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 Subject : Personal History, by Dave Kendall, Portland Screw.. 10/27/2011 04:08:07 PM 

My Screw Career - 1995

My introduction to the screw business came in June of 1951 when I found a “summer job” in a little hole in the wall operation in the skid-road district of Portland, Oregon. The then-owner, Bill Goodrum, sat me down at a used manual royal typewriter to type invoices, a massive 20-25 per day.

The “summer job” turned into a “life-time job” and I eventually bought out the business and made myself president. Now I don’t even type invoices. We gradually expanded and finally moved into a nice industrial park called Swan Island.

I remember the great difficulty I had during the first two or three years of employment answering the question from friends and relatives, “What is the name of the company you work for?” People still smile or go into hysterics when I say, “Portland Screw Company.”

Forty-four years ago, things were much different in the way they were done. Then, we had manual typewriters; adding machines with a handle to be pulled with each entry; manual Kardex systems for inventory control; Western Union Telex machines; bookkeeping done with pen and ink on heavy journals and ledgers.

In 1951, Portland Screw Company was the only fastener specialist in Oregon. Most of our local competition came from mill supply houses that resented our existence and tried to squeeze us out. We squeezed back and stayed in the business. Most of them didn’t.

Forty years ago the logging industry was everything in Oregon, so a lot of wood related industries thrived, including furniture manufacturing. Today, with the help of the spotted owl, logging is no longer the major industry in Oregon. Hi-Tech has created another Silicon Valley here.

The list of fastener manufacturers we used in the 50’s would be unrecognizable today. National Screw Mfg. Co.—Russell Bolt Co.—Pheoll Mfg. Co.—Reed & Prince Mfg. Co.—Continental Screw Co.—Southern Screw Co.—Bristol Socket Products—Cleveland Cap Screw Co.—Bethlehem—Anti-Corrosive Metal Products. Most of these are gone.

Over the years, I believe that Portland Screw’s involvement in trade associations made a big difference in our survival. We kept abreast of things, and it added some fun to our profession. With the rapid changes in the way distribution is headed, the smaller companies such as ourselves will find W.A.F.D. and N.F.D.A. vital to our existence in the future.

- Dave Kendall
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