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Supplee Hardware Co. - Philadelphia, PA


History Overview

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This business was founded in 1830 by Conrad & Walton. Later Mr. Conrad retired, and the firm became Lloyd, Supplee & Walton, and in 1884 Lloyd & Supplee Hardware Co.

In 1889 Mr. William W. Supplee purchased Mr. Lloyd‘s interest, and the company was incorporated as Supplee Hardware Co., with William W. Supplee as president, Newton F. Cressman as secretary, and William D. Supplee as treasurer.


They are extensive manufacturers, importers and dealers in shelf hardware, foreign and domestic cutlery, lamps etc., at 503 Market St. and 4 and 6 North Fifth St. their establishment being the largest in its line in the city.

The building occupied by them comprises five stories and a basement, and they also utilize a large warehouse one block above these premises. They are among the largest importers of cutlery in the United States, maintaining favorable and direct relations with leading European manufacturers, and besides, handle a large stock of the best American productions.

The stock of hardware carried is large, complete and comprehensive, which is equaled only by two other houses in the United States.

An idea of its magnitude may be gained by the fact that the catalogue of the company contains 1,452 pages, and 5,582 illustrations. The company has always controlled the production of the Pennsylvania Lawn Mower Works, covering an acre of ground, the plant consisting of six large brick buildings, completely equipped with the latest improved machinery.

The company does a large business, employing thirty-five salesmen, and over 100 other employees to handle it.

The Hardware Dealer, Vol. 3, February 1895,
(New York: D. T. Mallett, Publisher).

Timeline of Business Associations

  1854 -1867   Lloyd & Supplee
  1867 -1889   Lloyd, Supplee & Walton
  1889 -1905   Supplee Hardware Co.
  1905 -1919   Supplee, Biddle & King Hardware Co.
  1919 -1950   Supplee, Biddle Co.
  1950 -1960   Supplee, Biddle & Steltz Co.

William W. Supplee

If those who claim that fortune has favored certain individuals above others will but investigate the cause of success and failure it will be found that the former is largely due to the improvement of opportunity, the latter to the neglect of it.

Fortunate environments encompass nearly every man at some stage of his career but the strong man and the successful man is he who realizes that the proper moment has come. The man who makes use of his “now” and not “to be,” is the one who passes on the highway of life others who perhaps started out ahead of him.

It is this quality in Mr. Supplee that has gained him an enviable position in the business world and made him widely known as the president of the leading wholesale hardware house of the east.

The ancestral history of the Supplee family covers a long connection with America. The great-grandfathers of William W. Supplee came to this country in 1685, landing at New York. They were Huguenots or Protestants, who preferred to leave their native country rather than renounce their religion.

Three brothers of the name accompanied by their families therefore sought religious liberty in the new world and one of these, Andrew Supplee, sometime after their arrival on the western continent, was appointed to an important position of honor and trust under William Penn.

The grandfather of William W. Supplee secured a large tract of land on high ground a few miles- from Norristown and gave tangible proof of his interest in education by erecting a schoolhouse on his place near the present Norris city cemetery, which was known far and wide as the Supplee schoolhouse.

His son, John Supplee, was engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods for a number of years but following his removal with his family to Norristown engaged in teaching school in the building erected by his father. He afterward secured the position as postmaster of Norristown, acting in that capacity for several years and held other offices of honor and authority.

He and his wife together with six other people were organizers of the first Methodist church in Norristown and John Supplee contributed generously toward the erection of the house of worship. He reached the venerable age of ninety-two and a half years, while his wife died at the age of eighty-nine and a half years.

One of his sisters lived to the remarkable old age of one hundred and two years and these facts indicate that the family is noted for longevity. There were three sons in the family of John Supplee, the brothers of William Supplee being J. Wesley Supplee, formerly president of the Corn Exchange National Bank of Philadelphia, and Enoch H. Supplee, who at one time conducted a large school for girls and subsequently entered the ministry.

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