Dear All, Recently I purchased a small pamphlet commemorating 75 years of the French and Heald Company. I thought I would share it with you....
From the "History of French and Heald Co.", , a pamphlet published at the 75th anniversary of the founding of the company......
"David Heald, founder of the business, was born in Nelson , New Hampshire (the son of Oliver and Patty Wright Heald) on October 6, 1832. His father was a wool scourer, but as a young man David Heald learned and practiced the cabinet making trade.
Leaving home at twenty-four, he came to Milford and established a small cabinet shop down by the old "Swing Bridge" on the banks of the Souhegan River. At first the founder of this business worked alone, but following an ambition to serve "the trade" in a larger way, he soon employed a few men to help him and somewhat enlarged his shop.
The first line of goods manufactured was drop leaf tables in 3'0", 3'6", 4'0",and 4'6" sizes, made entirely by hand, or with the aid of such crude tools as the times afforded. The product was sold "in the white" (unfinished) to retail furniture stores, who finished the tables and sold them in considerable quantities.
As the business grew, and growth during the Civil War period was necessarily slow, spindle beds, commodes, light stands, and other items were added to the line of kitchen tables which were made as a regular thing until 1890.
After 1865 David Heald took on a partner, residing in New York, and began the manufacture of pine bedroom furniture, designed in the elaborate style of the early '70's. At this timethe Boston & Maine railroad, Wilton branch, was built, and a large storehouse on South Street adjoining the railroad was erected there. Large quantities of this pine furniture was shipped to New York, there painted, in many cases elaborately decorated, and sold to the public at the then prevailing high prices. The partnership referred to lasted for several years, and was later dissolved in a way not to the advantage of David Heald.
In no way discouraged after the panic and the dissolution of the partnership, David Heald pushed on over many obstacles, kept the business going, and later took on a partner, residing in Boston. This relationship lasted for some years. The line of goods manufactured remained Chamber Furniture, but hardwoods, including chestnut, ash, oak, and especially black walnut, were now used in place of pine.
The designs were not much changed, at least not in the way of improvement.
After leaving school in 1882, the partnership having been dissolved, Edward S. Heald, elder son of David Heald, entered the business, a connection which continued through the years to his death in December, 1928.
The firm name was now "David Heald & Son." The business progressed under this association, father and son working together in perfect harmony, and achieving the best results so far.
Under the direction of Edward S. Heald as Factory Manager the plant was improved and a better line of goods produced. An arrangement for the sale of goods was made with Messrs. Howard and French of Nashua, New Hampshire, and somewhat later this was developed until it became the principal sales outlet of the "Heald Line."
Proposals were made in the late 80's to David Heald & Son, and a connection effected whereby the firm of David Heald & Son was dissolved and another established under the style of "Howard, French & Heald." The factory was extended by additions along the river, which made the floor area of the manufacturing plant about one hundred thousand square feet.
During these years bedroom furniture constructed in hard woods was made, the total product being shipped in white (unfinished) to Nashua, ten miles distant, where it was finished, packed and shipped. The selling activity of the concern at this time was under the able leadership of Charles H. French, one of the outstanding and most successful salesmen of those days.
The business enlarged and prospered, and this partnership and its resulting benefits continues until 1892, when Mr. Howard retired from the firm, and a new association was established under the style of "French and Heald", adjustments being made so that equal participation in the profits was enjoyed by each partner. This partnership successfully weathered the business crisis of 1893 and succeeding ones, so the business founded by David Heald went on with uninterrupted success until the death of the senior partner, Mr. French, in 1907.
After this event the business was successfully conducted under the name of French & Heald until 1908, when it was incorporated under the name of French & Heald Company, and so it stands to this day.
At the same time the company brought forth its own special trade mark, consisting of the double triangle with four-leaf clover in the center, which trademark is so well known to the furniture trade today, and which mark, in the form of a label, has been attacked to each piece of furniture shopped by the Company since its adoption.
David Heald, after more than fifty years of activity in the business, community, church and home life of his adopted town, died in March, 1909. His fine inspiring personality was much missed by his family, business associates, and fellow townsmen.
