Two Chicago commuters create Tinkertoys

By Caryl Clem:

Conversations about the lack of job satisfaction formed an unlikely friendship between a tombstone engraver and a young grain stock broker Chicago commuters on their ride home to Evanston.  Charles Pajeau had graduated from Chicago’s Harvard Boys School taking engineering classes. He dreamed of entering the toy market. 

Charles Pajeau observed children playing daily with wooden spools that had holes placing various size sticks  and pencils to create objects while Robert Pettit had noticed wealthy children  quickly becoming bored with toys.  Pajeau invented rounded wooden circles with 45 degree angle holes on the sides and one on top. This design allowed endless possibilities to place sticks to create right triangles as a base for construction. In 1914 the two men blended their resources to open Toy Tinkers Inc.  located in Pajeaus basement at 325 Greenwood Avenue Evanston.

The toy was packaged in a tin can sitting on shelves at cigar stores and newsstands that first Christmas in 1914.  The sales the first Christmas were less than promising. Chicago area retail stores thought the tin can packaging was not worthy of elaborate window displays Pajeau tried to start. Eager to expand his market, Pajeau traveled to New York to advertise in a window display.  Key traffic areas in New York on 34th and Broadway, Grand Central Station and Macy have promoted this educational toy to inspire future builders of America. A showroom featured Tinkertoys at 200 Fifth Avenue. The production by 1915 was 900,000 sets.

Advertising exposure with product expansion, adding an electric motor, rustic Lincoln Log sets appeared Erector sets increase building designs meant total sales soared to over 6 million during the 1919 Christmas season.  By 1947, Tinker toys made Illinois the third biggest state in toy manufacturing. Pajeau served his employees coffee, lunch, and built exercise facilities. In 1964 the Charles H. and Grace F.  Pajeau Children’s Foundation was begun to raise money for underprivileged and needy children. 

The pure joy to see a creation you built is ageless.  I had a Lincoln Log set I inherited from my older brother. On days I needed to feel like I could conquer the world, I would empty the can on the floor. Time passed while I imagined building the first homestead with a relative.  Proof of a successful venture took shape in my hands. By dinnertime, I went downstairs with more confidence to face the world.  Research has shown that Tinker toys play a critical role for the brain to form spatial relationships and has been used in studies to build team management skills

Sales remain strong in company that has changed ownership 6 times; the current owner is Hasbro Corp. of Central Falls, R.I.   The 100 plus year company has an exhibit, the “Toys of Yesteryear” at the Lakeside Historical Society.    Information about what the “tinker men” created in Evanston can be found at Evanston Historical Society.  The Chicago Museum collection includes Tinker toys. Tinker toy is a member of the National Toy Hall of Fame.  A toy encouraging creative building will never be obsolete.

Girl Scouts and cookies

Of course, I was a Brownie, no Daisy then and Junior Girl Scout who tried to sew badges on my Girl Scout sash…to no avail. Mom was not the sewing type. I remember attending some meetings in a friend’s basement and do remember attending a talent show with my troop at McCormick Place. Ultimately, though, it was all about cookies and awards even back in the 1960’s. Our favorite question was; would you like to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies? We sold sometimes outside of stores like Goldblatts in South Chicago or the Jewel in Downers Grove in later years. But most of the time, we went door to door. There was no internet or fear of strangers but there was thin mints which the neighborhood seemed to enjoy the most. We didn’t sell at school and my Mother was a firm believer to not call her friends. I traipsed through the neighborhood, trying to pick out homes where I knew people would buy especially if I was doing this yearly. I don’t remember winning anything.

During the 1960s, it was a huge time since Baby Boomers really expanded the Girl Scout Troops and cookie sales boomed. Fourteen licensed bakers were mixing batter for thousands upon thousands of Girl Scout Cookies annually. By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.

Juliette Gordon Low began Girlscouts with small group in 1912. She was also known as Daisy. According to the Girl Scouts main site, there are over 2.6 million Girl Scouts (1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults) in 92 countries and more than 50 million alums, united across distance and decades by lifelong friendships, shared adventures, and the desire to do big things to make the world a better place, During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Girl Scouts did fight for racial equality and Girl Scouts elected its first African American national board president, Gloria D. Scott. Girl Scouts established the Daisy level for kindergarten-aged girls as interest in Girl Scouting expanded in the 1980’s.

In the 1990’s my daughter was not interested in Girl Scouts but there was always somebody in the neighborhood selling cookies and I always bought from the first that still came to the door. Girl Scouts received a technology badge since computers were making there way to every home and business. Girl Scouts entered the first few years of the new millennium focused on the healthy development of girls, establishing the Girl Scout Research Institute to conduct studies and report findings. And most of all, there were eight cookie varieties including low fat and sugar free cookies to chose.

