Hardware. Today that word is related to computers more than it's original connotation which was implements and tools. The grandfather of tools is the hammer. It's partner is the nail which was invented around the 8th century B.C. and was preceded by the peg. Nails used to be so rare and valuable that early settlers in the western U.S. reportedly burned down their homes before moving to recover the nails. With every nail being hand forged back then, it is no surprise.
Also no surprise is that stores carrying nails, hammers, lanterns and saws were the first one's to set up in a new town, carrying a variety of other goods as well. T.J. Archer opened one of Tulsa's first as did the Lynch Brothers and H.O. McClure.
Eventually these stores evolved into ones that carried just about any and everything. Chances are that at one time or another everyone will find themselves at a hardware store in their lifetime. Of course, we now relate the term "hardware store" to two big chain stores out there. But, as with grocery stores, back in the day there was at least one in every neighborhood. Here are a few from Tulsa's past:
Shepherd Furniture & Hardware
Alhambra Appliances and Hardware - 15th and Peoria 1959
Clark Darland owned at least 2 stores; one downtown on Cincinnati and the other in Utica Square
Gates Hardware was on the NE corner of Elgin and Brady in the 1930s
During WWII hardware stores sold glue by the pound, resembling bricks of taffy. A furniture store would melt it and use it for making furniture. And paper sacks were not available during that time, so newspaper was used to wrap up a dozen bolts. Nails, nuts, bolts and screws were sold by the pound.
And it was the only place you could have a key made
Swinney's Hardware in Whittier Square, was a place to go for hard-to-find items. They kept their niche by carrying items such as plumbing parts for older fixtures, pumice stone polishing powder, tung oil, window glaze as well as bat houses and parts for old Zink furnaces. The store opened near Admiral and Lewis in 1934 as a used furniture store. Then, in 1941 they switched to selling hardware and took over Blakely Hardware at 14 N Lewis. They moved twice after that, always within the same neighborhood with their last location being 32 S. Lewis where they stayed for 67 years until 2008, when they closed.
Best Hardware is still around in Brookside!
"Every hardware store is a repository of literally centuries of knowledge and experience; that the tools and products they sell represent some of the most artfully--and practically--engineered items in existence." - The History Channel