy throughout the industry for the benefit of the Canadian Textile Industry as a whole.

Again, congratulations.

Peter Aspley
President of Textile Federation of Canada
January 2001

“Coup de chapeau” to M. Richard (Dick) Willis

CATCC Historian since 1975

My career with CATCC began several years before I became a member of the Association. Upon graduating from our local High School in 1946, I elected to seek full-time employment and to obtain a university education by attending evening classes at Sir George Williams College, now known as Concordia University. As part of my first semester, I chose Textiles 101 – An introduction to textiles fibres, fibre technology, etc. At that time, Valleyfield was the major texile centre in Canada with ample opportunity for employment. Also, my maternal great-grandfather had emmigrated from the UK in the mid 1800s, and was a member of the early days of the Montreal Cotton Co. Ltd. In due course, there followed Textiles 102, 103, and 104, which covered yarn and fabric formation, dyeing, printing, finishing, and testing. The courses were sponsored by the CATCC who also provided the leadership and teaching staff, all specialists in their own rights. My professors included many prominent members and presidents of the Association. Don Wallace, Lou Sheps, Carl Teichgraber, Dr. Mertz, Gene Coke, to mention only a few.

As usual, the new lab boys had the lowest jobs, such as cleaning bottles, stirring samples of fabric in dye pots and learning how to do wash tests, crock tests and perspiration tests. To learn our way around the factory, it was common practice to send new kids out to find each foreman and try to borrow a new broom. Fortunately, the storekeeper was our neighbour, so I went to him first and surprised the super with two new brooms. A friend sent to get a pail of steam was less successfull.

My plant manager was a member of Council and lost no time in seeing that I was involved with CATCC. I was the moderator for several of his pre-lecture discussion groups. Later I was invited to join a group to prepare a paper for a student-thesis contest to be held at the Textile School of St-Hyacinthe, where the classes from Sir George had been transferred, and which was based upon original work or research. My partners in this adventure were Niel Carmichael, Jean Papineau and Dick Scrimegeour. Our topic was « The Influence of Particle Size in Pigment Vat Dyeing ». I was elected speaker for the group and on that Grey Cup Saturday in November, we were able to see the game and also win first prize for our work. After this, I became a member of CATCC-Q.

I was first elected to Council in 1958. My early duties included responsabilities for the Pre-Lecture activities and then the Attendance and Membership Committee.

In 1964, I was elected to the post of Treasurer, the fourth in our Association’s 28 years of activities. This was where I could really be of use to the Association. There were two lists of members. Perry Printing, a secretariat service maintained a mailing list for our newsletters and supplied the Canadian Textile Journal with up-dated mailing lists. The second, official list of members, was the Treasurer’s rollodex card file. Invoices were mailed from this file, and payments were duly noted on the individual cards. At about this time, National Council instituted the practice of the Twenty-Five Year certificate and expected each local Council to supply their list of names. This meant looking at and evaluating each and every card to determine if we had qualifying members.

We also had a huge ledger to record all transaction. This was also used to confirm paid memberships, as we recorded the name and the card number. The Annual Financial Report was all done by hand, and took many hours to complete. The experience was rewarding, and after six years, I hope that my improvements were helpful to my successors.

The following four years were to provide leadership as Vice President and President. I served as delegate to National Council. I also represented our Association as delegate, Vice President and President of the Textile Federation of Canada. During my term as president of TFC, my committee was successfull in acquiring all of the outstanding shares of the publishing company. No longer would we have to distribute any profits to the original owners and subsequents annituints. I was their appointee to the CGSB Textile Committee for standards, and to the Board of the Canadian Textile Journal Publishing Company, where I served several terms as Vice President and one as President. I was also Sectional Chairman for the conversion of yarns into fabrics at the 13th Biennial Textile Seminar – International in Kingston.

During my term as Treasurer, I served as Chairman of the Budget Committee. Later, as President, I chaired the Bronze Medal Recommendation Committee, the Nominating Committee as well as assisting the chairmen of various other committees.

In 1976, Carl Teichgraber, our historical Records Committee Chairman resigned and Council immediately appointed me. When Lou Sheps inaugurated the committee in 1955, the prime purposes were to safeguard copies of any publication of the Association, to maintain a permanent record of our documents (minutes, etc.), and to seek out and collect any technical paper, magazine or book related to the interests of the membership. We must remember that at the time that our Association was formed, the major fibres being handled by our chemists and colourists were cotton, wool, rayon, and silk. After 1945, we saw the emergence of the newer polymers. « How to » became important, and our monthly technical meetings became important sources for the new techniques. Our lectures were regularly printed in the Canadian Textile Journal. There was more literature and developing technology than we could handle, and this aspect of the committee’s work became less important, since our fibre, dye and chemical suppliers distributed the new information.