Today technology still plays a huge a role in learning but outside activities such as climbing and swimming are extremely important for the health and welfare of young girls as well as cookies!!!!!! I just bought them a few weeks ago from a teacher at school whose daughter sells them and has won awards. Today, there are Toast-YAY, Lemon Ups, Lemonades, Shortbread, Tagalongs, Samoas, Toffee Tastic, Do Si dos, S’mores, Caramel Chocolate Chip and still……….THIN MINTS!!!! Always and forever!

Want to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?

Chicago Black-owned restaurant legends

By Caryl Clem:

Hunger unites all ages and cultures allowing color taste buds complete control.  Discovering appealing recipes has successfully propelled many Chicago black owned restaurant establishments. 

The oldest place was founded by the late Harold Pierce in 1950. His daughter recalls her father’s story. When he was a youngster the preacher would come to his home for the Sunday fried chicken dinner. Even if he wanted second helpings, the preacher had the first opportunity to refills that left nothing for him. He would tell himself that someday he would be in charge of his own chicken restaurant eating as much as he desired. Guided by his determination and faith in the family chicken recipe, Harold opened “Harold’s Chicken” on Kimbark in Chicago, another location is currently in Jeffery Manor.

The original menu featured  cooking the entire chicken with a mild sauce side including southern style gizzards and livers. Now chicken wings, catfish, shrimp, fries, fried green tomatoes and their famous mild and hot sauce are menu attractions. Harold’s Chicken is managed by his grandchildren in Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California plus the Chicago locations. Franchising Harold’s Chicken is possible in the near future as plans are made for Chicago flagship locations according to daughter Kristin Pierce-Sherrod.

For over 65 years, Lem’s Bar- B –Q has served hickory smoked rib tips using their unique seasoning blend and handmade hotlinks. Two brothers, Myles and Bruce Lemons, were passionate to operate their own restaurant. Lem’s Bar-B-Q started in 1954 featuring the special sauce formally trained Chef Myles had created.  Like the Jay’s Chips commercial, one taste was never enough. Expanding their business in 1968 required hiring additional staff,  James Lemons, a talented pit master trained chef.  Family members’ strength has kept their success going.  Sister Lynn Harvey and her sister Carmen Lemons carry on the successful family secrets.

Established favorites include Old Fashioned Donuts in Roseland where Burritt Bullock in his 80’s still  fries up delectable apple fritters that can be topped off with finely chopped peanuts. His own recipe for raised glazed doughnuts remains the menu star.  Having worked for a doughnut business, he later opened his own shop with his wife. Sadly his wife died in 2009. Burritt’s 2 daughters are part of the team. More than doughnuts, grill favorites are served while these young women encourage their father to try new ideas. Another family strong legend, Taurus Flavors. Beginning in 1966, literally taking the success bull by the horns, a humble hoagie sandwich and variety of flavors ice cream shop invented the Supreme Steak Sandwich.  A car wiped out the front of their business in June, 2019. You can order online from the 85th street location.

Black chefs have had a history of providing the best food for centuries, beginning at the White House with Hercules and James Hemings under our founding fathers. Black chef’s knack for creating tasty food is alive and well in Chicago.

Currently, 100 plus Black owned restaurants operate in the Chicago area. Check out at the restaurants in this article published in Infatuation.

Candy through the decades

It was Cozy Corner that we walked to on the southside of Chicago for our favorite candy in the 1960’s. My mother was not big on allowances but sometimes she gave me money just for this treat. There was candy buttons Marla loved along with sunflower seeds. There was Choo Choo Charlie, just an engineer, who loved his Good N Plenty if you remember the commercial. I picked as many packs of Bazooka gum that I could afford with the comics. I did like Bubble Gum Cigars and Cigarettes. I did like real cigarettes for awhile but gave those up. There was Charm Sweet Pops as well as assorted Charms. I liked Chuckles and every girl had to have a pastel, colored, candy necklace. The boys seemed to like wax bottles, Satellite wafers and we all enjoyed Pez dispensers. One friend could not get enough of Tootsie rolls. Some had enough money to buy a bag of enjoyed MMs, plain… not peanut.

I also liked spending my money on gold and silver coins; of course, chocolate ones. Another love that was created in 1967 was Lindor truffles by Lindt; that is still a last minute stocking stuffer for me in 2021. Through the decades, family would bring gifts of Chicago’s very own Fannie May for the holidays and the Marshall Field Frango mint chocolates were on everybody’s list.

And candy bars is a whole new story which included Three Musketeers, Milky Ways, Kit Kat Bars, Chocolate Dove Bars and Snickers. Strangely enough, in 2010 Snicker bars was awarded the most popular candy originally created in 1930.

