Highlights that contributed to Giant's success


Giant Electric's founders: Mr. Lucien Lesage (3rd) and Mr. Jean Lesage (6th) (left to right).
   
1944
Lucien Lesage and his brother Jean teamed up and founded an electric iron repair shop in the basement of their home. Upon a friend's recommendation, they decide that there would be an advantage to build appliances instead of simply repairing them.


1945
The company moved from Ste. Catherine Street into a roofless building (we only work when weather allows). The Giant Electric Manufacturing Co. is then created. It is relatively modest at first, but willing, courage, inventiveness and tenacity of the two founders all go some way towards remedying the lack of financial means.


A roof is assembled on pillars in 1946


1947
Two new products are added: a toaster as well as heating plates. The company is experiencing growth and Mr. Lucien Lesage, who appears to be an ingenious man, works to develop products and improve production methods. The number of employees grows rapidly and Lucien Lesage is totally committed to offer a high quality product. He discusses, examines and puts in long hours.



Pictures taken in 1948


Giant products Trade Show at Atwater Market in 1949.


1950
Giant also produces heating elements and assembles water heaters. Lucien Lesage is convinced he found the product that shall become the cornerstone of his company's growth.



1957
The launch of Cascade 40-gallon and 60-gallon water heaters contributes to the success of the company.



1965
While the company seemed to have reached its apogee, Claude Lesage, who is an engineer as well as Lucien's only son, comes to give a fresh impetus to the company and allows looking at limitless opportunities.


1967
Claude acquired the company from his father and his uncle. Production becomes his primary responsibility. Lucien continued on as treasurer and president.


1969
Giant acquires the Westinghouse Company, in Hamilton, Ontario. It consists of a tubular element production line dating from 1950. Such equipment is moved to the Montreal-East factory. Thanks to the hard work of its workers, Giant becomes the Canadian leader in the commercialization of immersion heating elements.


1970
Once the basic technique is acquired, Giant invests in the purchase of modern production equipment and ultimately becomes the largest manufacturer of immersion heating elements in Canada.



1973
The installation of a firing kiln allows vitrifying inner tanks, extending thus the lifespan of water heaters.



1975
Over the years, Giant becomes the sole manufacturing factory of reservoirs for glass-lined tanks in Quebec. It's a modern factory that can produce up to 400 units in 8 hours.



1982
In November, a fire ravaged the manufacturing factory. The roof as well as the two third of the factory burned to the ground. Many thought of the worst outcome, i.e. Giant would shut down or reopen only a year later. Also, they didn't take into account that workers, foremen, secretaries and contractors would provide ongoing efforts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Miraculously and against all odds, the company was restored and returned to safe operation only two weeks after the disaster: 15,000 square feet of building were restored, based on drawings, and the machinery was refurbished. This is a remarkable achievement!



1984
Giant launches a production line of high-quality residential water heaters that operate with natural gas or propane and significantly improves its production capacity. In order to draw attention to the fact that Giant is not only an electrical product manufacturer anymore and that it added a new line of water heaters, the corporate name became that year: Usines Giant inc. / Giant Factories Inc.



1986
S.R.I., a wholly subsidiary of Giant, produces a complete array of commercial electrical water heaters.



1987


Giant Factories Inc. installs it very first robot in order to support its employees through certain time-consuming tasks and to improve the production capacity as well as quality. More robots will also be installed shortly in order to achieve new production goals, i.e. manufacturing very high-quality Canadian tanks.


1988


A division of components is created and, thanks to the up-to-date equipment, they can proceed with the development of a production line for immersion heating elements as well as numerous component parts required to manufacture water heaters. Those component parts were previously bought from external suppliers.


1993


A high-quality commercial gas-fired water heater with unique features is launched on the market.


1994


Our tremendous efficiency, thanks to the use of numerous robots along the production chain since 1987, led us to take a mandatory decision, i.e. to implement the immediate automation of our production facilities in order to constantly increase the quality, reduce the manufacturing process time lag as well as remarkably improve our industrial capacity. Our custom-made machinery entirely engineered and manufactured on-site, combined with robotics, enabled us to experience economic growth.


1995


Giant Factories Inc. celebrates 50 years of operation and remains fully committed in the industry, with the same core values that led to its success, namely: integrity, reliability, consistency as well as premium quality of products.

One thing remains unchanged at Giant Factories Inc. is the will to manufacture high efficiency products that are eco-friendly and built to last longer.


1997


Two major events underline that particular year at Giant Factories Inc.: first of all, we received the ISO 9002 1994 certification and, secondly, we proceeded with the introduction of the GREENFOAM® insulation in our water heaters.

Giant experienced a notable step forward, thanks to the newest technologies, to protect the environment. Our company is the very first international manufacturer that provided their customers with eco-friendly water heaters with GREENFOAM® water blown insulation. Such unique insulation product is free from CFCs, HCFCs or VOCs. Furthermore, the GREENFOAM® insulation is entirely recyclable and considered by many environmentalists as a giant step towards the protection of the ozone layer and the climate change preservation. Once again, Giant is at the forefront regarding its responsibility as a global citizen for a better environment.


1998


residential oil-fired water heater is a new addition to our already impressive range of water heaters. Like the previous ones, this water heater has unique features that make it a highly energy-efficient product.


