Carr, Adams & Collier, Caradco, 1953, ’56 and ’60
Fred Bissell was my dad. Fred Sr. He was with Caradco for thirty years. He started out in 1939 working for Allen Stoltz, who was in advertising and was still there when I was there. Then dad became a salesman and then finally he became sales manager back in the ‘50s. In the end he was vice president and secretary then he retired in 1967. And Paul Adams, that was my uncle, he worked there with my dad and he became president in about 1969 or something like that. And John T. Adams was my grandfather. And he was manager from—well, he started at Caradco in 1881 and worked right until he died in 1939. So he was here really a long time. And he was also chairman of the Republican National Committee—that was a big deal with him.
I worked summers down here. I started out in 1953 at a dollar sixteen cents an hour. I worked in the cutting room taking away from a conveyer belt. I’d separate boards and stack up them on carts. And then there were some smaller pieces I put down a chute. Then another summer I worked in product development and I’d didn’t like it very much. I mean, it was an interesting department—they had doors slamming to see how long they would work without breaking and that sort of thing—but there just wasn’t much for me to do. They wanted me to fill out this chart but there was no information available to do it, so I ended up painting the floor and did some cleanup work and that was about it for that summer. But 1960 was a good summer. I worked with the Allen Stoltz and made a complete catalogue for Caradco with illustrations of windows and doors. This was all done in watercolor and it was great experience. I was in art school at the time and this was a real job.
So that’s it for working down here. After art school I went to work for an advertising firm in Chicago, you know, and I didn’t come down to the company, which I think was good. My brother and I were the only ones from my generation of the family to work at Caradco. And, with my brother, it didn’t work out too well. He just didn’t have enough to do, so he told his boss he was going home and he quit. He got into tennis and that was his bag. But, in Uncle Paul’s family, I don’t think any of my cousins ever worked at Caradco. And the Burden family, none of them ever worked there. So … I was the Lone Ranger down there.