Pippy, Chesley Alwyn | 1995

Chesley A. Pippy

Chesley Alwyn Pippy was born in St. John’s on November 9, 1894, the son of William and Jessie Pippy. He received his education at the Methodist College and St. Bon’s College in St. John’s.

At the age of 15, Ches was hired as a bookkeeper with the firm of John Anderson, a dry goods store on Water Street in St. John’s. In 1919, he entered business on his own obtaining the agency for Ganong’s chocolates. With the 1920’s and the development of Newfoundland’s first real road system, Ches gambled that the time was right for “the newfangled invention called a tractor” and convinced Caterpillar to ship three of their tractors to Newfoundland.

In 1925, Ches established Newfoundland Tractor and Equipment with the help of D. Grant Burnell and Joseph Cocker. The company was incorporated in 1927 and renamed Newfoundland Tractor and Equipment Company Limited. Ches also imported the first Caterpillar snowplough to the province. Mechanically minded, he learned the operating, maintenance and repair principles of Caterpillar products by dismantling and reassembling a tractor and using his knowledge to train others as heavy equipment operators and mechanics. With the declaration of war in 1939, these skilled workers secured excellent jobs constructing the American bases in Newfoundland. Aided by the major road construction projects of the 1950’s and 60’s, Newfoundland Tractor and Equipment Company Limited adopted an aggressive expansion policy and by 1960 had opened branches in Corner Brook, Grand Falls and Goose Bay and had moved into expanded facilities in St. John’s.

In addition to being president of Newfoundland Tractor and Equipment Company Limited, Ches was also president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, Newfoundland Cement Company, North Star Cement Company, Newfoundland Fibreply Limited, Newfoundland Hardwoods Limited and United Cotton Mills Limited.

Chesley Alwyn Pippy died February 8, 1971.

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