1999


Giant Factories introduces to the market residential gas-fired power vent water heaters that are available in three different sizes. That initiative was also a great success.


2000


gas-fired power direct vent water heater, also offered in three different sizes. This model achieved instant success thanks to its unique feature named ''WIND TAMER'' allowing the pilot to remain lit, while resisting winds up to 100 km.


2001


commercial gas-fired power vent water heaters (with flue damper), that also own outstanding features, allowed us to provide the market with a product that is ''BUILT TO LAST LONGER''.


2002


gas-fired power vent and atmospheric water heater with a capacity of 75,000 BTUs. Our ever-growing high quality product range hints at a bright future.


2003


This is the debut of the robot era in the factory, i.e. the very first robot is installed in order to meet the particular needs of the 1,000-pound press.


2004


Following the changes in North American standards, all gas-fired water heaters undergo a transformation. Giant took part to the elaboration of the technologies to be used in collaboration with its three international competitors. Such project has been overseen by American and Canadian governments, under the FVIR CONSORTIUM nomenclature.


2005


Robotics becomes a priority in order to retain jobs in Montreal-East. Such major project will end by 2012 and aims for the Montreal-East factory to become one of the highest performing companies in the world.


2007


point-of-use water heaters (2.5 gallons). You can see the pride of Mr. Lesage (see picture) that came to the office with the very first copy.

In March of that year, Giant is introducing models that are specifically manufactured for plumbing professionals: the Expert Plus 8 product line. Available in two sizes, 40 and 60 gallons, this model surpasses the best qualities of standard water heaters and is sold exclusively to plumbers for resale purposes. The 30-gallon format will be launched a few years later.


2008


direct vent water heater with a 3-inch vent pipe. Such gas-fired water heater allows installation without any conventional chimney, with a 3-inch wide and up to 60-feet long ABS vent pipe.

The factory robotization continues and now 20 % of the factory is robotized..


2009


Since June 2009, the Expert Plus 8 models are manufactured with screw-in elements and the new bottom entry model will be introduced as of December.

From now on, 40 % of the factory is robotized. Furthermore, we work hard to retain the largest number of jobs in our Montreal-East factories.


2010


ECOPEAK model with 3 heating elements. This is a major revolution in the field of electrical water heaters since Giant Factories Inc. is the first company in the world to manufacture a water heater aiming to use electricity more wisely. Indeed, with the collaboration of Hydro-Québec, the same as in 1957 with the Cascade models, we elaborated and developed an electrical water heater that uses only 800 Watts of electricity during a low-scale request for hot water. During a large-scale request, the consumption will revert to normal speed, i.e. 3,800 Watts. The Cascade 60 gallon and Super Cascade models are the ones that have been upgraded.

Furthermore, robotization now represents 80 % of the production in the factory. The same number of jobs is secured in order to ensure quality control.


2011



We also launch the atmospheric water heater with flue damper. This model shuts its draft hood assembly when the water heater is not in use and considerably reduces heat loss. Thanks to this new technology, this water heater can qualify as an Energy Star model as well.


2012


Since January 2012, the duration of the gas-fired water heater extended warranty against water leakage is 8 years from the date of installation, when installed by a certified professional. A 6-year extended warranty is offered on component parts.

In April 2012, we modify the gas-fired power direct vent water heater with 3-inch vent pipe to one with a 2-inch pipe, which is less expensive to install. This model is Energy Star qualified and allows for installation without conventional chimney with a 2-inch wide and up to 60-feet long vent pipe.

The company introduces a new commercial high efficiency gas-fired model. This model is available in three sizes: 46, 66 and 100 imperial gallons and from 100,000 to 199,000 BTUs. These models offer a performance between 94.8 to 96.1%, are Energy Star qualified and covered under a 7-year warranty on inner tank and 1-year on component parts. When operated in a commercial environment, there is a 3-year warranty on the inner tank and 1-year warranty on component parts.

New storage tanks were also introduced in 2012. These models have a capacity of 66 and 100 imperial gallons, with 2-inch input & output. They are insulated with 2 inches of Greenfoam or non-insulated, with a Commercial Grade Red Oxide Primer. These models come with a 5-year warranty. In November of that year, we surpassed our monthly sales record.


2013


In order to respond to the increasing expansion of the company, we hired new office employees and new offices were inaugurated in January of that year. Twenty-four (24) new workplaces have been added on top of the existing ones, as well as a training room (20 seats) and several conference rooms. Some of the old workplaces will be altered to meet further needs.

We launched new commercial electrical models that can be converted on job sites. They come in 3 sizes: 46, 66 and 100 imperial gallons and with a power between 6 kW and 63 kW to a standard voltage 208V, 240V and 480V (1 or 3 phases), and 600V (3 phases) with 1.5-inch input or output. They have a 3-year warranty on inner tank and a 1-year warranty on component parts.

We will also introduce four new tankless water heaters that will operate with natural gas or propane gas. With a performance between 28.4 and 37.1 litres per minute, efficiency between 82 and 96 %, an Energy Star qualification, they will also help you recover some storage space. Furthermore, they come with a 12-year warranty on heat exchanger and a 5-year warranty on component parts. When these water heaters operate in a commercial environment, they come with a 5-year warranty of heat exchanger as well as a 5-year warranty on component parts.
 


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