Dominion Cartridge Company Canada

Chronology of Events and people Significant to the Development and Operation of the Dominion Cartridge Co., LTD. 1885 – 1945.



Arthur L Howard arrives in Canada to demonstrate the use of the Gatling Rapid-Firing Gun to the Canadian Government Authorities under battlefield Conditions in the Northwest Rebellions lead by Louis Riel.              

He then embarked on a project to convince the Canadian Government that a 2nd Cartridge Manufacturing outfit should be established in Canada. Only the Dominion Cartridge factory in Quebec City, since 1882 was Canada’s sole supplier of ammunition. This was federal Arsenal making military small arms munitions.

Arthur Howard was successful and convincing the government that a 2nd plant was needed.  With government and private Backers, $100,000 was received to start the private Dominion Cartridge Company. One of the largest backers was the President  and sole owner of the Hamilton powder Company, Thomas Chalmers Brainard. The Canadian Government supplied the first President for the Dominion Cartridge Co who was the Honorable J.J Abbott, who later became Canada’s 4th prime Minister.



January 1886: Application made for Incorporation of the Dominion Cartridge Co.

May 1886: Incorporation received.

Summer 1886: The Factory is being built in Brownsburg, Quebec and A.L Howard (works Manager) hires E.W Kelley, an expert cartridge maker and imports a small quantity of cartridge Making equipment from the United States.

October 1886: The Brownsburg plant site consisted of a large 3 story wooden Building and employed 15 persons.

October 10, 1886: the very first sporting Cartridge was produced.

Dec 1886: Company had 24 employees (13 women and 11 men)



Feb 1887: Company had $700 worth of Completed ammunition

October 1887: Company now had 45 employees.



Company begins the manufacture of Fulminate of Mercury.

Dr T.C Brainerd is appointed as President of the Company (until 1894)

Dec 1888 Company had 61 Employees



Discontinue the use of Fulminate of Mercury.

The Dominion Cartridge Company’s Price list for this year offers an extensive line of rimfire and centerfire calibers. Brass shotshells in 10 gauge 2 7/8 case and 12 gauge in 2 cases offered, as well as Nimrod  and TRAP Brand Paper cased shotshells in 10 and 12 gauge only.



Head office listed as 103 St Francois Xavier Street, Montreal, Quebec (same as Hamilton powder Company). T.C Brainard listed as President, H.B Brainerd listed as Treasurer, N.P Leach as Secretary.



 Sir J.J Abbott becomes Canada’s 4th prime Minister (was first Dominion Company president)



Arthur L Howard (works Manager) leaves the Dominion Cartridge Co., to establish a Fulminate of Mercury manufacturing facility at Capleton, Quebec, just outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec called Capleton Works.

Dominion offers EUREKA Brand Shotshells in 10 and 12 gauges.

1894: H.B (Henry) Brainerd is appointed President of the Company.

1895: production of Non- electric Blasting Caps started.

1897: A.L Howard returns to Brownsburg to direct the building of his new colossal Home. Leaves his son George to operate the Capleton Works.



AL Howards Residence (largest in town) completed.

Vulcan Brand shotshell made in 10 and 12 gauge. This was the first shell offered in “Smokeless powder” by Dominion.



A.L Howards residence furnished on 2 floors and he occupies these.

First dated cartridges (HS D.C. Co. 9  .45-75 9) contract by Dominion for ammunition for the Northwest Mounted Police. Earlier contract cartridges were plain headstamped.

D.C Co discontinues again the manufacture of Fulminate of Mercury



A.L Howard has New Years reunion at his mansion.

2nd and last dated headstamp contract cartridges for the NWMP made. (HS D.C. CO. 0  .45-75 0),

First Jacketed bullets made by DC Co. and made in .303 Savage.

16 gauge Brass shotshells in 2 5/8” are available and in TRAP Brand Paper shotshells.

Aug 22: Patent date on DC CO boxes of Ammunition of the “Folded” variety, manufactured by the Dominion Paper Box Company Ltd, subsidiary of Dominion.



Feb 16: A.L Howard celebrates his 55th birthday while in South Africa fighting as a Canadian Soldier in the Boer war.

