Sunday, May 18, 2014

Daisy Door Stop

At some point in my travels I picked up this old door stop:

It's marked "Daisy", which was the trademark of the Schacht Rubber Manufacturing Company of Huntington, Indiana.

What piqued my interest was the patent number stamped on the inside of the item.  It was issued in 1935:

In the 1930's, before air conditioning, houses needed to keep doors open to permit breezes to move through them, and "doorchecks" were just the ticket.  (Today, we'd call them a green product!)

William F. Schacht was employed in a rubber plant in Elkart, Indiana.  He had patented a number of rubber items on his own, and sold them as a side-line.  In 1910, an ad in a trade magazine brought his attention to a rubber factory that was standing idle in Huntington, Indiana.  According to the story, the owners of the factory offered it to him free if he could start an industry.  Using the knowledge he had acquired in his previous job, he began producing a variety of rubber products.  As his success grew, he added more machines and more employees.  Eventually, the company was manufacturing a huge variety of products:  cuspidor mats (lovely mental picture, that), hair wavers, rubber tubing, door mats, automobile steps, pads, shoe heels, carpet sweeper rings, fruit jar rings, tack bumpers, crutch tips, soap dishes, mallets, band saw tires, sink stoppers, milk bottle stoppers, and on and on.  Many of these items were marketed under the "Daisy" brand.  When showing visitors around the plant, Mr. Schacht enjoyed "spelling" his workmen on their various machines, taking over the machines to demonstrate how they operated.  The firm's thousands of items were retailed through major chains like Sears, Woolworth, JC Penny, Montgomery Ward and Kresge's.  During World War II, production shifted to gas masks.  After the war, they entered the speciality market, making solid demountable tires for carts and tables, particularly for hospital and industrial use.  At their peak, they were making 7,000 of these tires each day.  They also made gaskets for gas lines for M.B. Skinner, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.  They mixed their own rubber, making around 20,000 pounds per day and originally had their own tool and die shop to make dies and molds for the various rubber products.  They were acquired by Lydall in June 1981 and somewhere along the way became Schacht-Pfister, a name that now seems reserved for rubber mallets.

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