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Simmons Company (Mattresses)

$6.00

SKU: 1862gr
Product Details

Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Simmons Company dating back to the 1970's. This document, which carries the printed signatures of the company Chairman of the Board and Secretary, was a printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 12" (w) by 8" (h).

 

This certificate's vignette features a bust of Zalmon G. Simmons.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

Historical Context

In 1870, Zalmon G. Simmons opened his first factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He started out by manufacturing wooden telegraph insulators and cheese boxes. He branched into making bedsprings after receiving a patent for a woven-wire bedspring in payment of a debt. In 1876, Simmons became the first manufacturer to mass-produce woven wire mattresses. This process helped the company produce beds faster and cheaper, and by 1889, with the introduction of spiral coil springs into woven mattresses, Simmons’ mattress prices dropped from $12 to 95 cents, making mattresses more widely affordable. The business was incorporated in 1884 as the Northwestern Wire Mattress Company, adopting Simmons Manufacturing Company as its name in 1889. According to company records, by 1891 it was the largest company "of its kind in the world".

National Business

Zalmon Simmons, Jr., who took charge of the business after his father's death in 1910, was to oversee additional growth. In 1916 Simmons began advertising nationally, initiating its first national advertising campaign with a double-spread ad in the Saturday Evening Post.

By 1919 growth was fast. In response, Simmons acquired manufacturing plants in San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Montreal, Quebec; Toronto, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Vancouver, British Columbia; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Seattle, Washington; and Atlanta, Georgia. The following year, Simmons started a new sales arrangement. Instead of purchasing a mattress directly off the retail floor, customers could test the product on in-store samples, order a mattress through the retailer, and receive direct delivery within the next 24 hours from one of Simmons' 64 warehouses. This arrangement reduced the need for retailers to own and store their own product inventories. In 1923, Simmons moved its corporate headquarters to New York City.

Equipment developed by Simmons in 1925 automated the process of coiling wire and inserting it into fabric sleeves, called encasements. This allowed mass production of pocketed coils, a type of coil that had been available only in very high-priced luxury mattresses. The pocketed coil is the basis for the Simmons Beautyrest mattress brand, which was introduced in 1925. Although the new manufacturing technology greatly reduced its cost, at the time of its introduction a Beautyrest mattress sold for $39.50, three to four times more than the typical price for a standard wire mattress. Simmons promoted its products aggressively with ads that included testimonials from famous people such as Eleanor Roosevelt in 1927 and Henry Ford, H.G. Wells, Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi and George Bernard Shaw in 1929. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to promote the brand into the 1930s, through her radio show. Cole Porter mentioned the Beautyrest brand in the lyrics of his 1934 song "Anything Goes".

In 1940, Simmons introduced the Hide-A-Bed, a sofa that incorporates a fold-out spring and mattress that pull out to form a bed. This was to become one of the company's best known products and was manufactured until the 1980s. During World War II, Simmons' facilities were diverted to military production, making cots, parachutes, bazooka rockets and other products. By the post-war year of 1947, the company was back in the mattress business and started using advertising to associate its products with the Hollywood glamor of actresses including Dorothy Lamour and Maureen O'Hara. A research and development facility was established in Munster, Indiana, in 1957, building upon pioneering studies on human sleep behavior that Simmons had sponsored in the 1930s. In 1958, the company became the first U.S. mattress maker to produce mattresses in king and queen sizes, an innovation that was promoted as solving the "space battle in the bedroom".

Era of Corporate Change

In 1975, the Simmons corporate headquarters moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Shortly thereafter, the company research and development team also relocated to Georgia, to a building in what is today Peachtree Corners but was then an unincorporated part of Gwinnett County, near Norcross. In 1995, the company's R&D division moved into a new home, the Simmons Institute for Technology and Education (SITE).

Simmons underwent the first in a series of corporate mergers and acquisitions in 1979, when the company was acquired by Gulf+Western. Six years later, Gulf+Western sold Simmons to Wickes Corporation. Wesray Capital bought the business in 1986, and sold it to the Simmons employee stock ownership plan in 1989. Merrill Lynch Capital Partners obtained a majority interest in Simmons in 1991, and sold to Investcorp in about 1996. Fenway Partners bought the company about two years later, then sold to Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2003.