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Candee, Leverett (1795-1863), rubber manufacturer  

Edward L. Lach, Jr.

Candee, Leverett (01 June 1795–27 November 1863), rubber manufacturer, was born in Oxford, Connecticut, the son of Job Candee, a politician, and Sarah Benham. His father, locally prominent, was a revolutionary war veteran who later served as a captain in the militia and as a member of the state legislature. After receiving a meager education in the local district schools, in 1810 Candee relocated to New Haven, Connecticut, where he found employment with Captain Gad Peck, a leading merchant in the import-export trade. He then entered the dry goods trade—a profession that he would follow for the next twenty-five years—with the firm of Root & Atwater. Candee afterwards entered into a series of short-lived partnerships—in the fashion of the day—the first of which was the firm of Candee, Dean & Cutler, which he formed with clerical co-workers William Cutler and James E. P. Dean....


Chisholm, Hugh Joseph (1847-1912), capitalist  

Charles W. Carey Jr.

Chisholm, Hugh Joseph (02 May 1847–08 July 1912), capitalist, was born in Chippawa, Ontario, Canada, the son of Alexander Chisholm and Mary Margaret Phelan. His father died when he was thirteen, causing him to go to work for the Grand Trunk Railroad as a newsboy on the passenger train that ran between Toronto and Detroit. Three years later, having completed the night school course at a Toronto business college, he and a brother acquired the rights to sell newspapers aboard all Grand Trunk trains running between Chicago, Illinois, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, as well as on board most of the steamboats that plied the St. Lawrence River. In 1867 the two brothers established Chisholm Brothers, a publishing company that produced the first railroad and tourist guides and souvenir brochures. In 1872 Chisholm exchanged his interest in the partnership’s Canadian operations for his brother’s rights to its New England business and moved to Portland, Maine....


Colt, Samuel Pomeroy (1852-1921), financier and industrialist  

Andrew J. F. Morris

Colt, Samuel Pomeroy (10 January 1852–13 August 1921), financier and industrialist, was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Christopher Colt, a silk merchant, and Theodora DeWolf. Colt’s father died when the boy was very young. Colt then spent his early years at the Hartford, Connecticut home of his uncle, ...


Crocker, Alvah (1801-1874), manufacturer, railroad promoter, and congressman  

Samuel Willard Crompton

Crocker, Alvah (14 October 1801–26 December 1874), manufacturer, railroad promoter, and congressman, was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Crocker and Comfort Jones. His parents were among the founders of the Baptist church in Leominster, and they imparted a strong work ethic to their seven sons, of whom Alvah was the eldest. He went to work at the age of eight in a Leominster paper mill, where he earned twenty-five cents for each twelve-hour day. He received little formal education (one year at Groton Academy at age sixteen), but he read widely on his own, and his letters displayed a bent toward literature and rhetoric. He subsequently worked in other paper mills in Franklin, New Hampshire, and Fitchburg, Massachusetts, before he started his first industrial concern, a paper manufactory in Fitchburg in 1826....


Davis, Francis Breese, Jr. (1883-1962), business executive  

Michael French

Davis, Francis Breese, Jr. (16 September 1883–22 December 1962), business executive, was born in Fort Edward, New York, the son of Francis Breese Davis and Ella Underwood, farmers. He graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale, in 1906 and in 1913 married Jean Reybold; the couple had one child....


Dennison, Henry Sturgis (1877-1952), manufacturer and social reformer  

Daniel Nelson

Dennison, Henry Sturgis (04 March 1877–29 February 1952), manufacturer and social reformer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Henry B. Dennison, a manufacturer, and Emma J. Stanley. Educated at Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University, Dennison joined his family’s paper products company after his graduation from Harvard in 1899 and quickly demonstrated the combination of business ability and social activism that would make him one of the best-known executives of the twentieth century. As works manager after 1906 and as president after 1917, Dennison contributed substantially to the growth of Dennison Manufacturing. Under his stewardship the company embraced systematic organization and modern management and became a leading manufacturer of jewelers’ boxes, crepe paper, tags, and labels. Most of all, it became a private social laboratory where Dennison applied his theories of industrial and social reform....


Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (1842-1909), soldier, businessman, and military historian  

Arden Bucholz

Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (28 May 1842–25 October 1909), soldier, businessman, and military historian, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Shattswell Dodge, a wealthy writer and a U.S. War Department official, and Emily Pomeroy. His great-grandfather fought at Bunker Hill. When Theodore was eight years old, his father was appointed American commissioner to the London Exhibition, and the family moved to Europe. Theodore was sent to school at the College des Josephites in Tirelmont, Belgium, and was tutored in Berlin. There he lived with the family of retired Prussian general Gebhardt von Froerich, attended the Friedrich Werderschen Gymnasium, and absorbed the Prussian work ethos, including dedication to the profession of arms and commitment to the importance of ideas in war. He graduated from the University of London in 1861....


Firestone, Harvey Samuel (1868-1938), founder and chief executive of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company  

Michael French

Firestone, Harvey Samuel (20 December 1868–07 February 1938), founder and chief executive of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, the son of Benjamin Firestone and Catherine Flickinger, farmers. Firestone attended Columbiana High School and the Spencerian Business College, Cleveland. After briefly working as a bookkeeper and a patent medicine salesman, Firestone joined the Columbus Buggy Company, which was owned by his uncle Clinton. In 1895 he married Idabelle Smith of Jackson, Michigan; the couple had six children. A year later Columbus Buggy went bankrupt, and Firestone moved into mounting solid tires on carriage wheels. The business expanded but in 1898 was absorbed into the Consolidated Rubber Tire Company, the leading carriage tire producer because of its possession of the Grant patent, which covered the most effective method of attaching tires to wheel rims—the use of wires embedded within the tire. Firestone received $42,000 and remained as a manager until 1900, when he joined Whitman and Barnes, an Akron engineering firm, as manager of the tire department....


Cover Firestone, Harvey Samuel (1868-1938)
Harvey S. Firestone Photograph by Pirie MacDonald, 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103923).


Fitler, Edwin Henry (1825-1896), cordage manufacturer  

Fred Carstensen

Fitler, Edwin Henry (02 December 1825–31 May 1896), cordage manufacturer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Fitler, a successful tanner and leather merchant, and Elizabeth Wonderly. His father provided very well for his family, including giving his son a fine academic education. Fitler planned to make law his profession and thus arranged to enter the office of Charles E. Lex. He studied with Lex four years but found he had no sustaining interest in the law; he was deeply interested in mechanics and engineering. However, he evidently learned enough about law that in his distinguished business career of more than forty-five years he was never involved in litigation. To pursue his true passion, in 1846, at age twenty-one, Fitler went to work for his brother-in-law, George J. Weaver, who managed a well-established cordage firm (Weaver’s father had founded the firm in 1816). The firm already had two factories, one for manila and tarred ropes, the other for fine yarns and jute, with a combined annual capacity of 4.5 million pounds. This offered Fitler ample opportunity to engage his interests....


Flint, Charles Ranlett (24 January 1850–12 February 1934), merchant and company promoter  

Michael French

Flint, Charles Ranlett (24 January 1850–12 February 1934), merchant and company promoter, was born in Thomaston, Maine, the son of Benjamin Flint and Sarah Tobey, merchants. His mother died three years later and his father remarried in 1856. Charles attended schools in Maine and Brooklyn, graduating from the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn in 1868. His father and uncle operated a shipping business from 1837, which Flint eventually joined in 1885. In 1883 he married Emma Kate Simmons. He retained the occupational title of merchant throughout his life and his career reflected the expansion and changing character of the New York trading community during the late nineteenth century. In 1871 he and George W. Gilchrist, a shipbuilder and neighbor in Thomaston, established a ship chandlery firm. A year later Flint acquired a 25 percent stake in W. R. Grace & Co., a New York trading company with interests in Peru; George W. Gilchrist was the father-in-law of ...


Fortune, Amos (1710?–17 November 1801), tanner and bookbinder  

Jeffry D. Schantz

Fortune, Amos (1710?–17 November 1801), tanner and bookbinder, was born in Africa and brought to the colonies as a slave while very young. Nothing is known of Fortune’s parentage, birth, or early years. It is estimated that he arrived in America around 1725, but little is known of his life in the colonies prior to the mid-1700s. Ichabod Richardson of Woburn, Massachusetts, purchased Fortune around 1740, kept him as a slave apprentice, and taught him the art of tanning. In December 1763 Richardson drafted a “freedom paper” granting Fortune’s freedom but died without signing it. Fortune remained a slave of the Richardson family until 1770, when a valid article of manumission signed by Ichabod’s sister-in-law, Hannah, secured his freedom....


