Wednesday, January 23, 2019
The Sheaffer Pen Company was founded in 1912. Walter A Sheaffer revolutionized the fountain pen and grew the company from an idea in the back of a jewelry store to the worldwide company that exists today. While you don't hear much about Sheaffer Pens, they were at one time a significant leader in luxury pens. With an innovative design and elegance, everyone owned Sheaffer pens and their high-end luxury products were sought after by everyone from royalty to celebrity. These pens were known for their style and grace – smooth writing and elegance. Seaffer Pen Company was mostly famous for their gold. Gold was actually embedded into each pen: gold tips and other gold throughout the body. In 1997, this pen company was purchased by Bic and they moved out of their headquarters in Fort Madison, Iowa (my home town).
During their heyday, this was a well-used headquarters. Many of the employees spent much of their time in the building. Executive offices, manufacturing and a full Customer Support team right there in the same building. And, since they invested in their people, they also equipped their Headquarters with excellent facilities: social areas, a cafeteria, even a full-service gym with showers. After they sold, the building sat empty for several years. The bank, realizing that the building may not ever sell, went through this building to see what they could get for the equipment inside: the desks, chairs, the miscellaneous parts here and there. What treasure did they actually find? Gold. Sheaffer pens were guaranteed for the life of the owner. When one of the gold tips would break, the customer would send the pen back and Sheaffer would replace the tip and ship it back to the owner. What did the company do with these "worthless" gold tips? Nothing. They would go into a desk drawer or down to the service department for repair. Most of the tips were not usable, so they sat around the headquarters – beautiful – but unused. And, since manufacturing of the gold tips happened there at the headquarters – grinding and shaping the gold to the right specifications – each employee would stay after work to socialize and exercise. Day after day, year after year, small gold flecks would be washed off and onto the floor. And then, 40, 50, 60 years later, embedded in the floor of the shower was gold; in the drain of the shower – gold. They found over a million dollars of gold embedded within the building of something that they thought was virtually worthless. When they finally looked at what they had, they absolutely, truly, found the gold.
When you try to look farther than "as far as you can see" you often miss the gold. Sometimes it's right there in front of you. What areas of your life are you not seeing? What gold are you letting slip down the drain?