EARLY YEARS TO 1929
The Florsheim Shoe Company story began in Chicago in 1861 with the arrival of a Southern gentleman named Sigmund Florsheim from Macon, Georgia. He was a retailer, or turned to retailing, when he and his brothers opened a shoe store on Clark Street near Chicago Avenue.
Six years later, in 1867, he left the retail store in the hands of his brothers and joined Greensfelder, Rosenthal & Company, wholesalers. In 1872, he entered partnership with Isaac Greensfelder and Rudolph Rosenthal. The three also made boots and shoes -- though not many -- under the name of Greensfelder & Rosenthal.
The Florsheims had come north in force. Sigmund's father, one of the migration, died in 1875 and was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery. The brothers who remained in retail, August ("Gus") and one or more others, opened a second store on Madison Street between Dearborn and State streets, in the McVicker Theater building, in 1882.
Sigmund's company grew. In 1883 it hired a shoe and boot salesman to make the trek north to the Wisconsin and Minnesota lumber camps -- a major target area for them. Sigmund was only a junior partner but more than pulled his weight, family memory had it. Greensfelder, Rosenthal & Co. joined the "front rank" of the shoe business in those "olden days," a Florsheim company account recalled decades later, "largely through the early perseverance" of Sigmund.
The next generation of Florsheims entered the scene in the person of Sigmund's son Milton, born and raised a Chicagoan, unlike his father, but like him bred to the shoe business. In 1891, at age 23, Milton and his father went into "co-partnership" with Isaac Greensfelder and Nathan Greensfelder, apparently Isaac's son, in the same business the fathers had run -- making and wholesaling boots and shoes.
The name was Greensfelder, Florsheim Company. A torch was being passed, and at a good time. Chicago was in the running for a world's fair to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America. The city was preening itself in anticipation. Its shoe industry was taking stock.
"Should the city have a shoemaking college?" The Shoe and Leather Review asked. The city had "very few thoroughly trained artisans," and the writer was worried. Time was, a boy entered the factory and learned all there was to know about shoemaking. But at least in the bigger factories, where work was segmented, that was not the case. Assembly-line work produced shoes but not "well-rounded shoesmiths."
The industry also needed female stitchers at $12 to $18 a week.
With crises like these, shoes were a good business to be in. Besides, Florsheim was already a respected name in Chicago. Gus Florsheim's Florsheim Brothers store was doing nicely on State Street. Its catalog laid out "men's fine footwear at moderate prices," offering a mail-order option at 30 cents for men's shoes, 20 cents for men's slippers, 25 cents for boy's shoes or "youth's" shoes, and 10 cents extra if you used registered mail.
The shoes sold at $3, $5 or $7. The high range was the J.S. Turner's brand, "fine shoes" for which Florsheim Brothers were sole agents. Florsheim Brothers stock was "undoubtedly the most complete in this country."0
Then there were Herman and Moses Florsheim, with their H&M Florsheim shoe store on Clark Street.
And not in the shoe business at all, there were Simon Florsheim and his son Norman, with their Chicago Corset Company store, on Monroe Street. Simon, who lived at 3143 S. Michigan, the building where Milton's brother Felix Florsheim lived, was a corset inventor. He had emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1853 at age 16. He was also an insurance executive and had a machinery manufacturing business in Aurora, Illinois, west of Chicago.
Felix, Milton's brother, was to be in the shoe business with him. The Near South Side of Chicago had a regular Florsheim colony. Milton lived at 3356 South Park. With Felix at 3143 S. Michigan were Louis Florsheim and their father Sigmund. Simon lived there too, and Gus Florsheim lived at 3236 S. Wabash
The co-partnership of the Florsheims and the Greensfelders was short-lived. In the summer of 1892, the second year of doing business together, personal differences arose. The partnership was dissolved. Sigmund Florsheim took over the manufacturing end -- factory and equipment at 195-201 Canal Street -- and continued making shoes, now under the trade name Florsheim & Company. Isaac Greensfelder took over the store on Market St. and the wholesale shoe side.
This was in October, 1892, Oct. 10 to be exact. The Florsheim Shoe Company was born.
It started right off making 150 pairs a day on Canal Street -- "a good quality men's shoe," Milton's son Harold recalled later.0 In two years net profit reached $2,500, and the Florsheims -- Milton and his brother Felix -- celebrated.
