Every once in a while, the editors of Electrical Wholesaling run across an interesting human interest story that reinforces one of the age-old truths of the electrical market: It really is a “people” business. One our readers recently wrote us with an interesting little historical nugget that goes back to some of the earliest years of Electrical Wholesaling, when the magazine was still called The Jobber's Salesman.
Ross Schliesmann, president of Cir/Con Industries Inc., a manufacturers' rep based in Northbrook, Ill., sent us a clipping from the Oct. 1927 edition of The Jobber's Salesman that had an interesting anecdote about his grandfather, Ross D. Cummings, who for several years sold advertising space for the magazine as Chicago district manager. He also worked for 15 years for the supply arm of Western Electric Co., before the wholly owned subsidiary was spun off to its employees as Graybar Electric Co.
The article on Ross' grandfather said in part, “He has been with The Jobber's Salesman for over three years, much of his time being spent in contact with the jobbers (distributors) in his territory, in rendering service on behalf of the manufacturers in his own and other sections of the country. In effect, he is rendering a merchandising service to the electrical manufacturers - an important feature of the personalized service The Jobber's Salesman offers its customers.”
“Developments are taking place in the field of electrical distribution. New channels for the wholesale distribution of electrical appliances and supplies are being established. The Jobber's Salesman, devoted exclusively to the interested of wholesalers of electrical goods, is expanding its circulation and service to cover these new outlets… Advertising representation in The Jobber's Salesman means contact with all of the wholesale distribution facilities of the country in the electrical, hardware, automotive, mill-supply and radio fields.”
Ross' great-grandfather, Harvey D. Cummings, worked for Underwriters Laboratories and was a founder of the Chicago's Board of Underwriters Chicago. Ross has quite the resume in the electrical market, too. He is celebrating his 50th year in the electrical business, having worked for Westinghouse Supply Co. from 1962-1973; Electric Supply Corp. from 1973-1976; Ross Inc. from 1976-1981; RSA Manufacturing from 1981 to the present; and is still working as president of Cir/Con Electrical Industries, an independent manufacturers' rep that sells high-mast lighting, wire and cable, generators and other electrical products.