Feb 17: A.L Howard is Killed in Action.



Frank W Lamplough of Montreal, Quebec contracts DC Co for a quantity of .577 Snider Cartridges to be used as his house Brand. Headstamped: F.W.L. Co. .57 Snider.



Dominion installs their first Shotshell Tube Rolling Machine



Last advertisements for the VULCAN shotshell, assume discontinued this year.



Company advertising indicates the Introduction of CROWN (Black Powder), REGAL, SOVEREIGN and IMPERIAL Brands of Paper Shotshells with the DC Co and Brand headstamp.

DC Co made SMOKELESS .22’s available in .22 short and Long. SMOKELESS Rifle cartridges available in the following calibers: .30-30 Win, .303 Sav, .303 British, .32 Win Spl, .38-55 Win.



 Dominion ammunition appeared in the Toronto Based Warren Sporting Goods catalog.



Major expansion takes place at the Brownsburg Plant.

T.C Brainerd Dies.

DC Co merged with the following companies to form Canadian Explosives Limited (CEL)

Hamilton Powder Company

Acadia Powder Company

Victoria Chemical Company

Standard Explosives Ltd

Western Explosives Ltd

Ontario Powder Company

DC Co name however remains and is used on all ammunition.



Full scale production of electric Detonators

April 1: DC Co becomes subsidiary of Canadian Explosives Ltd and Dupont. Sovereign Brand shotshells before this date had top wads stating powder was Hamilton Powder Company, after this date Powder was made by Dupont.



January. DC Co issued a large colored Lithographed cartridge board having a polar bear in the center of an Oval.



 CANUCK Brand shotshells Introduced.



The DC Co was amongst the first cartridge company in North America turned over for the Manufacture of war munitions.

DC Co had contract with the Canadian Government to supply .303 British cartridges. Headstamped:  DC 14 VII



Shotshell manufacturing equipment moved from Brownsburg to ST Henri, just outside of Montreal, Plant address was listed as being between #6 Turgeon Street, from Lachine Canal-North to 1764 Notre Dame Street West, St Henri ward.

2nd contract cartridges for the war effort supplied to the Canadian Government in .303 British caliber. Headstamped. DC 15 VII.

Dominion marksman program Introduced.

July 1: After this date ALL smokeless shotshells now being made with Improved #3B Copper Primers.

The following calibers were discontinued By DC CO: .43 Spanish, .50-70 Sharps and Gov’t, .40-65 Win and .40-82 Win.

.280 Ross Loading started by DC Co



Jan 1, The First DC Co Catalog (#15) was issued.

May 6: Head office is now listed as: 120 Transportation BLDG, Montreal, Quebec.

May: The following percentages were found which shows how much prices had increased for supplies to make shells due to the war.

Chilled shot (80%), Smokeless Powder (100%), Shotshell Tube Paper (40%), Fulminate of Mercury (200%)

Dominion marksman Program inaugurated

First Automatic Trimming machine installed. Operated by Nelson Morrision.

3rd contract for the Canadian Government war effort of .303 British cartridges. Headstamped: DC 16 VII.

Dominion Cartridge Company has established regional offices in Montreal, Winnipeg, MB and Vancouver, BC.



Introduction of FALCON Brand shotshells in 12 gauge only.

The DC Co was contracted by Dupont to build a large number of .30-06 Sprg cases for Dupont to load Tracer projectiles in the USA for the War. Headstamped D 18.


The DC Co was contracted to manufacture 12 gauge shotshells for the Empire Cartridge co., Nobel Explosives Div, Birmingham , England. These had Purple Paper case a low brass head and an Empire in Yellow lettering on the case walls. Contract was from 1918-1920.



Shotshell manufacturing equipment moved back to Brownsburg from St Henri., closing the St Henri Manufacturing Works.

New cartridge additions: .25 ACP, .30 Mauser, .250 Savage, .30 Remington, .30-06 Sprg, .32 Rem, .33 Win, .35 Rem, .351 S.L.R, 12 Gauge Canuck Spread Shot and .410 shotshells in 2” Case.

Nov 29: Small pocket price List issued.



Catalog #16 Issued.

Major Fire in Brownsburg plant destroys All Buildings. All stock and machinery ruined. Reconstruction commences immediately.