That was the good news at the end of 1894. The bad was that Sigmund Florsheim, his health failing since the new company was formed, died late in that year. He was the founder but he shared the honors with his son Milton, who had run the business from the start. On Dec. 15, 1894, a new partnership was formed. Milton had 501 shares to 498 for Felix. A man named Otto Rhodes had one.
The issue of the moment was sales. Milton as the company's guiding genius was not going to get caught in a buyer's market. They were doing their own wholesaling, of course. Those 150 pairs a day were going into the market. The money was coming back. But sales were a problem. As early as 1895, by one account0, the company had opened its own retail store, in Indianapolis. The more commonly accepted date is 1904, with other cities also mentioned.
In any case, the go-to-market issue loomed big in these early years. One must keep in mind how things were in the 1890s. Much of the labor force was in farming. Selling in the small towns made a bigger difference. These rural "market towns" served as hubs, one might say shopping centers, for all within a day's journey by horse and buggy. Each had three or four general retail stores which stood behind and branded the goods they sold.
National brand names had nothing of the appeal we associate with them in the 1990s. It was the local brand name that sold, which was how the retailer wanted it. He wanted what he sold to bring customers back to him. His name went on the product. The shoemaker, baker or candlestick maker went along, branding products with retailers' names. The wholesaler went along. It was how you got ahead.
Enter the traveling salesman. He arrived by train, rented a buggy, and made the rounds. Having come so far, he wanted to make big sales at every stop. He wanted to sell all three or four general stores. His product with no name would become Jones's or Smith's or Brown's shoes or bread or candlesticks.
What's more, Jones and he would haggle over price. If Jones bought more, he expected to pay less per item. Quantity buying saved. This was worth it to the shoemaker, whose salesman offered volume discounts and threw a separate branding into the bargain! Thus the same shoe would be branded three ways for sale to three retailers in the same town.
It went against the grain with Milton Florsheim. He recoiled instinctively against condemnation to such a reactive position. This was no way to run a business, he decided. You didn't just sit there and wait for people to decide how much you would receive for your product. You went out and challenged the situation. It wasn't the principle; it was the money. Neither did you squander the benefits of making a superior product; if people didn't know it was your product, you lost out.
He decided there would be no more store names on his quality men's shoes. Instead, on the pullstrap and sole there would be his name, Florsheim. Let the retailer take pride where he willed, Florsheim Shoes would take pride in its product. The Florsheim name would announce quality.
You want quality, don't you? he was telling his customers. Then here it is. This name tells you so.
At almost the same time, he began to force the issue in another way, by advertising. In one of these, the Munsey's Magazine reader was told: "There is a Florsheim dealer ready to serve you. If you are unable to locate him, write us."
The ad whetted the appetite for shoe: it also prodded the retail customer to keep the company informed of untouched territory.
Other ads told the reader, "Look for the name 'Florsheim' woven in the strap and stamped in the sole of every shoe." Or "There is a Florsheim shoe . . . for every known form of foot." Florsheim shoes "feel good the moment you put them on."
These ads were for the retailer too, rebelling against the new Florsheim policy. He read the ads too. His customers perhaps brought them to him or at least asked if he had the Avon, which felt so good: "See? It says right here," the customer might say. "As soon as you put them on!"
This was new for the retailer, who was not used to being sold by his customer, which is what was happening here: Florsheim sold the customer through advertising, the customer sold the retailer. Or short-circuiting the process: the retailer saw the ads and anticipated the customer's request. Either way, Florsheim sold its shoes.
Sixty years later, marketing people called it forced distribution, but the rose smelled as sweet whatever the name. It paid to advertise.
The store of the day, where this exchange might have taken place, resembled the one offering "boots, shoes, and notions" on a street corner in Kewanee, Illinois in the 1890s, as explained decades later by the proprietor's son0 -- 30 feet wide by 125 feet deep, with a metal ceiling 15 feet high or more, covered with three-foot steel squares. From the center of every sixth square or so hung a long, green cord with a light socket and bulb at its end.
Out front were display windows 30 feet each way, one down one street, the other down another, each three feet deep at the most, seen through high windows. Windows spaces were trimmed by a storeowner's family member of supposed artistic abilities. Shoes were racked up for display on "iron maidens," or display racks.
