As a semi-retired museum worker, I am keen to see business history captured for the future. Creating your ‘archives’ as you go, whether paper or artifacts…. can help you be ready when your company’s anniversary comes around.
Capturing your business history contributes to the historical knowledge and the local business footprint of activity for your area. As time goes on and new families come to town…. a little of the past will remain for them.
Artifacts can take any form…. often promotional items sporting your logo…. pens, give-aways etc. Do you have an old ink blotting pad, an old paper wall calendar, a desk diary, or a calculator? These type of items are already obsolete in this modern day of technology.
Items in the picture above: company register and minute binder, corporate stamp/seal; unused IBM punch cards (circa 1970); vintage IBM flow chart template for use in preparing system and program flow charts by computer programmers; address book; ink and ink fountain pen; letter openers; staple remover, business folder (1991).
Maybe you have items that relate to your business activity? Found at the historic Alton Mill, (which was one of 8 mills in the village of Alton, Ontario, during the early 1900s), are these fascinating balloon moulds…. they relate to the Western Rubber Company, a latex business run on the site by Frederick Stubbs in 1935. Before this textiles were produced by Alton Knitting Mill (1881) run by John A Dods, then his sons until the early 1930s.
Over the years your graphic and logo may have changed. Noting when these changes took place, is useful to date your artifacts. A stationery set of business card, brochures and letterhead paper filed in chronicle order will do the trick.
Your official company seal is likely the first and main artifact to be cared for, along with your corporate articles, minute book and indenture papers.
Among your photographs will be staff, colleagues and customers too, people connections may have changed over the years, make a note of the names and dates on the back of photographs.
Notable documents might include certificates, awards, plaques and more.
Shared below are some recent business anniversaries I have spotted in local advertising. Congratulations go to:
Butcher Furniture – celebrating 60th anniversary
Dufferin Board of Trade – celebrating 110 years
Glen Echo Landscaping – celebrating 40 plus years
Start your archive now…. and write-up your business timeline ready for your next significant anniversary. Let me know if you need some help – it’s what I do!