DC Co published a small color booklet “The Call of Canada” which was extensively advertised and sold for $0.50 a copy to assist with reconstruction finances of the plant.


 DC Co starts the manufacture of Railway Track Signals.


Late 1921 early 1922 The shotshell brands of REGAL and SOVEREIGN were discontinued.



The introduction of “Super Accurate” brand .22 Long rifle Cartridges.

Introduced New “Copper point Expanding Bullets” in .303 British Caliber.



Pocket price List #17 issued (21 pages).

More buildings and equipment installed at Brownsburg.



The manufacture of Railway Fuses started

DC Co contracted by Eatons Dept. Stores (T. Eaton Co) to make House brand shotshells for them. Headstamped:  Eatonia.

DC Co started advertising of: “Pending new bullet”.



January: Announced the new Pneumatic Bullet in .30-30 Win.

March: 8x57mm Mauser offered with pneumatic Bullet.

Summer: Advertisements stating new pneumatic Bullet available in above calibers. Patent pending For bullet

Williams McMaster retires as president of Canadian Explosives Ltd and is replaced by Arthur B Purvis (1925-1927)

September: Eatons advertises their new Eatonia shells available in 12 gauge in shot sizes BB, 1, 3,4,5,6,7. 3 Drs EQV 1/18 oz shot. Heavy load same as above but in 3 DRS Eqv powder.

Fall: .300 Savage and .32 Win SPL added with the pneumatic Bullet

Late Fall: Catalog 18 released.



March: Heavy advertising stating Moose killed with Dominion .22 short bullet.

April 3: Company study shows 75% of all shotshells used in Canada are of Dominion Brand.


First Canadian patent granted for the pneumatic Hollow point Bullet.



January: The Dominion Cartridge Co. Officially announces the Introduction of NEW SMOKELESS  DIAMOND CANUCK, SMOKELESS DIAMOND IMPERIAL, and DUPONT OVAL IMPERIAL LONG RANGE shotshell loadings.

Feb 19: Dominion announces new “Greaseless Bullet” in .22 cal. A contest if launched to name the bullet. $50 for first prize and miscellaneous for the 2nd prize. Winner was ‘Super Clean” and was marketed as a brand of .22 ammo  available in .22 short, long and long rifle.

June 20th; Canadian Explosives Ltd formally renamed  Canadian industries Ltd (CIL), thus the Dominion Cartridge co becomes a subsidiary of CIL. Arthur B Purvis still President and Managing Director and is so until 1941.

DUCO shotshell waterproofing process patented.

Dominion FALCON shotshells discontinued.

Introduction of Dominion METEOR Brand shotshells.

2nd revision of catalog 18 introduced showing the Meteor shells replacing the Falcon.

November: Mr. E.J Johnson of Montreal patents the “Graphite Bullet”.



First Dominion ammo exports to South America.

August: Makes House Brand Shotshells for the Woodwards Dept store. Headstamped Woodwards. Same Month DC Co receives a Patent for their “Pneumatic Bullet” in the United States.

October: The DC CO became “Dominion Ammunition Company” a subsidiary of CIL.

December: Dominion began the manufacture of the first Non Corrosive Primers in North America. They were Nickel and advertised as “Super Clean”. Brass primers were still of the Chlorate Variety.



A contract was struck between Dominion and T. Eaton Company to make housebrand ammunition for Eatons in 6.5mm Mannlicher Schoenauer caliber. Headstamped R 6.5 MM

New cartridge calibers added to the Dominion Line: .270 Win, 7x57 Mauser and 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer.

Second Canadian patent issued for the “Pneumatic Bullet”.

Buffalo Export Brand introduced.

Oct 21: the first yellow and Red labeled LESMOKE Rimfire labels issued with “Dominion Ammunition”  markings.

Pneumatic  Bullet Loading  Now available in the following calibers:

.25-20 Win, .270 Win, .30-30 Win, .30 USA (.30-40 Krag), .30 Springfield (.30-06), .300 Savage, 8x57mm Mauser, .303 British and .32 Win Special.



Ten new buildings constructed at the Brownburg Facility.

