Our Story

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From a simple blacksmith shop to a national industry leader, Wajax is proud to be one of Canada’s most experienced and diversified industrial products, equipment and services providers.

Our story begins in 1858.

In the heart of Montreal, a small blacksmith shop kicked off its journey. Founded by a young and industrious entrepreneur, B.J. Coghlin, the shop quickly transformed into a thriving business. From manufacturing carriage springs to supplying railcar components, Coghlin’s enterprise flourished, becoming a major player in Montreal’s industrial scene.

Little did Coghlin know that this modest start would spark a legacy. The company’s support endured for generations, playing a pivotal role in Canada’s progress and growth, even before the nation officially took its place on the map.

A key acquisition launched the company we are today.

Coghlin’s enterprise, on its path of steady expansion, made a significant move in 1954 by acquiring its first mobile equipment subsidiary – Watson Jack & Co. This subsidiary specialized in metals, chemical boilers, and electrical supplies.

The turning point arrived in 1959 when the company underwent an official name change to Wajax, paying homage to J.C. Watson Jack – a forward-thinking leader who steered our organization through the challenges of the early 1900s. Interestingly, the name Wajax had been in use since 1925, initially associated with an inventive portable pump product called ‘The Wajax’. To this day, a handful of these historic pumps are proudly showcased in select branches, preserving a tangible link to our innovative roots.

As industry diversified and grew, so did we.

As industries evolved and expanded, so did our commitment to growth. In the late ’60s and ’70s, pivotal acquisitions marked the birth of our Power Systems and Industrial Components divisions in 1968 and 1978, respectively.

Since those formative years, Wajax’s journey has been one of continual expansion and strategic acquisitions. We’ve welcomed highly specialized companies into our fold, each playing a crucial role in servicing Canada’s core industries. From construction and industrial/commercial sectors to transportation, the oil sands, forestry, oil and gas, metal processing, and mining, Wajax has become a trusted partner in supporting the backbone of Canada’s diverse and vital industries.

165 years later, we’re continuing this legacy of innovation and service. 

Throughout our 165-year history, we’ve never lost sight of J.C. Watson Jack’s vision. We have continued to strengthen our depth and breadth of product capabilities through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.

Our passion continues to shape the future of our nation by supporting the industries that propel this country forward. Today, we are guided by our purpose to empower people to build a better tomorrow, positioning ourselves consistently at the forefront of progress.

While our founders may have focused on railways, we now work in the field, on site, and in the plant of all of Canada’s major industries.