Beautifully engraved certificate from the Turner, Day & Woolworth Ax Handle Company
issued in 1905. This historic document has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the company's name in fancy print. This item has the hand signatures of the Company’s President, Charles D. Gates and Secretary. Punch and stamp cancelled.
In 1877 James Woolworth established an ax handle factory in Bowling Green. He merged with the Turner-Day Company in 1884, becoming the largest manufacturer of "Hickory Striking Tool Handles." Their slogan, "We handle the world," reflected a large national and international market. In 1951 the True Temper Corporation acquired the Turner, Day & Woolworth Handle Company. On Dec. 17, 2004, the Turner, Day and Woolworth Handle Corp. was sold to Seymour Manufacturing.
The following is from the HISTORY OF KENTUCKY AND KENTUCKIANS, Lewis Publishing Co., New York & Chicago, 1912.
Charles D. Gates was born in Hadlyme, Connecticut, August 21, 1855. His father, Francis E. Gates, now (1910) eighty-four years of age, is a direct descendant of the famous Gates family of Revolutionary times. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Maria Day, is now deceased, was a member of the illustrious Hugerford family whose genealogy is recorded in the Knights of England. Thus coming of New England stock, Mr. Gates is from an ancestral line of which any one might justly be proud.
His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all prosperous farmers residing in the Connecticut valley. In his boyhood days Charles D. Gates attended the district schools, and at the age of fifteen years he was sent to the Hartford graded schools, which he attended for a while and from which he went to a preparatory school at East Hampton, Massachusetts, and later attended the Williston Seminary at East Hampton, Massachusetts. He then became a "yankee school-teacher," in charge of the graded schools at Moodus, Connecticut, as principal. Finding the schoolroom to confining and that the work of teaching was over-taxing his strength, Mr. Gates went to sea as a hand before the mast for one season. Returning home he was for one year more engaged in the outdoor work of a farmer.
His first venture in the commercial world and the one which decided his career was in 1877, when he entered the service of Turner, Day & Woolworth Handle Company, Incorporated, of Louisville, Kentucky, as yardmaster. He was then twenty-one years of age and he has continued in the service of this company ever since, and in the more than thirty-three years that have elapsed he has filled the positions of shipping clerk, foreman, superintendent, secretary, general manager and president, which latter office he now holds. The Turner, Day & Woolworth Handle Company, Incorporated, is not only one of the greatest industries of Louisville, but also one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The head office is located in Louisville and several other branches are maintained at other places, including both New York city and San Francisco. It maintains in all thirty-two branch factories, the most important which are located in Nashville, Tennessee; Huntington, West Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Paragould, Arkansas; Cairo, Illinois; Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Decatur, Alabama. From well selected hickory timber are manufactured handles used by woodmen, farmers, mechanics, miners, railroad contractors and the army and navy.
The company, in addition to supplying a large domestic trade, does an enormous export business, supplying probably three-fourths of all the handles that are shipped to England, Germany, Australia and other foreign markets. To the large interest of this company Mr. Gates has given close and constant attention for years, becoming familiar with every detail of the business and to his efforts have been due, in the main, the gratifying success in business with which the Turner, Day & Woolworth Handle Company has met, and to-day it is the largest concern of its kind in the world. Like all forceful men Mr. Gates has been in demand from other or outside enterprises and corporations, but he has never consented to hold any salaried office. He has served as vice-president of the Louisville Park Commission; and as director of the Lincoln Savings Bank and of the Louisville Board of Trade. He is a member of the Louisville Commercial Club, of the Filson Club and of the Louisville Country Club. Mr. Gates has taken a lively interest in philanthropic and church work and affairs. He has served as president of the Presbyterian Alliance of Louisville, as an elder in the Presbyterian church and as chairman of the State Executive Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association and as president of the Presbyterian Orphan's Home.
Mr. Gates is a thorough believer in association work, having been an active member of the Handle Manufacturers' Association of America, and having served as president of the Hickory Handle for a number of years. In commercial affairs he is possessed of keen penetration, the power of making a quick decision and firmness in maintaining his position once it is taken--essential attributes in a man who would dictate the policy of a great corporation. He maintains an attitude of open fearlessness and absolute frankness in business relations so much that he cannot forgive or condone the lack of these traits in a competitor. Perhaps the recent words of an intimate associate of Charles D. Gates best sum up his dominant characteristics: "When he goes after anything he usually gets it, and when he gets anything good he is always willing to share it." In politics Mr. Gates is a stanch Republican, but he has never sought political honors.
In 1884 Mr. Gates was united in marriage with Miss Lallie S. Davison. Mrs. Gates come of an old, prominent and well connected Kentucky family. They have a delightful home, pleasant and congenial, where their friends meet with the most generous hospitality.