In the late sixties, our Corporate members were turning to automation of regular routine tasks, i.e., the introduction of the first computers for inventory control, shipping, etc. The idea of computerizing our membership list had been on my mind since my days as Treasurer, and when I took over the historical records portfolio, I knew that the time had come.

I had access to all the recorded minutes of the Council meetings, most of the Treasurer’s records, and most of the completed application forms for membership. I purchased a Commodore 64 and went to work. I set up a database listing first and last names, date of joining CATCC, date of starting work in the textile industry, date a member left, and the member’s birthday. I read every page of the minutes and every name that was in the minutes found its way into my database. Under this control, the historian could supply any committee chairman, Awards and Scholarships for example, with a list of members who were eligible for an award, such as Fifty years in Industry or Twenty-Five Years as a member. I could also provide a list of who had held various committee chairs, executive positions, won awards, etc. All of this did not come at the beginning, due to the limited storage capacity of the 64, but as my computers grew in capacity, so did the number of categories in my database. Today, there are more than 50 categories of information in my database.

An example of the usefullness of this computer data can be seen in the 65th anniversary booklet. I was asked to prepare lists of honorary presidents, past executive, past winners of bronze medals, twenty-five year certificate winners, fifty years distinction in the industry awards and so on. I can easily prepare a list of todays active members and since my list is all inclusive and contains more than two thousand three hundred names, I can produce a list of any person who has ever completed an application form which had been approved by council for membership.

This sounds like an awful lot of work and it was, it was spread over many, many months and even years to accumulate. Many evenings I sat with the family watching television on one hand and scanning the minutes at the same time looking for names to put into my database. Remember we have members who come and go, if a member does not pay his dues on time, council usually eliminates them from the list of active membership. He is deleted for non payment of dues which needs to be entered into my records. Similar, when dues are paid and the member returns again, council notes this in the minutes and my records are updated again. To compute members available for a twenty-five year certificate for example, it is necessary to calculate the time the member was actually a member, which means we have to eliminate those months or sometimes years where the member was deliquent.

In conclusion, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing the associations record to the point in which they stand today and I look forward to seeing my successor carry on my work. With new bigger and faster computers I am sure that we can add a lot more information which would be useful to members when looking for potential council members and potential executive for our association.

The association stands for the desimination of education and knowledge and by collecting knowledge about our individual members, we can only make our association stronger. One item I would like to see put into the database is a list of various papers presented by our members, talks by our members and participation of our members on various panels. This would be very useful information.

I for one have participated in atleast a dozen if not more papers having provided a main topic and to both our own assocation, the Textile Graduates Society and the Institue of Textile Science. These are valuable pieces of information and valuable work carried out by our members and it would be nice to have the results of all this work recorded in some place.

Other achievements during my time as Historical Records Keeper were the Anthology of the Annual Golf outings and the Annual Curling Bonspiels. These two documents are available on file both in my files and with the Chairman of the Sports and Leisure Activities Committees. Each document contains a short history of how, when and why the sport was started, the individuals involved, the trophies that were presented, the reasons for their being presented, and at the back is a list of all the winners down thru the years. During my term as Historian I was also proud recepient of several honours of the association. The first, and foremost which I treasure the most, is the Bronze Medal of the CATCC – Quebec. This medal is awarded annually or less frequently to an individual who has contributed more and more time over and above what was required of him in his normal duties and is a real affirmation of members’ belief in the organization. I also received a certificate of Merite from the Textile Federation for my activities of a similar nature in that organization.

My sincere thanks to my wife and children for all their love and support over the years.

