|He Got Rid of the Splinters|
Back in the 1950's, when Bill Caldwell was a 26 year old sales engineer for Monsanto in Montreal, the average Canadian bathroom had a wooden toilet seat. The careful user always watched out for splinters.
But Bill had plans to change all that. He watched the introduction of the plastic toilet seat in the United States, and saw it as a golden opportunity.
Bill quit his job December 31, 1955. The following day January 1, 1956, he started his own company ... 'Moldex Ltd.' in Barrie, Ontario. Why Barrie and not Montreal where he and wife Shirley lived? Bill told me it was a simple case of. .. "detailed financial research. I searched all over to find financing. The only people who would invest were my relatives in Barrie. They wanted the plant in Barrie so they could keep an eye on me and their money."
They need not have worried. Bill's idea to get into plastics was solid gold. His plastic seats caught on, and eventually captured sixty percent of the Canadian market and a major share of the U.S. market as well as England and the Far East. Producing eleven thousand toilet seats per day.
In 1986, Bill formed another unrelated company, 'United Extrusions' of Orangeville, Ontario. United made corrugated tubing for agricultural drainage, wiring harnesses for cars, sewer pipes and other assorted products. Two years ago at age 60, Bill sold both companies for ten million dollars net. Now living in supposed retirement his wife Shirley told me ...
"He's busier now than ever doing the things he's always wanted to do."
Those things include a lot of community service work and hobbies which include skiing, tennis, boating, and studying history.
Does Bill miss the ups and downs of the toilet seat business? .. "No sir . ..I haven't had a moment of restlessness. .. we winter in Florida, but return at least once a month to keep in touch. ['m on the board of two companies and that's enough."
Bill Caldwell, the man who took the splinters out of Canadian bathrooms. Another Canadian Achiever.
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