History of the Simmons Hardware Company
By A.E. Dann
Mr. Saunders Norvell’s Experiences (abridged). p. 158-180
Mr. Saunders Norvell, who entered the employ of Simmons Hardware Company in 1881, and worked up from the bottom to Vice-President of the Company, contributes the following interesting and instructive article to this history. The write-up speaks for itself, and contains a good deal of material for thought and reflection. Mr. Norvell resigned his position with Simmons Hardware Company in 1901 to connect himself with the A. F. Shapleigh Hdw. Co., of which Company he became President, and the name was then changed to Norvell-Shapleigh Hdw. Co. Mr. Norvell continued with said Company until 1911, and after his retirement they changed the name to Shapleigh Hardware Co. After traveling in Europe for a year or two, Mr. Norvell formed a connection with McKesson & Robbins, manufacturing chemists of New York City, of which Company his official title is Chairman of the Board.
The writer feels constrained to add that Mr. Norvell’s experience illustrates that there is always an opening and a place higher up for the right man, provided he is capable and had the energy and determination to win out. Mr. Norvell’s case is but one of many whose services with the Company were rewarded on merit.
“I have been asked to write a chapter covering the twenty years, from 1881 to 1901, that I was Simmons Hardware Company. I am advised that this history is mainly for the benefit of the oncoming generation in the business and is to give this generation an idea of the times and the men who were active in the early days in building up this great business. At odd times since this request was made of me, I have wondered just how I would write my chapter. The period referred to not only covers the early days of the business, but it also spans a very large part of my own youth. The editor of this book writes me, in reply to an inquiry, that he wants me to make my chapter a very personal one, so my dear “future generation” when you read these lines, if I am too personal and if I use the pronoun “I” too frequently, blame the editor because I am simply trying to follow instructions.
When I look back at those early days of
youth and opportunity and when I think of the older men under whom I worked,
I feel like starting this story like a fairy tale – something like
this: “Now in those days there were giants and the world was undiscovered
and full of romance” – because that is just the sensation
I have when I think of those times.