In the rear of the store itself, boots and shoes rose "everywhere (in) boxes in white tiers." Ladders were pushed here and there by clerks. In the center were easy chairs for customers and stools for fitters.
Into such a store walked the Florsheim salesman. The owner was used to selling shoes with his label on them; now it would be the Florsheim brand.
He was used to "no holding of price," as Harold Florsheim explained decades later, "no standard for anything, catch as catch can." It changed for the Florsheim man. The magazine ads, the quality, the pricing all came together. Florsheim was the first "high-grade manufacturer" to brand his shoes, said Harold.
At first, however, the dealers did not like it, and production slipped from that 150 pairs a day. There were probably some white-knuckle months or years, while the advertising took hold and retailers learned that Florsheim quality was a known commodity. In due time it happened, of course; Florsheim became a household word.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Gus Florsheim, Milton's uncle the retailer, formed his Florsheim Shoe Company, which issued no stock and transacted no business. Gus was in other kinds of business now, or heading for it, including work as a "manufacturer's agent" at least by 1904. This 1897 incorporation is important because 11 years later, Milton's company took over the name, going from Florsheim & Company to (the present) Florsheim Shoe Company.
About this time Florsheim & Company took an ad in "Visit Chicago" -- a brochure produced by the "Shoe Mfrs. & Jobbers Association" -- as manufacturers of "men's fine shoes at 278-286 Madison Street. Chicago had 2 million people, according to the brochure; 187,000 square miles; 2,500 acres of public parks; 450 miles of street railway; 75 miles of boulevards; and more than 650 churches. Fifty-three railroad lines entered and left it. Its drainage canal was almost built connecting Lake Michigan ultimately with the Mississippi River at a cost of $30 million.
As a shoe center, Chicago carried "for the convenience of the retailer a greater variety of fine shoes in all sizes and narrow widths than any other market (had) the nerve and discretion to provide." Supplies were so readily available that the shoe retailer could "eliminate much of the risk of overloading in advance of the season," because he knew if he ran out, he could find it quickly in Chicago.0
This was Chicago for the shoe industry. Milton Florsheim's company was part of it, but a maverick part, remember. He had decided against continuously battling for "a price" with the dealers. Now he was waiting. Not long, however. In a year or so, "the rightness of (his) plan proved itself," as he said later.
He had known the "product was satisfactory" but also that his company was "unknown to the public," with "no brand or mark of identification, no way to create a demand or favorable reputation."
"If we made a good product, we wanted credit for it." Hence he declined to make any shoes without the Florsheim trademark, "heavily stamped in the sole and placed on the inside." Some dealers objected, "but that was our policy, and we have firmly adhered to it ever since."
By the turn of the century, any doubts were dispelled, apparently, when Florsheim & Company built itself a factory at 541 W. Adams Street, at Clinton Street, in 1900. It was very near its present factory, diagonally across the Clinton-Adams intersection. It was of mill construction, six stories. A seven-story brick addition was to be made in 1912, for a total of 227,000 square feet.
This was not a company in trouble. The average shoe factory of the day had 90 or so employees.0 This one must have had considerably more, considering its size. This was one of an astounding 16,000 shoe factories in the country.
Entering the new century, the company had a new factory and, more important, a philosophy: make and brand-name quality men's shoes, sell at a fixed price, and advertise. In the century's first few years, it added a fourth item to its credo: where you don't have distribution and can't get it, open your own store. At least in Chicago, the record of the first company-owned store is easy to read: it was in 1904 in Chicago's downtown, "loop" area.
It wasn't the first. That was in Dallas, or Louisville or Salt Lake City, or Indianapolis in 1895. Such matters get lost in the shuffle of history. The point is, distribution in the larger cities was not always easy; so the company began to open retail units where distribution was not good enough. Care was taken not to compete with the primary distributors, the independent dealers who were wholesale customers.
In any event, a store appeared in the Chicago city directory in 1904 at 75 Jackson (later 18 W. Jackson), in the Brand Building, just east of the Majestic hotel, beyond which lay the Great Northern Hotel, the Post Office, and the U.S. court house -- all in sequence moving west. Across the street and also to the west were the much acclaimed Monadnock building and the Union League Club. All made for a top-flight location indeed.
The store had location. It also had a manager a year for several years, apparently in a series of shakedown cruises for this maiden Chicago effort.
