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Arthur Osmore Norton (1845-1919)

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medium_norton.jpgBorn in 1845 on his parents' farm at Kingscroft, in Barnston Township, Arthur Osmore Norton studied at nearby Barnston Academy. By age 16, Norton was working as a clerk in a local general store. In 1870, he married Helen Richardson of Coaticook. The couple would have two children together. By 1875, Norton had entered the wholesale and retail jewelry business in Coaticook.

In the 1880s, Norton purchased the rights to a device specially invented by Frank Sleeper for use in the railway industry. Norton's subsequent manufacture in Coaticook and Boston of the "Norton Ball Bearing Lifting Jack," as it came to be known, would make him a very rich man. It was not long before "the Norton Jack" was in demand all over Canada, the U.S., and the world. His company was incorporated in the U.S. in 1906 as A. O. Norton Inc., and in Canada in 1913 as A. O. Norton Ltd. The Coaticook plant suffered a disastrous fire in 1912, but was rebuilt the following year.

A leading Townships industrialist, Norton was also a philanthropist, making sizable contributions in the areas of health, education, and the arts. The opulent Norton family home, built in Coaticook in 1912, is now home to the Beaulne Museum.