Alligators of the North

Overview

The Alligator was an amphibious machine designed and patented in Canada in the late 1880s. This warping tug was capable of towing a log boom across a lake and then portaging itself to the next body of water. Steam-powered and rugged, it was one of the pioneers in the mechanization of the forest industry and for more than thirty years was ubiquitous in northern Ontario until eclipsed by its worthy successor the Russel tug.

"This long-overdue book on the Alligator Warping Tug, designed and built by West & Peachey of Simcoe, Ontario, is a welcome addition to the libraries of those intrigued by Canada’s story and particularly lumbering history." — R. John Corby, curator emeritus, Canada Science and Technology Museum

"By enabling access to the upper reaches of the Ottawa River and its many tributaries, the Alligator tug extended the social and economic stability provided by the timber industry and supported the populating of this vast region. Alligators of the North is a wonderful touchstone for all who share this heritage." — Mary Campbell, mayor of McNab-Braeside Township, Renfrew County

Reviews

"An engaging addition to our recorded heritage, and richer knowledge of how parts of Muskokas virgin stands of pine became fine forest products that reached world markets."

"Alligators of the North portrays, with the help of excellent period photographs, a triumphant era of inventive progress when steam engines were replacing earlier methods in everything from sailing ships to manufacturing operations."

Muskoka Magazine (June, 2010)

About the Authors

Harry Barrett

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Harry Barrett

Harry Barrett, a long-time resident of Norfolk County, is a noted naturalist, conservationist, and historian. Harry was the founding chair of the Long Point Foundation for Conservation, and is the author of books on the local history of the Norfolk-Haldimand region of Ontario.

Clarence F. Coons

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Clarence F. Coons

Clarence Coons, now deceased, was a well-known professional forrester in Ontario. While growing up in Lakefield, Ontario, he heard many stories about the white pine harvesting in the Trent Watershed and the "alligators "at work. Clarence did the original research for this book, and Harry Barrett completed the work.