Meanwhile, a Harper's magazine ad offered $5 or $6 shoes, "logical prices for distinctive style, finest leathers, and the best of workmanship," in 1907.
But in a class by itself for Florsheim was The Saturday Evening Post, which carried Florsheim ads from its first issue in 1907 to its last as a weekly, in 1969. In 1909 it announced a $12 shoe made with the "ped-pli" manufacturing process, in 1911 a $6 shoe, in 1913 shoes from $5 to $7 in 200 styles. "Look for the Florsheim sign," said the ad. "You'll find a live dealer ready to show you correct styles to fit your feet."
Ah yes, the sign. That Florsheim sign became a mark of distinction, something the wholesaler offered as enticement to the retailer. It was to become the Schlitz or Budweiser of the shoe industry -- quality, affordable, top of the line its class. "Try them on at the Florsheim agency," another Post ad told readers. It was simple. Look for the sign, try them on. This was national advertising with local appeal. It was a way to solve any man's distribution problem. It was something a dealer could buy into.
By 1910, about when these ads ran, Florsheim was operating in a different environment, in which more people worked in fewer shoe factories. There were now 138 workers per non-rubber shoemaking establishment, now down to 1,343 establishments in all. The industry was consolidating.0 The Florsheim retail presence in Chicago was still that Jackson Street store, where the soon to be trademarked "Florsheim Shoe" was available in $5 or $7 models, according to the Cosmopolitan magazine ad.
Wholesaling grew and grew. By 1916 fourteen Florsheim salesmen covered the entire United States. One man covered Texas, another Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Two covered the West Coast border to border. Among their customers was a "firm of ranchers" who owned all of central Washington, or so it seemed to Oswald M. Pick, who joined the company that year at the age of 16.0
Another who joined the company in 1916 was Harold Florsheim, Milton's younger son, doing "everything and anything that was needed," he recalled later.0 This included a year in the factory, office work in the summer time, and eventually going "on the road" with bags full of samples.
Samples were crucial, but by 1917 the salesman also had the "Stock Dept. Styles" booklet showing "a few of the 250 lasts and leathers from our made-to-order line." For ready-made and made-to-order, "the same standard quality" was guaranteed. Prices were up -- to a range of $5.10 to $6.25 wholesale -- because of the war in Europe. But quality remained unchanged, the booklet promised.
The company was "unusually busy," so dealers might have to be satisfied with stock shoes, not made to order. But "higher grades of men's shoes are selling better every day," the dealers were told, "and the prestige of the Florsheim shoe will help increase your sales.
The Florsheim shoe in 1917 took dozens of shapes and
colors. There was the all-nut-brown "Russia calf(skin) Imperial quality bal with a "Gothic" last, perforated tip, blind eyelets to the top (laced), a "plump" single sole, and pegged heels retailing for $6.25. "Imperial is the best quality," the dealers were told, if they didn't already believe it.
There were pointed-toe shoes, of mahogany Russia calf, "Glide" last, pin head perforated tip, extra heavy single sole, and backed tongue. This too was a laced shoe. "We stock styles with 'pep,' the kind that sell easily."
There were shoes with raised arches and heels up to an inch and a quarter high, "a stylish kid shoe" with single sole and one-inch heel, the "Rajah" with all rajah calf of "cordo" (dark) shade and with a "streamline" last.
And (revolution!) there were rounded toes with inch and a quarter heels, and high toes which gave lots of room to move that big toe around. "You can sell Florsheim high toes when you cannot sell others," the dealer was assured.
The Florsheim "freak" toe shoe was "the best flexible high grade shoe made." It was shaped like a foot, longest on the inside and tapering back sharply to the little toe.
Cushion soles with leather insole and cork filler, had the "banker" last, which was of "nature shape." Sales were increasing daily. Every wearer became an "enthusiast." It was the best "high-grade 'kushen' sole shoe made."
The "bone setter" with flexible shank was "a practical and flexible arch-supporting shoe."
A dress shoe with patent colt vamp (upper front), black "corkscrew" cloth top, plain box toe (another kind), raised arch, light bevel-edge sole, and inch and one-eighth heel. Indeed, the lowest heel mentioned was an inch high. Men's shoes provided an elevating experience in those days.
