Tag Archives: Robin Metcalfe

Toilet Door Pride

The next time you see metal toilet doors like the ones below, please keep in mind that Bruce Traviss and I used to put doors like these together, and we were good.

We were good and we were fast, and there were certain ways of doing things. Those things didn’t just assemble themselves you know.

We made those doors at an Orillia factory called Porcelain and Metal, and sometimes it was almost hard work.

But I wanted the best doors for you, because you were worth it. If you were alive then.

Hopefully modern day toilet door people show the same pride.

I was also motivated, because I was saving to go to England where I hoped to get a job making sure all the Beatles wives except Yoko were comfortable while the boys were in the studio.

What goes into toilet door making?

As the various parts of the doors came down the assembly line from the paint room, Bruce and I would spray the insides with black glue, attach a bunch of cardboard strips, fit the fittings, put it all together, and send it on its way. Then we’d do another and then another and then a whole bunch more.

We were so good at it that we had our night’s quota finished after a few hours and were able to smoke a lot and catch mice in barrels for the rest of our shift.

We always let the mice go of course. We liked the cute little bastards. I still like them and I hope Bruce does too.

I did this job for a year or so, saved my money, and in November of 1968 took the Empress of England ocean liner to England with another friend, Robin Metcalfe, where we stayed for much of the winter and spent my washroom door money on beer, fish and chips, rent, and a cool John Mayall show in a dingy club called Klook’s Kleek.

Hopefully the next time you feel like kicking a metal washroom door or writing terrible and sometimes funny things on it, please keep in mind that somebody out there worked hard putting your door together so you’ll have a comfortable and private stay as you empty your innards.

Always remember – buried inside those metal doors are a bunch of cardboard strips and a lot of black glue, which you can ponder as you sit.

And if the lock doesn’t work, it’s probably not the door assembler’s fault. Although it could be I guess, if the assembler isn’t as good as Bruce and I were.

Below, the Empress of England that Robin and I sailed on to England. My ticket was bought thanks to the doors.

Toilet Door Guy

Above is a photo of Robin Metcalfe and I when we sailed to England on the Empress of England in November of 1968. (that’s me on the left, in the lighter jacket. I had just turned 18). It was a great trip and all that, we spent a good part of the winter there, but equally important is the fact that I worked for a year in a factory in Orillia assembling toilet doors with my old buddy Bruce Traviss, saving enough money for this trip.

Today, I’d like to explain how to assemble a toilet door.

These are the metal types, like below, which you’ve opened and closed all your life, and sometimes wrote graffiti on. We worked from 5 pm to 3 am, and we started by setting up one side of the door and spraying black glue all over the place. Then we stuck thick cardboard strips in it, put the other side on, inserted metal pieces along the sides to hold it all together, then sent it on a line to the paint room and started again. The quota was easily met every night and we had enough time to catch mice in a barrel, watch them run around for awhile, then let them go and assemble more doors. The job paid about $2.50 an hour and before I knew it, I had enough money for the trip to England!

Now every time you open or close a metal toilet door, you’ll know that inside is black glue and thick strips of cardboard. You’re welcome.