The firm was organized in 1864 and was led by 3 family generations, George Noble Stearns (1812 -1882), his children Avis Stearns Van Wagenen (1841-1907) and Edward Carl Stearns (1856-1929), grandson John Edward Stearns (1895-1979), plus Van Wagenen’s son-in-law Herbert E. Maslin. Avis Stearns Van Wagenen is noteworthy as the only woman with a leadership position in a major American hardware company, and she has a Wikipedia page.
|Avis Stearns Van Wagenen, Edward Carl Stearns, Herbert E. Maslin|
E.C. Stearns Catalog No. 34, cement tools pages
In the late 1880s Stearns began to make mechanical products, beginning with bicycles (including a shaft-drive bicycle) and lawn mowers, followed by automobiles, typewriters, and adding machines. As the decades passed, Stearns shifted production away from hardware and tools.
|Stearns factory, 224 Oneida St., Syracuse|
In 1935 the factory relocated from the 1882 buildings at 224 Oneida St. to Eastwood, now part of Syracuse. By 1956 E.C. Stearns was in bankruptcy, and the owners were brothers Edward M. Grandinetti (1912-1990) and Louis Anthony Grandinetti (1914-1998).
"Hearings on a reorganization filed under the Bankruptcy Act by the E. C. Stearns & Co. Inc., have been adjourned until April 10 to obtain further progress reports on the business. The petition was filed Feb. 1 by the brother-owners of the company, Edward Grandinetti of 106 Wilson Pl. [Syracuse], and Louis Grandinetti of 64 Ely Dr., Fayetteville. The company manufactures lawn mowers and power mowers. The petition asks for an extension of the company's credit time. It is not a liquidation petition and business is going on as usual, according to Laurence Sovik who is representing the Grandinettis."
|E.C. Stearns & Co. No. 128 Edger, nickel plated|