In 1882 William Hilborn purchased the American Plough Works in Ayr. The company made plough handles out of rock elm, a strong flexible wood that grows in southern Ontario.
Hilborn realized that the machinery used for making plough handles could easily be used to make hockey sticks and that rock elm would be an ideal wood on the rink.
Soon Hilborn was supplying hockey sticks to Spalding, C.C.M. and Eaton’s among others.