My working life in the Canadian Textile Industry started back in 1946 when I was hired by the Montreal Cotton Co. Ltd. to work in the laboratory. I was a trainee to learn the ropes of the converting division. I started from learning how to match shades, make sample colour cards for our dyer, carry out all kinds of quality control tests. Both the wet type in the beginning and later chemical tests on the dyes and chemicals we were purchasing were a very good beginning. Classes at Sir George Williams gave me the background I needed to get into the ins and outs of textiles. Our plant was fortunate in having both open-width batch processing, kier bleaching, scouring, bleaching, rope form and mercerizing was there. We had various means of dyeing fabrics, two of three continuous dye ranges as well as a variety of type of jigs and kettles, including yarn dyeing. Finishing involved everything from the old starch finishes to the present day wash and wear thermosetting resin finishes. While I started as a low lab technician I gradually rose to the position of Chief Chemist then New Product Development Manager then Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and during his absence for illness to looking after the day to day organization and operation of the plant. Just before this time, we had planned and put into action the construction of the new Beauharnois Finishing Plant state of the art unit for Canada actually for North America. I was instrumental again in setting up procedures in the new plant and phasing out the production in the old plant.

At the age of 40 I decided that a change of carreer would be in order and terminated my employment with the Beauharnois Finishing Plant.

Several months later I joined Hoechst Canada Ltd. as Technical Manager in their New Fibres Department. Hoechst in Germany was one of the original developers of polyester in the early 1950’s and was very strong in Europe where as ICI and Dupont were strong in North America. Hoechst wanted to expand and had already put up a polyester staple and ployester multi filament plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Since I knew most of the Canadian Textile market, I as a logical choice for their technical service representative and after a brief indoctrination at that plant in Spartanburg, I was trained to sell and serve customers across the country whether they be card room operators, spinners, weavers, knitters, texturizers, dyers, printers you name it. I was able to talk to each of our customers about his own specific problems and needs. This employment took me from 1969 until 1992. At this time American Hoechst Co. had finalized the purchase of American Celanese and was consolidating efforts in the U.S. and then came Canada. No point in having two fibre sales service organizations so Hoechst entrusted Celanese Canada to handle the needs of my customers and I was retired.

Years 1992 to 1998 did not deter me from my love of the industry and the contacts whit my former customers, while my early years with Hoechst had involved fibres and yarns for apparel then carpets and then the latter years industrial fabrics ans safety protective fabrics, I was able to maintain connections with non Hoechst suppliers of certain fibres and became their sales representative in Canada. The most notable fibre was Tejin Conex which was widely used by the Canadian Military in a blend with a flame resistant rayon for working clothing. Due to a slight illness in 1997 which was aggravated in 1998 through no fault of my own I decided to call it quits and I am now one of happily retired Ex Textile Executives.

I would like to thank my loving wife, partner in life for maintaining a loving home and family. My three children, Jocelyn who is a senior research scientist, Cynthia in the tourism industry and my son Eric who is an aspiring musician.

R.J. Willis
Novembre 2000

List of 50 years in the textile industry since 1985

1985   Ernest A. W. Boyce
1986   Bernard Gaboriault
1987   Léo A. Bergeron
1988   Dr. Louis J. Sheps
1992   John G. Soroka
1993   Hans Barth
Jeff Marsden
Frederick Russell Smith
1995   Sol Aronoff
Mark Tomiuck
1996   Richard John Willis
1997   John Henry Wolfe
Geoff B. Wylie
1998   Claude Aubé
1999   René Grenier
William John Hogg
Murray Bryson
2000   James P. Davis
Douglas Gordon Robinson
2001   George Barnabei
Jean-Louis Lacerte

List of presidents since 1936

1936      W.B. JACKSON
1937      S.B. WOOD
1938-39   J.P. REDSTON
1940-41   G.C. TAYLOR
1942-43   E.N. FIDLER
1944-45   F.J. KNIGHT
1946-47   H.K. TORPEY
1948-49   F.D. WALLACE
1950-51   C. WILLS
1952-53   S.W. MILNES
1954-55   Dr. L.J. SHEPS
1956      L.E. MOODY
1957-58   Dr. C.E. COKE
1959      S.H. CHAMBERS
1960-61   J.G. SOROKA
1962-63   J.H. LOWE
1964-65   C.R. TEICHGRABER
1966-67   D. HEGGIE
1968-69   T.R. OWEN
1970-71   C.F. FITTON
1972      P.W. BENN
1973-74   R.J. WILLIS
1975-76   J.G. LAROCQUE
1977-78   R.L. SMITH
1979-80   J.P. DAVIS
1981-82   G. ARES
1983-84   R.W. MAURER
1985-86   G. BARNABEI
1987-88   P.M. CORBEIL
1989-90   M. HEHLEN
1991-92   R.L. PAQUETTE
1993-94   R.M. CONSTANTIN
1995-96   R. GOBEIL
1997-98   G. D’ARAGON
1999-2000 R. McNICOLL

President of 1993-1995






President of 1999-2001