A bronze tablet commemorating his life and work hangs on the walls of the main office and reads as follows:
A life long resident of Milford, New Hampshire,
where in 1856 he founded the wood working
business to which was devoted the best years of a
busy life and which endures and bears his name.
His life remains in memory, an example of high
thinking, right living, and a rigid adherence to
lofty ideals in thought and action.
Following the death of David Heald, Mrs. French, who had taken over the financial interests of her
husband became President of the Company, Edward S. Heald, Vice President, Edward N. Brown, long associated with the firm and later with the Company, was made Treasurer and Sales Manager, and George C. Langdell, Secretary.
Steady progress was made under this management up to January 26, 1912, on the morning of which day occurred an event which was destined to created in the business started by David Heald the greatest change of anything that had transpired since the founding of the industry by that courageous man in the little cabinet chop down by the Souhegan River.
On this date, at 9.30 in the morning of a 20 degrees below zero day, fire was discovered in the finishing room on the third floor and before noon of that day the entire plant had burned to the ground. Outside fire apparatus was necessarily summoned to save the town from a serious conflagration.
It was a most devastating fire, but, before the embers had ceased to glow, officers of the Company had been in conference with town officials and plans for rebuilding were begun. Substantial and attractive offers from nearby townsand cities were made to induce the rebuilding of the factory outside of Milford, but the citizens of Milford, as well as the Directors of the Company, preferred to continue a bigger and better business where it had always had been.A bond of $50,000 with which to start the rebuilding of a new plant was raised by popular subscription in a few days. The capital of the Company was increased by a $40,00 cash investment by Frank H. Heald, younger son of David Heald and brother of Edward S. Heald. With this wonderful help the way was clear. A four acre piece ofreal estate on Nashua Street adjoining the Boston & Maine Railroad was purchased, a new and modern plant was designed, ground broken on April 4, 1912, an in record time a new factory of over one hundred square feet of floor space,
with modern power house and dry kilns, was erected.
In September, 1912, Emory D. Heald, elder son of Edward S. Heald, resigned his position as Assistant to the Treasurer of Dartmouth College, from which institution he was graduated in 1911, and came to Milford to assist his father in developing and managing the new and expected bigger business. By October, all the machinery having been installed, cutting of lumber was begun, and on December 31 the first car of furniture made in the new plant was shipped, just eleven months after the fire.
It was a great struggle for the first year or tow thereafter, but by constant attention to details, moderate success was made from the start. With greater factory production possible, additional sales representatives were put to work, and within a few years a production of over forty thousand pieces of furniture annually was made and marketed, practically 100%, in the New England states. The goods manufactured were largely odd dressers, chiffoniers, tables, etc., oak being the predominant wood during this period.
During the period of the World War the Company tried to do its bit in all ways. Hermann L. Heald, younger son of Edward S. Heald, who had been connected with the business since 1916, enlisted in the Navy as a seaman, doing patrol duty along the Atlantic seaboard. Twelve other employees of the Company either enlisted or were drafted for service. The Company subscribed heavily to all Liberty Loan drives and gave liberally to the support of all the worth while relief agencies, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Y.M.C.A., etc. Large amounts of contract work for furniture for officers' quarters were made during this period.All officers of the Company gave liberally of their money and personal work to assist in carrying the war burden.
Through all the periods of prosperity and adversity the Company "carried on" and made continued definite progress: Sales and production both increased. Soon after 1920 the demand for oak furniture began to wane. Painted goods seemed to be in demand. Therefore the use of birch lumber began to increase, and for several years the popularity of this wood has been constantly growing. Furthermore, there seemed to be a demand once again for complete bedroom suites.
In July 1923, the personal of the Company was further augmented by the advent of L. Newton Brown. elder son of Edward N. Brown, and grand nephew of Charles H. French, one of the original partners in the business. Graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class of 1923, he immediately entered the employ of the Company in its Boston office to help develop the sales end of the business.