The following Calibers were added with pneumatic Bullets: .25-35 Win, .250 Sav, .303 Sav, .30 Rem.

March 6: First 16 gauge BUFFALO Export Brand with CIL labels produced.

May 5: William McMaster dies at age 79.

July: Contract with T Eatons to now also make 44-40 Win housebrand ammunition. Headstamped R .44-40, boxed in 25 round Pink Labeled boxes, and .303 British ammunition headstamped R 303.

Second Patent issued for DUCO waterproofing process.

First Patent issued for Dominion Tracer Shotshell.

Graphite Bullet patented in the USA, patent # 1, 769, 263.



.32-20 Win caliber added with the pneumatic Bullet

March 23, huge explosion at the Brownsburg plant killing Alexander Mason.

June; Catalog #19 Issued.

Sept: Introduced WHIZ-BANG 22 shells that were previewed at the Canadian national Exhibition of 1931.  All .22 whiz-bang cases made between 1931-1936 had nickeled cases. Brass was used after this.



January: BISLEY Brand .22 Long Rifle ammunition Introduced.

RELIANCE Brand Export shot shells Introduced (discontinued in 1949)

August: Brownsburg Works covers more than 300 acres on which 132 buildings occupy.

October 5th. Joseph Cadham is appointed Division manager of the CIL Dominion Ammunition  division.

November 1: Another Dominion/T. Eaton contract for .303 House brand cartridges.



2nd patent received for the Dominion Tracer Shotshells.



March 14: Introduction of the Maxum brand Shotshell and in 12 gauge only.



During these years all Copper cased .22 casings were discontinued, with the exception of those made for the Canadian military.



DRY LUBRICATED Bullet process introduced and used on WHIZ-BANG and SUPER CLEAN .22 brands. All Whiz-bang shells also now made with brass cases instead of Nickel.



Introduction of CENTRAL V .22 long rifle rimfire cartridges. This cartridge was specially manufactured for accuracy and selected for High Grade Target shooting.



Production of pierced Anvil Centerfire Primers commenced.

Last Hudsons Bay House Brand Shotshells manufactured. No data on when they first started but is believed to be in the 1920’s.



SUPER ACCURATE Brand of .22’s discontinued

New Crimp introduced in meteor 12 Gauge shotshells.

Defence Industries LTD, (DIL) Incorporated only 5 days after Canada declared war on Germany.  This was a factory set up by CIL for the WAR Munitions Program. Defence Industries opened a complete and separate plant in Brownsburg, Quebec.



Early wartime contract for .303 British was completed prior to DIL coming in to full operations. Headstamped DC 40 303 VII

Introduction of NEW Crimp in 12 gauge METEOR Trap loads, and CANUCK Trap loads.

12 gauge IMPERIAL Brand shotshells introduced with Rifle Slugs

July. Catalog 21 issued in 8.5 x 11” format.



Arthur B Purvis dies in an airplane crash in England.

Dominion (CIL: Canadian Industries Ltd) plant manufactures a quantity of 303 British MK IV Tracers for the expeditionary forces.

DIL Manufactures .303 British cartridges



Dominion (CIL)  Tools up for a pilot run of 9mm pistol ammunition. HS DC 42 9 MM

Dominion (CIL)  plant manufactures a quantity of .303 British MK IV Tracers as well as .380 MK II ammunition. DIL Manufactures .303 British cartridges

DIL Manufactures .303 British cartridges



Dominion (CIL)  plant makes more .380 S&W MK II cartridges for the war effort.

DIL Manufactures .303 British cartridges



Dominion (CIL)  Plant manufactures .45 Long Colt ammunition with a full metal jacket for the Royal Canadian Navy.

More .380 S&W MK II Cartridges made.

July: Dominion (CIL)  manufactured 2” M.L Mortar rounds, These were made with 47 grains Ballistic Mark II Ballastite cartridges, incorporating a  standard 28 gauge case. Other mortar rounds discovered and Marked with a C.S.F marking were made by Canadian Safety Fuse company, another subsidiary of CIL and also in Brownsburg.

DIL Manufactures 303 British cartridges



Dominion (CIL)  manufactures the last run of .380 S&W MK II cartridges for the war effort.



Curtis Steinhauer