Today marks the 42nd anniversary of what is probably the most significant one event in the history of the company. It was on November 26th, 1965, that the Simonds family agreed to sell its 26% of the 1.5 million outstanding shares of the company to Wallace-Murray Corporation. Other stockholders were quick to follow suit, thus enabling Wallace-Murray to assume full ownership of Simonds. This marked the end of 133 years of family ownership and the beginning of a period of public ownership for Simonds.
At the recent 175th Anniversary celebration in June, Daniel Simonds III mentioned that the reasons the family decided to sell out included the fact that the next generation was not as interested in running the company, coupled with what management at the time saw as a confluence of negative market factors - declining old growth forests (remember, this was before organized reforestation), foreign competition for steel, and the growth of strong competitors in the areas of abrasives and metal cutting tools.
Wallace-Murray Corp. itself had only just come into being on September 1st, 1965, when the William Wallace Company was merged into Murray Corporation of America. The combined company, one of the first of the then new industrial conglomerates, had sales of $100 Million, so the acquisition of Simonds nearly doubled the company’s sales to $170 Million! Prior to the purchase of Simonds, Wallace-Murray's core industries were automotive parts and engines, building and plumbing supplies, and industrial gears and metal products. The addition of Simonds to the family made tools a major focus.
The Murray Corporation of America started as the J. W. Murray Company in 1913, in Michigan. Their initial successes were in manufacturing bodies for the newly popular automobile, and catered to such customers as Ford, Hupmobile and Studebaker. Over the years, the company expanded into auto parts and engines and parts, as well as plumbing fixtures.
The William Wallace Company also dates back to the early 1900’s and was founded in California before expanding nationwide through a series of acquisitions. Wallace Corp's focus was galvanized metal products and miscellaneous metal building supplies. Both Murray and Wallace shared a common Chairman on their boards, so the merger of the two companies, once decided upon, came quickly! Through a number of acquisitions, the company grew rapidly until it was acquired itself by Household International in 1981.