The cooper building is a partial reproduction of the Thomas of Petit-Tracadie around 1937. The mill represents a standard one of the period, and as for the cooperage (assembling) it's close to the one the Thomas had in 1937. The Thomas cooper had six to seven employees at that time.
Formerly, in the1800 years, the production of barrels at John Thomas was limited to two barrels a day, as all the production steps were handmade. The mechanical tools made their appearance around 1900 and in 1937, a good day of work represents 20 barrels a day.
The two main functions of the barrels are transportation and conservation of merchandise it contain. Water, wine, oil, molasses and a lot of solid products such as seeds, saltings, potatoes, apples, cheese, fish, meat, etc. The barrel is easy to handle, even if contains hundreds of pounds of products. We can handle it ourselves, due to it's geometrical shape.
Until the beginning of 1900, the production is especially sold on the local market. In 1937, the Thomas sell barrels everywhere in the Acadian Peninsula. During that period, production goes up from 10 000 - 12 000 barrels a year. The main customers are: A. & R. Loggie, W. S. Loggie, the Robin, Jones and Whitman Company, the Gauthier manufacture in Shippagan, etc.
In the last years of production (1960-1970), there was not too many coopers and the Thomas sell everywhere in the maritimes, Québec and Ontario. During that period, the Thomas employed 40 to 60 persons and manufactured around 40 thousands barrels a year. In 1980, the Thomas cooper closes his doors, as barrels are now made plastic and it supplants the wood barrels.
Characteristics of the main building:
- Gabble roof
- Exterior covered with cedar shingles
- The large access doors
- The main area partially open and serves as a shelter for the steam boiler engin
- The horizontal steam boiler produce in 1940 by Robb manufacture
Engineering Work Limited de Amherst, Nouvelle-Écosse
- The steam engin (c1905) from International Engineering Works Limited d’Amherst, Nova-Scotia
- The stationary engin manufactured in 1941 by International Harvester Company of Chicago, USA
- The slave cylinder saw (1900) from the manufacture Peter Gerlach Company of Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- The shingles mill Dunbar made around 1930 by the Compagnie Desjardins Limitée de Saint-André-de-Kamouraska, Qc
- The shingle packer from 1930
- The circular saw from 1930
- The bandsaw from 1930
Main characteristics of the second building:
- Gabble roof
- Small dimensions of the building
- Two access doors
- The fireplace to warm up the barrels
- The two workbenches
- Whole assembling tools of the barrels.