Edward Simmons founded Simmons Hardware in 1859 in St. Louis MO. and in 1874 was the first mercantile business to incorporate in the US. Their success was due largely to a strict business ethic of selling items of uncompromising quality and supplying a vast array of goods to help the customer to prosper. Their retail outlets sought to be a one stop shopping source for all consumers and their mail order catalog ran to 5000 pages. They became the largest hardware store in the world by 1910.
Here is a view of the Simmon's catalog dubbed "The Big Book".
This eye catching die cut display was a common practice of Simmons to attract customers. The "Keen Kutter" trademark was the flagship brand of Simmons. It was used on various products such as fishing gear. knives and cutlery. The double K's were used in other ways such as Keen Klipper lawn mowers, Karpet King sweepers, King Kord tires and Klear Krystal lamp chimneys.
Sporting goods of course were featured in the catalog. Here is an advertising postcard circa 1897 featuring baseball gear.
here is a Simmons 1893 Sporting Goods Catalog
Here are a few gloves from Simmons. First is a vintage duck web model circa 1912.
A great looking grommet web model with original box
A great looking mitt recently on ebay.
In 1922 Winchester Arms bought a controlling interest in Simmons Hardware to increase distribution but it was a disaster for both companies. In 1929, Winchester separated itself from Simmons but by 1930 Winchester declared bankruptcy. The next decade was hard on Simmons, partly recovering for the Winchester merger and the bad timing of the Great Depression. Just from personal experience, I have noticed certain large companies in my county have gone under because they were large and exposed to decreased sales not covering a huge overhead. And so in 1940, Simmons declared bankruptcy and was bought out by rival hardware supplier, Shapleigh's of St. Louis
A 1927 Winchester /Simmons catalog
Here is a 1950 Shapleigh catalog cover incorporating the Simmons "King Kutter" trademark