Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oops, we just lost 2 years!

What do you do when you’ve just learned you’re two years older than you thought you were?

1. Have an especially outrageous birthday celebration to make up for lost time
1. Complain about how old your suddenly feeling and take PTO, or
2. Just deal with it.

This past weekend while unpacking from our move and preparing various historical archives and materials for our new exhibits I ran across CalCedar’s original stock records book. Having first seen this book about 20 years ago, including what I believed to be the page documenting the very first issuance of shares on June 26, 1919, we’ve always used the year 1919 as the founding year of the company. In taking a closer look at the book this weekend I found an earlier page that was stuck closed with original founders stock issued December 14, 1917. It turns out that the entire company was recapitalized in 1919 and the 1917 shares were returned, cancelled and reissued. The image shows that initial page with the note documenting the increase from $75,000 to $150,000 in total capitalization for the company.

This book is fascinating with its penmanship and detailed record keeping of issuance and cancellation of shares by the original founders and other investors up through January 3, 1927. On this latter date the record cancels all the outstanding shares and shareholdings and reissues new shares to Hampton Investment Company and a couple other associated individuals. Hampton Investment was the holding company established by our family to acquire California Cedar Products Company and several other companies in California in the 1920s at the time my grandfather relocated from New York.

So the good news is, we now have our facts straight and will be updating our websites and other historical documentation accordingly.
The challenging news is we’re suddenly 97 years old as a company, and just over 2 years from our centennial. We have a bunch of aggressive goals yet to accomplish by that birthday celebration if we choose to advance our timeline accordingly.

The great news is we’ve now completed our move to our new corporate office and distribution facility. Outside of a few finishing touches we are well positioned to implement a number of initiatives to grow our Blackwing brand and Pencils.com ecommerce units and more efficiently support our industrial pencil slat business and all of our customers around the world. So perhaps an interim birthday (new facility) party is in the offing after all. Hey, in fact, if I move up our Christmas Party by one day it will coincide with our 98th birthday on December 14th. So who knows…

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Season of Pencildom Anniversaries

Just a quick note in recognition that today marks the 10th Anniversary of my first ever Timberlines blog post. In that post I mentioned Timberlines was the name of our former company newsletter. We’ve been prepping for a relocation recently and today I unexpectedly came across boxes of the old newsletters and selected a few for this post’s image. After 10 years we are ready to move again to a new facility more attuned for our current needs (but more on that for a future post).

Interestingly one old 1989 issue featured our pending move to a new corporate headquarters building finished out throughout with Incense-cedar of all things. We stayed in that building through 2005 until a company restructuring around that time meant downsizing back to the original administration building called the “White House” that had been used up till 1989. I remember my dad’s first office was in the “white house” and now that office includes four of our Pencils.com and Blackwing marketing and sales team, including my son Phil. I know they’re all looking forward to this relocation soon.

Looking at these old issues the provide a representative sample of themese. Some often featured travelogues that my grandfather wrote about trips to visit customers and friends around the world as well as the typical fare of employee retirement farewells, new employee welcome profiles and life advice for employees as we’d enter a new year. The special issue in the back left was in honor of my Grandfather’s death August 30, 1995 including contributions from family, friends and employees. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years now, how the industry and our company have changed in that time.

Going back to my first Timberlines blog post I credit (a now old pencil friend) Johnny Gamber for the motivation to begin my own blogging effort on this date which also marks the 10th anniversary of his first ever review of our ForestChoice pencil. To my knowledge that Pencil Revolution post was the first standalone pencil review ever posted in the pencil blogosphere.

Also as far as I can see it seems Johnny may have let the Pencil Revolution blog 10th anniversary pass quietly back in July. I know his wonderful endeavors along with Andy and Tim on the Erasable podcast these days generally take precedence over his own PRevo blog posts, but he deserves recognition and renewed thanks from me and many other’s for his contributions via Pencil Revolution over the years. So here’s to Johnny, the original Pencil Revolutionary, for 10 years of influence on web pencildom.

I don’t post often these days with all the other things to fill my schedule. Sometimes I think I’ll get going with a new series of posts on a theme of interest at the moment, but looking back these generally ended up being one off posts with good intentions. It’s been easier to contribute more frequently within the Erasebale Podcast Facebook group. However, as the next 2 months is a period of some news for us at CalCedar on several fronts, including our relocation, some new products we’ve been working on and some other company history anniversaries, I’ll hope to share some things on these topic in the coming weeks. Then given past experience, Timberlines will likely go dormant once again for a while.

Anyway thanks for those few of you who’ve read these pages over the years and for your support of our efforts and products at California Cedar Products Company. This is an old, but interesting industry and company. Every now and then these anniversaries kick in some good memories I think might be worth documenting.