RECORD, CHARLES B., carriage maker, furniture dealer, and foundry owner; b. 21 Aug. 1817 at Hebron, Maine; m., probably in 1852, Charlotte Bennett, and they had a son and a daughter; d. 5 June 1890 in Moncton, N.B.
Charles B. Record learned the trade of house joiner and later that of carriage maker in Dover, Maine, where his parents had moved when he was a child. From 1836 to 1841 he practised his trades in Orono, Maine, developing his mechanical skills and gaining valuable experience in business. By the latter year he was ready to move to a larger centre, and established himself in Saint John, N.B., where for the next three years he alternated between house building and carriage making. In 1844 he began working as a driver on Daniel Caldwell’s mail coach line between Saint John and the Bend of Petitcodiac (Moncton). He later became Caldwell’s partner in the business, but in 1851 sold his interest to establish Moncton’s first company for the importation and sale of furniture. At his store he also introduced for sale Dr Abraham Gesner*’s recently developed discovery, kerosene or paraffin lamp oil. At a Saint John refinery the product was distilled from albertite, a mineral resembling coal which was mined in neighbouring Albert County.
During the 1850s Record witnessed rapid progress at the Bend, which was incorporated as the town of Moncton in April 1855. Joseph Salter* had established a thriving shipyard on the north bank of the Petitcodiac in 1847 and in September 1853 construction began on the European and North American Railway to link Saint John with Shediac by way of Moncton. Recognizing the business possibilities during a railway construction boom, Record in 1857 closed his furniture business and in March of the same year set up the Moncton Iron Foundry with George W. Scales as his partner. By late May they had completed their first casting for the European and North American Railway, and they soon branched out into the production of iron shapes to order and the manufacture of stoves and agricultural implements. Scales died in 1858, and Record then took sole direction of the business.
Record had a flair for invention, and his stoves and ploughs, of which there were 14 models, became acknowledged as high quality products in great demand. He worked long hours at his business, paid personal attention to improvements in patterns and to the welfare and safety of his employees, and even designed models of his products for sales purposes. In 1879 he turned over direction of the company to his son, Edwin Albert, who in association with Robert F. Boyer entered into some unwise contracts and within two years had brought the foundry to a halt. In 1882, when the business was sold at auction to satisfy creditors, Charles B. Record, Alfred Edward Peters, and others formed a joint-stock company to buy the physical plant. They soon re-established the foundry under the name of the Record Foundry and Machine Company and restored its reputation, its strongest market being in southern Quebec. By steadily expanding its facilities during the 1880s the firm came to occupy a 12-acre site. Its weekly payroll in 1889 was $500, and by 1900 it employed over 150 men.
During the 1870s Record had diversified his business activities by becoming involved in several significant Moncton concerns. He was president of the Moncton Tobacco Company which was founded in 1870 and employed 60 people until it was forced out of business by the recession in 1873. He was a charter stockholder in the Moncton Gas, Light and Water Company in 1877, and a director of both the Moncton Sugar Refinery incorporated in 1879 and the Moncton Cotton Manufacturing Company established in 1881. Record never sought public office because he retained his American citizenship, but as a Baptist who strongly supported free, non-sectarian schools he served as chairman of the Moncton school board from 1872, when the Common Schools Act came into effect, until 1874.
Record was known as a quiet, unassuming man, but the diversity of his career as tradesman, merchant, and manufacturer, and his rebuilding of his shattered business during the 1880s, attest that he was one of Moncton’s strongest entrepreneurs in the 19th century.
Westmorland County Registry Office (Dorchester, N.B.), libro KK: 443. Moncton Times, 11 Dec. 1889, 5 June 1890. Morning News (Saint John, N.B.), 20 July 1860. New Brunswick Courier (Saint John), 2 July 1836. St. John Daily Telegraph and Morning Journal (Saint John), 24 May 1871. Westmorland Times (Moncton, N.B.), 27 Sept. 1855. L. A. Machum, A history of Moncton, town and city, 1855–1965 (Moncton, 1965). C. A. Pincombe, “The history of Monckton Township (ca. 1700–1875)”