H.V. Dalling

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H. V. Dalling
Born Horace Victor Dalling
February 5, 1854 (1854-02-05)
Richmond, New Brunswick
Died January 6, 1931 (1931-01-07) (aged 76)
Woodstock, New Brunswick
Occupation Watchmaker, retailer, inventor
Years active 1878-1929
Known for homemade telephone
Spouse(s) Mary Isabella McKilligan (m. 1879; d. 1927)
Children William Victor Dalling, Edith Dalling, 2 others

Horace Victor Dalling was a Canadian watchmaker,[1] jeweller, optician and inventor. He was the watch inspector for the Canadian Pacific Railway,[2] and is also known for manufacturing the first two telephones in Woodstock, New Brunswick, which he placed in his store and in his home.[3]


Dalling was born in Richmond, New Brunswick on February 5, 1854, to Thomas M. and Matilda Jane (Gray) Dalling. In 1878 he moved to Woodstock and established his business, Dalling's Jewellery Store. In 1879 he married Mary Isabella McKilligan and the two had four children.

His store was damaged by fire on February 26, 1891. His losses ($150[4]) were covered by insurance.[5]

In 1900, he donated a silver cup, known as the "Dalling Cup", for golf.[6] Another cup, a gold-lined silver cup, was given in 1905 for the Woodstock Hockey League.[7]

His son William Victor Dalling, fought in the First World War as a gunner.[8] He was wounded in France on October 13, 1916, but died of pneumonia on October 19, 1918, contracted in Fredericton while waiting for his discharge.[3]

Dalling continued to run his store until 1929, when he retired because of ill health. His daughter, Edith, ran the store until his death on January 6, 1931.


He is most remembered because of his homemade telephone, which he constructed in 1885 and ran between his home on Richmond St. and his store on Main St. He supported the wires by running them in the branches of trees alongside the streets.[9] Telephones (either wires or instruments) were not yet common in the region.

Bell Telephone later investigated his setup and threatened him with a lawsuit for infringing on the company's patent. However, a compromise was reached and Bell opened a small telephone exchange of twenty lines[10] in his store, of which he was the manager.[11] Because there was no service at night or on Sundays, Dalling built and installed a miniature switchboard of eight lines at his home to answer important messages after hours.


  1. ^ "Elgin Private Label Database". NAWCC Information Archive. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Carleton Sentinel Newspaper March 4, 1893". Carleton Sentinel Newspaper. Woodstock, New Brunswick. March 4, 1893. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The C. P. R. know a good thing when they see it, and so having to secure the services of an Inspector of clocks and watches for this district, they naturally and wisely selected Mr. H. V. Dalling for that position. Horace will be found right, every time. 
  3. ^ a b "Dalling Family Collection". Carleton County Historical Society. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Fire Main Street". Carleton Sentinel Newspaper. March 7, 1891. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The losses were as follows : [...] H V Dalling, jeweler, $150;[...] 
  5. ^ "Newspaper & Documents write-ups about Carleton County People". Press Newspaper. March 2, 1891. Retrieved 28 March 2011. On Thursday night last between the hours of nine and ten o'clock fire was discovered breaking from a building on Main Street, owned by B.B. Manzer. The fire originated in a room occupied by E. M. Campbell, Photographer. The firemen were not long in reaching the scene and soon had the flames under control. Considerable damage was done; however, before the alarm was given. 
  6. ^ "The Dalling Cup". Press Newspaper. Woodstock, New Brunswick. Sep 18, 1905. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The Dalling cup, for the local golf championship, is a very handsome silver cup, engraved, and mounted on an ebony base. The dates for the matches are the first and second Fridays of September in each year. To be owner of the cup it must be won three years in succession. At the present writing the contest is on for ownership. This cup was offered by H V Dalling in 1900, and was won that year by Rev G D Ireland; in 1901 by B M Macleod; in 1902 by Hon W P Jones; in 1903 and 1904 by Clarence Sprague, who is at present leading Winnie Jones by four strokes. 
  7. ^ "Press Newspaper Feb 13, 1905". Press Newspaper. Feb 13, 1905. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The Dalling cup given for the championship of the hockey league is on exhibition at the jewelry store of H V Dalling. It is a gold-lined silver cup, resting on a suitable base. One [sic?] one side is engraved. "Presented to the winner of the Woodstock Hockey League, by H V Dalling, Winter of 1904 05." The other side is plain, but Mr. Dalling will engrave the winning team and names of players. 
  8. ^ "Gunner William Victor Dalling". Canadian Great War Project. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Thompson, Colleen Whitney (1994). Roads to Remember: The Insider's Guide to New Brunswick. p. 58. ISBN 0-86492-160-8. 
  10. ^ "First Telephone". Woodstock, New Brunswick. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The Bell Company opened a small exchange in Mr. Dalling's store, using a twenty line switchboard and Bell instruments, with the Woodstock innovator as agent and manager. 
  11. ^ "Newspaper & Documents write-ups about Carleton County People". Press Newspaper. Woodstock, New Brunswick. Aug 28, 1885. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The Telephone is now an accomplished fact. By means of this mysterious instrument and wire you can whisper from Upper Woodstock to Lower Corner. The wires from the different places of business all centre at H. V. Dalling's Jewelry Store, which is the Exchange Office. When any one who have the instruments wish to converse with each other they signal the Exchange Office. The attendant there by simple means connects the speaker with the party he wishes to address, and presto ! the talk can go on plainly and easily. To say that this means of communication is one of the wonders of the age is to put it midly [sic]. That the voice, at an ordinary tone, can be distinctly heard for miles by means of a wire is something so mysterious that few can appreciate the fact without themselves having actual cognizance of it.
    The wire of which there are about five miles in length, were strung and the instruments placed, under the supervision of S. Hoyt, St. John. J. H. Wagstaff is the manner of the Bell Telephone Company's business in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The following are the names of those having instruments connected with the Exchange in Woodstock at present [...]

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