Finally, Florsheim offered a "scientifically constructed" golf shoe with tan uppers, overweight single outer sole, and caulked sole and heel, "pronounced the best shoe of its kind by expert players."0
With the booklet the prospective dealer was asked to consider "the powerful influence" of advertising on the purchaser of fine men's shoes. "Whatever a man buys," the dealer was told, "his selection is governed by what he has read or heard." He asked for it by name, knowing that "merchandise of recognized reputation (offered) the best value and the protection of a quality trademark."
What was advertised, "known in name and merit," drew on established good will and "constant demand."
The Florsheim shoe was "known everywhere," was advertised "continually," had an established reputation. Its name was "a pledge of quality," a guarantee of satisfaction, "the link that holds trade." (The italics are not added here.)
The company offered direct service too, as in providing "advertising assistance in connecting (the dealer's) store with the results of our national publicity."
Florsheim wanted an "agency in your city," the letter went. It was prepared to supply window signs, "cards and tickets of unusual beauty," a "gold-leaf trade-mark for your window." It would "mail out booklets and letters for you and furnish posters . . . electric signs, fence signs, and blotters."
It would also provide "newspaper copy of a high standard, plates and shoe cuts, picture slides and animated moving picture films." It would help the dealer get "special signs for the base of (his) windows, valance for the tops of windows, and any materials, window fixtures, forms, etc." that he might want.
"In short," the letter continued, "our advertising department renders a service all your own and in keeping with the quality of merchandise we produce."
"Write us today," the merchant was urged. "Our salesman may be in your vicinity now."
Signed, "The Florsheim Shoe Co., Chicago, U.S.A."
There was more. A personalized letter was also sent in February, 1917, asking the merchant to become "one of 200 additional Florsheim agencies" being added because of a "thirty percent addition to our factory." What was offered was "sale-building help" handling Florsheim shoes, "the one popular line known everywhere -- the strongest men's fine shoe proposition for your store." Florsheim "will quickly become your leading line -- you will obtain the men's trade of your city."
"National advertising has created . . . the remarkable demand for Florsheims. It is influencing the trade in your own community, educating more men to wear better shoes, the men you want to sell.
"Our salesman will not visit every town. Notify us that you are interested, and we will stop and show you samples."0
War was upon the world. Irving Florsheim left for the Navy as an officer, his brother Harold as a seaman. When they returned, a somewhat different market greeted them and the company.
Styles were changing, with a move away from high shoes and pointed toes to a more comfortable wide toe such as soldiers had worn. It was the day of the wider last. Florsheim was adjusting, as it would time and again in decades to come.
Florsheim began to be accepted as a leader in its field, beginning an ascension that culminated in the 1930s, Harold later recalled.0 Volume picked up considerably in the 1920s. It helped being based in Chicago, which was something of a shoe capital.
The city had 25 shoe factories in 1920, producing between 100 and 7,500 pairs a day. It was a $50 million annual business. Shoes were being shipped all over the world. Half the U.S. population lived "within a night's ride" of Chicago. A train was leaving or arriving every minute on one of 47 railroads. Chicago itself was spending $50 million on shoes on the retail market.0
The city had recently hosted a national shoe exposition. There was talk, never realized, of a footwear building along lines of the merchandise or furniture marts, where shoe, leather, and footwear firms might have offices and showrooms.
It was a heady time. Florsheim built a second factory, at 3927 W. Belmont Avenue, on the city's Northwest Side. This was the "Belmont factory," as the company called it, a mill-constructed building of four stories and 73,000 square feet.
Shoemaking, once a one-man, one-shoe operation, by now was a process involving 100 or even 200 people per pair in up to 170 machine operations. In 1923 Florsheim's 2,300 employees were producing 8,000 pairs a day. That's when it bought space for a third factory, just west of the other one on Belmont. This was to be the six-story "Harding" men's shoe factory, consisting of two manufacturing units, three floors each, one known as Harding and the other Crawford.
This building, much bigger than the Belmont factory, extended from Harding Avenue immediately to the west of the other. It had a Crawford Avenue extension (to the south) known as the Logan factory, which was two floors for making sole leather and one floor as a leather cutting room. During the Korean War, this Logan factory produced combat boots to a total of 150,000.