In the 1970’s, it was also a time for Andes Mints and Big Red Gum. Blow Pops were popular along with Bubblicious bubble gum; the watermelon flavor which I did not like. Eighties children loved Airheads in several flavors and Big League chewing gum. Chewy Cubbie Cubs were always bought in bulk and a favorite. My children loved Dove dark chocolate bars in the 1990’s along with Icee Spray Candy. But I really liked the bubble tape…..it would go on and on….too much gum! Jolly Ranchers was my son’s favorite; always a stock stuffer. while my daughter enjoyed Good N Plenty; still her favorite today. My significant other; Reese’s Peanut Butter.

Now with the Harry Potter rage, in the 2000’s, you can treat yourself to Bertie Botts beans which were flavored jelly beans. Herseys kissables came out in 2005 and Pretzel M*Ms in 2010. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Pretzels Miniatures came out in 2020.

I could go on and on and so can the types of candy available. My treats today are still chocolate in all shapes and sizes along with a special coffee and probably get just as excited about it than ever before. Old Time Candy offers some great candy organized by favorites, decades, flavor and holidays. There is also a selection of retro toys. Amazon also offers some great vintage candy gift boxes celebrating specific decades.

Oscar Mayer Success Story

By Caryl Clem

The dreams of a 14 year old immigrant from Bavaria came true when he moved to Detroit in 1873 as a meat packing apprentice for six years. Moving ahead, Oscar Mayer and brother Gottfried leased Kolling Meat Market in Chicago. A few years later, he brought in another brother Max. Oscar Mayer promised his production of luncheon meats and bacon would guarantee honesty, integrity and quality of meat to customers. In 1906, Oscar Mayer had joined a federal meat inspection program. In 1909, Oscars son joined the company and they were successful. To gain customer’s trust the yellow band introduced in 1929 signified that the meat was inspected, and by 1971 dates were included for freshness.

Oscar Mayer create novel advertising methods.  Since 1936 spotting the 27 foot long Weinermobile can happen anywhere in the United States. Naturally the interior has slick mustard leather seats and saucy ketchup red velvet seats complete with a Weinermobile logo.  A bun roof lets the sunshine in, illuminating a very groovy ride. The Hotdogger driver, required to be hot dog lover, keeps the Oscar Mayer name alive by passing out Weinerwhistles. As a marketing representative, the Wienermobile has a tour schedule and can be leased for special events through Twitter.  To the disappointment of many who have surrounded the Weinermobile, there is no food available. 

 In 1963 Richard Trentlage wrote a song I can remember singing about being the wiener everyone loves.  Sounding an alert to your taste buds on the radio the “Oscar Mayer Wiener Jingle” increased demand. Today’s favorite is the cheese filled dog that is even starring in a You Tube endorsement.  In 1965, Oscar Mayer featured its first T.V. advertisement.  In 1976 Oscar Mayer went on the New York Stock Exchange, the same year “The Bologna” song with the unforgettable lyric: My Bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R, My Bologna has a last name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R, OH, and I love to eat it every day. The Oscar Mayer Company’s journey is a combination of keen business practices and the magic of innovative marketing. In 1989 Oscar Mayer joined Kraft Foods.  By the 1990’s there were 10 plants producing the brand names Oscar-Mayer, Lunchables Lunch Combinations, Carving Board Meats, Louis Rich, and Claus-sen pickles. Headquarters are in Madison, Wisconsin.

The business icon, Oscar Mayer by 2010 started charity programs to feed the children and promote animal welfare.  Removal of unhealthy artificial preservatives, nitrates, and by products was done in 2017. Inspiring hot dog lovers to climb higher introduced in 2018 a space hero Super Hotdogger who carries a powered jet pack.   When not in space, Super Hotdogger rides in the Weinermobile. The 1958 Weinerwhistle popularity was blowing away.  From the beginning, Oscar Mayer claimed its products were made with love, the ingredient that has resulted in over 135 years of success

YMCA’s history includes link to Chicago connections

By Caryl Clem:

A London gentleman, George Williams, started a movement on June 6, 1844 dismayed by the deplorable living conditions in cities. The organization Young Men’s Christian Association aspired to the goals of providing safe places to socially gather, explore education and share in worship. YMCA’s were a safe haven.  A retired merchant marine captain worried about the safety of sailors and merchants traveling to Boston. Sea trade was the basis for the majority of goods arriving in America, providing safe shelter would build financial security for everyone involved.   Places sponsored by the YMCA were established in Boston by the early 1850’s.

