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Powers Brothers was established by Frank Powers in 1874, at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Originally the business consisted of a small hardware store and a sheet metal shop; they specialized in tinsmithing, but soon branched out into plumbing. Frank's brother James T. Powers was an early partner in the firm, leaving the business in 1884 to start a hardware store in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
In 1904 Frank Powers' son Archibald F. ("Archie") Powers took over as President, and in 1906 Archie's brother William T. ("W.T.") joined as Secretary-Treasurer. By 1911, the year of Frank's death, the firm was thriving. With continued expansion, the company became incorporated in 1926. By the early 1960s, they had become one of the largest contractors in Nova Scotia and beyond, providing service in the fields of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, hardware, and marine supplies in the Atlantic Provinces and beyond. Their contracts included work on private residences, government buildings, schools, commercial properties, churches, and universities, etc.
Beginning with just a handful of men, the firm grew to have as many as 150 people on the payroll at any given time, with a typical average of 80-100. By 1953 many of the employees had been with the company 25 years and longer. In 1957 Archie Powers was rewarded for the work he has done in his associations by becoming the sole awardee of the simultaneous honours of Honourary Life Chairman of the Nova Scotia Branch and Life Member of the National Association of Master Plumbers and Heating Contractors of Canada, Inc. Frank Powers III and Jack Powers, sons of Frank Powers II, joined the company in 1938 and 1953 respectively, working through the ranks to become Vice-President and Director of the company as of 1957, and ultimately partners at the helm by 1976.
The company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1974, and at that time it was believed to be the oldest mechanical contracting firm in Canada. Powers Brothers closed permanently in September 1985.
Murphy and Wharton was a plumbing company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was acquired by Powers Brothers in 1978.