Ginter, Lewis (1824-1897), tobacco merchant  

Susan Hamburger

Ginter, Lewis (04 April 1824–02 October 1897), tobacco merchant, was born in New York City, the son of John Ginter, a grocer, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). His father died when Lewis was an infant, and his mother died a few years later; his older sister Jane raised him. Ginter received little formal education, but through self-education he acquired a love of art and music, became an accomplished pianist, and attained fluency in French and German....


Goodrich, Benjamin Franklin (1841-1888), rubber goods manufacturer  

Mansel Blackford

Goodrich, Benjamin Franklin (04 November 1841–03 August 1888), rubber goods manufacturer, was born in Ripley, New York, the son of Anson Goodrich and Susan Dinsmore, farmers. Goodrich’s father died when he was about six and his mother two years later, whereupon he went to live with his mother’s brother, John Dinsmore, not far from Ripley. Attracted to medicine, Goodrich studied in 1858 with his cousin Dr. John Spencer in Westfield, New York, and graduated from the Cleveland Medical College in 1860. The same year he opened a medical practice in Mayville, New York, only to find his life disrupted by the Civil War. Goodrich first served as a hospital steward in the Ninth New York Volunteer Cavalry. In early 1862 he was promoted to assistant surgeon and assigned to a battalion of engineers, serving in that capacity until November. He continued his medical studies at the University of Pennsylvania while on leave in late 1862 and early 1863. Goodrich assumed his old post with the engineers in the spring of 1863, taking charge of a small hospital for a short time. He served until September 1864....


Goodyear, Charles (1800-1860), inventor  

George B. Kauffman

Goodyear, Charles (29 December 1800–01 July 1860), inventor, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Amasa Goodyear, an inventor and manufacturer of hardware and farm implements, and Cynthia Bateman. In four generations the Goodyear family produced seven inventors. Charles attended school at Naugatuck, Connecticut, until 1817, when he became apprenticed to a hardware manufacturer in Philadelphia. In 1821 he returned to New Haven to enter his father’s business. He married Clarissa Beecher in 1824; they had nine children....


Hill, George Washington (1884-1946), tobacco entrepreneur  

Lawrence F. Greenfield

Hill, George Washington (22 October 1884–13 September 1946), tobacco entrepreneur, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Percival S. Hill, a carpet jobber and retailer, and Cassie Rowland Milnes. In the year that Hill was born North Carolina tobacco executive James B. Duke...


Hunt, John Wesley (1773-1849), pioneer merchant, manufacturer, and financier  

James A. Ramage

Hunt, John Wesley ( August 1773–21 August 1849), pioneer merchant, manufacturer, and financier, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Abraham Hunt, a merchant, and Theodosia Pearson. Growing up with seven siblings, John probably attended a private school. At a young age he began training in business in his father’s general store in the same two-story building as their home in Trenton. His father also taught him about breeding racehorses and about flour milling....


Hunter, Dard (1883-1966), designer and papermaker  

Alfred H. Marks

Hunter, Dard (29 January 1883–20 February 1966), designer and papermaker, was born William Joseph Hunter in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of William Henry Hunter, a newspaperman and editor, and Harriet Rosemond. The family moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, when Hunter was seventeen. There his father was the editor of the ...


Kimball, Dan Able (1896-1970), businessman and secretary of the navy  

Edward L. Lach, Jr.

Kimball, Dan Able (01 March 1896–30 July 1970), businessman and secretary of the navy, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of John Harney Kimball, occupation unknown, and Mary Able. He received his early education in the public schools of St. Louis, although accounts differ as to whether he graduated from Soldan High School or dropped out to take a job as a mechanic in a local garage that specialized in the repair of electrically powered automobiles. All sources agree, however, that he took correspondence courses in engineering to further his education....


Litchfield, Paul Weeks (1875-1959), business executive  

Michael J. French

Litchfield, Paul Weeks (26 July 1875–18 March 1959), business executive, was born in Roxbury, a section of Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Litchfield and Julia Weeks. His father was a salesman who later opened a photographic studio, and the family apparently had a comfortable middle-class life. Litchfield graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1896. Over the next four years he moved through several short-term jobs, including spells in low-level managerial positions with three rubber manufacturing firms in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In this fashion he gained experience on the production side of an industry benefiting, in the form of tire sales, from the peak of the bicycle craze of the 1890s. In 1900 Litchfield moved to Akron, Ohio, to become factory superintendent with the recently formed Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He remained with the firm for the rest of his career....