Back in the '20s, the newly acquired Harding building was expected to raise production to 11,000 or 12,000 pairs a day -- more than other makers of high-priced men's shoes combined, the company told the Chicago Tribune.0
Florsheim shoes were retailing at $10. Advertising was an ongoing thing, of course. Harold was in on this end of it, rather than manufacturing, where his older brother Irving found his role. Their father Milton was still in charge of matters overall, as he would remain until his death.
Magazines remained the prime national medium. An American Magazine ad presented Florsheim shoes as "among the finer things of life." Literary Digest announced "a Florsheim shoe to fit every foot, a snug fit not obtainable in ordinary shoes." American Legion Monthly said, "Florsheim shoes dress your feet better for less."
There was radio too. The first regular programs in the U.S. came out of station KDKA in Pittsburgh in 1921. Florsheim went on the air, sponsoring a half-hour band program featuring the likes of Guy Lombardo and Coon Sanders.0
Company-owned stores got special attention. In 1922 Harold and his father went off to New York City to look a location over on 42nd Street near Broadway. It was all of 10.5 feet wide and 30 feet deep -- not big enough to handle the inventory, so they put it "up in the building" somewhere. The store did very well. So the company opened another on Broadway itself, then another on Wall Street. Competition was "severe," but the company-owned stores did well. More were opened, one in Brooklyn, another in Jersey City, another in Philadelphia, where "we had a tough time," Harold recalled. None of it was automatic. You had to hustle.
But what a time to do it. Facing the 1920s with its newly renewed Florsheim "shield" trademark and newly reorganized and incorporated, in 1922, the company looked into the heart of these boom years and liked what it saw.
It began recording profits which never dropped below $2.2 million and reached as high as $2.6 million, 1923 to 1929. Milton wrote on "Planning for the business you are going to have" for a Chicago business monthly called System.0 The Harding factory opened in 1926, at 3961 W. Belmont.
It won an award for being built in accord with labor-relations principles set forth by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, before he was attending to baseball matters as the major leagues' first commissioner. Kickbacks to corrupt union officials had apparently been the order of the day in Chicago. Landis declared how it ought to be, and a citizens' committee set itself up to encourage following the Landis principles. Florsheim did so in building the Harding factory, and it was honored for it. Other Chicago buildings which received the Landis award included Williamson Candy and Continental Can company factories.
Also in 1926, Florsheim sold the nation's first square-toed shoe, which was immediately accepted, recalled Harold Florsheim. "Most of our big business was in our square toes," he said.0
In 1928 the company went public with 35% of its stock, listing it on the New York Stock Exchange. Florsheim was the nation's largest manufacturer of "men's fine shoes of the better grade," having grown to its present size "entirely through the reinvestment of earnings," Milton told the underwriter, Lehman Brothers, in New York City.
It made shoes and sold to dealers, but also sold to "companies controlled by it which (sold) direct to the consumer through retail stores." Plant capacity had reached 11,000 to 12,000 pairs daily.
Milton told of the "slight sacrifice of sales" involved in the early decision to produce none but Florsheim-branded shoes, adding that the policy had proven "of great value in assuring the future of the business." To this end "consistent and generous use of advertising" had contributed its share.
The company's "three large factories in Chicago" were producing "a far larger quantity of men's shoes of the better grade than the plants of any other company in the country."
There were more than 50 company-operated retail units in "principal cities of the U.S." There was a Florsheim dealer or Florsheim store "or both, in practically every large and important city and town in the country," Milton Florsheim wrote.
In addition, Florsheim had "substantial export trade" with Central and South America, Cuba, "the Orient," Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Since the end of World War I, foreign sales had grown "consistently." They offered "a fertile field for increased volume."0
Prosperity shone in the wake of the public offering. In September, 1928, Milton bought the seven-acre former Montgomery Ward lakefront estate in Highland Park for the family summer home.0
This was 13 months before "black Friday," when the stock market crashed, sending the world into economic crisis. The newly public Florsheim company issued its first full-year annual report three days later, happily reporting among other good news, that it had 71 "subsidiary companies (company-operated stores), distinct units, in splendid condition, without indebtedness of any kind except to the parent company," up 21 from 18 months earlier.
This had been the company's best year yet, Milton announced, with net profit of over $2.622 million. The company had $4.6 million in hand in cash and securities; its debts were a paltry $141,000. On top of that, "orders were coming in nicely," he told the Tribune, "and we are looking at the future with considerable confidence."0
(End of Chap. 1)