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Original title:  Photograph D. Yuile, Montreal, QC, 1880 Notman & Sandham 1880, 19th century Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process 15 x 10 cm Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd. II-55968.1 © McCord Museum Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)

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YUILE, DAVID, businessman; b. 20 Feb. 1846 in Glasgow, second son and third child of William Pollock Yuile, a wine merchant, and Margaret Rattray; m. 11 June 1878 Margaret King in Montreal, and they had four daughters; d. 21 June 1909 in Baltimore, Md.

Around 1857 David Yuile’s family emigrated from Scotland to Ingersoll, Upper Canada, where David attended a local school. In 1869 the family moved to Montreal and David’s elder brother, William, became a general merchant there. The following year David joined his brother’s firm. They would continue in business as general merchants until the mid 1880s. In the 1870s they also became manufacturers’ agents and wholesale druggists. One of the firms they represented was the St Johns Glass Company of Saint-Jean (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Que., a bottle manufacturer established in 1875. The company ceased operations in July 1877 and the following year, on 1 April, its major creditors, William and David Yuile, took it over in exchange for the $2,200 owed them.

By May 1879 the Yuiles had the firm back in operation as the Excelsior Glass Company. The following year, despite incentives from Saint-Jean and neighbouring Iberville to stay in the region, they sold the buildings and land and moved the glassworks, which employed about 200 men, to Montreal. There, they erected two furnaces, one for flint glass, the other for green, and produced prescription bottles, fruit jars, telegraph insulators, and some pressed ware. In 1883, in order to finance further expansion, the firm reorganized, changing its name to the North American Glass Company and increasing its capital to $10,000. Additional property was acquired, extra furnaces were installed, and experienced glassblowers were brought in from England and France.

With David Williamson, secretary-treasurer of North American Glass, Ralph King, a distant cousin of the Yuiles, and John Watt, King’s brother-in-law, William and David Yuile formed the Diamond Glass Company Limited in 1890. This new company embarked on an ambitious campaign to dominate the Canadian glass industry. It produced no glass of its own; most of the firms it acquired, beginning with North American Glass, would continue production under their own names. That same year Diamond Glass took over the Nova Scotia Glass Company of New Glasgow, N.S. [see Harvey Graham]. Specializing in tableware, the company had been founded in 1881. Diamond Glass would close the works two years after acquiring it. In 1891, having increased its capital to $500,000, Diamond Glass obtained two glassworks in Ontario, the Hamilton Glass Company, a producer of bottles and telegraph insulators established in 1864, and the Burlington Glass Company, a leading innovator in production techniques, founded in 1874 and taken over by the Hamilton company in 1885. Diamond Glass would operate the Burlington works until 1897 and the Hamilton works until the following year. It is not certain if the Yuiles and their associates were involved in the founding of the Toronto Glass Company Limited in late 1893 by former employees of the Burlington works, but by December 1895 they were directors and shareholders of the Toronto firm and in 1899 Diamond Glass purchased it. During the late 1890s Diamond Glass continued to consolidate its position in the industry, taking over in 1897 the Lamont Glass Company of Trenton, N.S., and the Dominion Glass Company Limited of Montreal [see Joseph Barsalou*].

In order to remain competitive in a market experiencing important technological changes, Diamond Glass needed more capital. On William Yuile’s retirement in 1903, a syndicate was organized to purchase Diamond Glass and its subsidiaries for $1,938,309; the group included David Yuile, Norman MacLeod Yuile (William’s son), Ralph King and his brother James Watt King, Montreal businessman George Arthur Grier, and Ontario glass manufacturer David Alexander Gordon. The syndicate established a new company, the Diamond Flint Glass Company Limited, of which David Yuile was named secretary-treasurer on 25 February. Seven months later Yuile became president of the company, the largest manufacturer of glass in Canada, employing about 1,000 persons and distributing its wares to all parts of the country. Under his leadership, the enterprise set up the Canadian Glass Manufacturing Company in Montreal and refurbished the abandoned Hamilton works, both for the mechanical production of bottles. In 1906 it purchased exclusive Canadian rights to the Owens automatic bottle machine, which had been invented in Toledo, Ohio, four years earlier. Yuile remained president until his death in 1909. The descendants of the intermarried Yuile and King families would be associated with the company until 1978, through its changes to Dominion Glass Company Limited in 1913 and to Domglas Limited in 1976.

David Yuile was involved in a variety of other manufacturing concerns in the Montreal region. For several years in the mid 1890s he was president of Chanteloup Manufacturing Company Limited, a brass foundry and ironworks. A director of Penman Manufacturing Company Limited, in 1905 he was involved in the merger of several prominent cotton mills to form the Dominion Textile Company [see Sir Charles Blair Gordon*], and was elected president of the new firm, a post he held until his death. He was a member of the Montreal Board of Trade in 1908 and 1909. In 1895 he had joined the Montreal Curling Club.

Yuile’s philanthropy was discreet and, for the most part, it was directed towards church-related endeavours. His generous support of the Presbyterian Church’s missionary work – he paid the salaries of several missionaries in China and India for many years – was made known only after his death. An elder of Erskine Presbyterian Church in Montreal for over 30 years, he had been president of its missionary society. He was also a Sunday-school teacher and a lay preacher who often brought the gospel to prisoners in the Montreal jail. Yuile was a governor of the Montreal General Hospital and a strong supporter of the Young Men’s Christian Association abroad. In June 1909 he travelled to Baltimore to undergo an operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital and died there.

In collaboration with T. B. King

Erskine and American United Church (Montreal), Erskine Presbyterian Church, RBMB. Mitchell Library (Glasgow), Gorbals, RBMB. Montreal Board of Commerce, Information Centre, information provided by Alex Harper, 6 Nov. 1989. Mount Royal Cemetery Company (Outremont, Que.), Burial reg. NA, MG 29, D61: 8655–57. Gazette (Montreal), 22 June 1909. Montreal Daily Star, 21 June 1909. The book of Montreal, a souvenir of Canadas commercial metropolis, ed. E. J. Chambers (Montreal, 1903). Directory, Montreal, 1869–1909. T. B. King, Glass in Canada (Erin, Ont., 1987). T. S. Morrisey, One hundred and fifty years of curling, 1807–1957: the Royal Montreal Curling Club (Montreal, 1957).

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Cite This Article

In collaboration with T. B. King, “YUILE, DAVID,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 28, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/yuile_david_13E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/yuile_david_13E.html
Author of Article:   In collaboration with T. B. King
Title of Article:   YUILE, DAVID
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1994
Year of revision:   1994
Access Date:   September 28, 2023