In 1924 and 1925, with indications pointing in many directions to decreased business activity in New England, where the Company's goods had always been largely sold, doubt was felt as to the wisdom of continuing the policy of selling in such limited territory. Therefore it was decided to broaden the sales territory. Offices and show rooms were opened in New York City, a good sales representative secured, and as a result some very favorable connections were made for sizeable business. A department for handling special contract work was instituted under the direction of Emory D. Heald, who, after having spent 15 years in the closest personal contact with factory procedure was well equipped for developing this special work. And by keen foresight in developing these outside markets the Company has been able to go forward each year, doing a bigger and better business. More attention was given to the design of the goods, a better quality of goods was made, and all the modern finishes applied.
After leading a most vigorous life for sixty-four years, in December,1928, occurredthe death of Edward S. Heald, after having spent forty-seven years in the business. His death was deeply felt not only by all his business associates but by the entire community of Milford, his native town, where he had always lived.
The following inscription, taken from a bronze tablet erected in his memory on January 1, 1931, and now adorning the office walls of the Company describes his life fully:
EDWARD STONE HEALD
Born in Milford, New Hampshire, elder son of
David Heald, devoting his whole life to the con-
tinuance and development of the furniture busi-
ness founded by his father. Courageous builder
of a new and larger factory immediately follow-
ing the complete destruction of the old plant by
fire in 1912.
An earnest worker, progressive in thought, of
artistic temperament, a vigorous leader in civic
affairs, and a lover of all mankind,----his life was
filled with accomplishments worthy of emulation
by those who follow him.
This tablet was erected in loving remembrance by his
children and business associates.
Immediately following the death of Edward S. Heald, the Directors of the Company elected Emory D. Heald as President and General Manager. A keen student of organization, he has surrounded himself with a corps of able assistants and a loyal group of workmen, all of whom labor harmoniously together. During the first two years under this management, while general business has been sub-normal, a constant and increasing business has been found to keep a labor force of 150 men busy--with sales
volume the largest in history.
Of much interest to the public, and an idea which has been of much value to the Company, has been an advertisement in the form of an attractive Colonial showroom, built on the factory grounds in 1929, beside the main Southside Highway. Here are displayed the bedroom suites made by the Company in their correct setting, the rooms being illuminated at night, and thousands of tourists passing by not only look, but stop and inspect the furniture.
Creation of a greater demand on the part of the public for French & Heald Company products was the aim in adopting this unique method of advertising, and the response has been good.
The present personnel of the Company is:
Emory D. Heald, President and General Manager
George C. Langdell, Vice President and Asst. Treasurer
Edward N. Brown, Assistant Factory Manager
Hermann L. Heald, Assistant Sales Manager
Frederic S. Kimball, Office Manager
Corps of Salesman
R.G. Lopaus, Boston Showroom
J.M. Gallagher, New York Showroom
A.H. Evans, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts
H.W. Moulton, Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts
P. S. Emerson, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
J.M. Meakins, Long Island and New Jersey to Washington, D. C.
W. F. Lockhart, South and Middle West
E.D. Heald, Special Contract Work
F.A. HutchinsonH.A. Smith
E.W. CrowellA.W. Walmsley
George J. PikeGrand Rapids, Michigan
Designer, Draftsman, and Photographer
The payroll of the Company includes some twenty men who have served the Company faithfully for a period of no less than twenty-five years, as follows:
G. K. BarteausT.J. Hutchinson
N.F. BrownD. J. Mahoney
M. ClairE. Martin
E.W. CrowellA. Peacock
J.J. DillonF.L. Pike
J.E. DonahueC.W. Richardson
A.F. DuttonC.A. Scott
L.C. HallK.K. Stimson
F.A. HutchinsonE.O. Tandy
J.E. HutchinsonJ.A. White
With a strong foundation of seventy-five consecutive years of making honest merchandise, and with a complete and highly efficient organization now existing, the outlook for the future development and continued success and prosperity of the Company seems well assured. The spirit of honesty, integrity, and Christian dealings with his fellow men, so much a part of the life and work of David Heald, founder of the business, has been continued throughout the years by his successors, and so may it always be. With business competition constantly becoming more keen and the struggle for existence so muchmore difficult, the present officers of the Company are trying earnestly to demonstrate that real success in business can only be attained by the practice of those fundamental Christian values, ---honesty, courage, optimism, love of one's fellow men, and an exemplification, in their relations with all mankind, of the practical application of the Golden Rule.