The theme to build a better community by working together kept expanding the impact of YMCA. After a meeting with President Lincoln, a volunteer force of 5,000 surgeons, nurses, and chaplains were supplying the soldiers with clothing, medical treatments, and company while distributing 1,000 Bibles during the Civil War. Adding to safe lodging, military assistance, and immigrations services, YMCA built its first gym in 1869 to promote healthy living and body building. Chicago was the first large dormitory to house YMCA members, Farwell Hall constructed in 1867 that would serve as a model for future construction. Another Chicago first was a YMCA hotel built in 1916 since the membership was doubling in size.  Future Chicago YMCA hotel register lists recorded famous names such as award winning journalists Andy Rooney and Dan Rather, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X.  

The president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., Mr. Rosenwald was a leader promoting and funding building African American YMCA facilities in Chicago and across the country in 1911.  Americans taking road trips during the 1920’s through the 1940’s, could find 100,000rooms in YMCA hotel lodgings more than any hotel chain.    Exploring Chicago and Milwaukee in the late 1960’s cost $5.00 when I shared a double bed room with another college girlfriend.

 Playing ball has forever been a favorite American pastime.  In 1896 “volleyball” was invented in a YMCA in Mass., in Colorado in 1926 “ softball” was introduced into league games by the YMCA,   the term “ racquetball” was coined at a YMCA in Conn. in 1956.  Pairing with the Red Cross, swimming lessons were sponsored by the YMCA. In 1923, the first YMCA summer camp was in Volvo, Illinois, and Camp Duncan.  By 1958 over 13 summer camp locations in three states were managed by the YMCA.

Even the YMCA can “modernize”, dropping the old term for “Y”. The male gender membership started changing after WWII, now the organization includes all members of a family.  Current issues of feeding hungry children and understanding diversity are included in the variety of programs available. One study estimated that the “Y” has positively influenced at least 70% of Americans. 

The “Y” remains a vibrant entity; inspiring Y success stories are available online

Celebrating Walgreens

One hundred and twenty years old born in 1901, I remember some of my early trips to Walgreens on the south side of Chicago more for a chocolate shake at the small diner. Walgreens was truly famous for their malted milk shake that they created in 1922. The first self-service Walgreens opened on Chicago’s South Side in June 1952; the second followed in a few months at Evergreen Plaza. I remember traveling to Evergreen Plaza on the bus with a girlfriend in the late 1960’s and stopping at Walgreens for either a snack or a great place to purchase candy. My Mom shopped at Walgreens to pick up women or men’s perfume for the holidays. I also remember attending a party at the Walgreens home in Lake Forest in the 1980’s; attending a thank you party for theater they sponsored. They were very pleasant and down to earth.

Working at Horton’s Drugstore (for $4 a week) was a job he took only because of an accident that left him unable to take part in sports. While working in a local shoe factory, Walgreen accidentally cut off the top joint of his middle finger, ending his athletic competition. Walgreen became a pharmacist and left for Chicago. He worked for a variety of drug stores taking in what could be done and what should not be during the late 1890’s. it was not until 1901 that Walgreen was able to put together enough money for the down payment on the pharmacy. He wanted to buy the store in which he was working, owned by Isaac Blood. The store was located in the Barret Hotel at Cottage Grove and Bowen Avenue on the southside of Chicago.

After creating the malted milk shake, there were 44 stores expanding into Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Walgreens Charles Walgreen Sr. died in 1939, his son Charles R. Walgreen Jr. took over the chain until his retirement.Charles Walgreen III became the company’s president in 1969 and retired in 1999. However, he remained on the board of director until 2010. Some major milestones for the company happened in 1984 when Walgreen opened this one thousandth store. The five thousandth store was opened in 2005 and the eight thousandth store was opened in 2012. In 2014, Walgreens took its products and services to the four corners of the world with the completion of its merger with Alliance Boots, a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group

Currently, it operates more than 9,000 Walgreens drugstores. . The drugstores are in all fifty states, including the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico The Walgreens headquarters office is in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.

Chicago’s Music Row and Motor Row

My mother and Grandmother used to play so my parents bought their Kimball piano in 1946. I, too, took lessons as a child and played for many years on the same piano. Today, I still have the piano that I sometimes play though it is clearly out of tune and the ivory keys are chipping. Between Adams and Van Buren, on Wabash in the South Loop, it used to be known as “Music Row”. Nearby, my parents purchased their Kimball on Jackson which is now the DePaul Law School. Kimball’s robust business declined in the 1950’s even though they were a giant when it came to pianos and organs. If tuned, my Kimball consolette is probably worth a fortune.

Also on Music Row, according to Antique Piano Shop, The Steger Piano Company was established in 1879 by John V. Steger.  In 1892, the company was established as The Steger & Sons Piano Manufacturing Company. John Steger left Chicago and founded the nearby town of Steger, Illinois, in order to establish the Steger piano factory there.

Across the street was the Lyon and Healy, established in 1864 as a sheet music shop still headquartered in Chicago. By the end of the 19th century, they manufactured musical instruments. Harps, guitars, mandolins, banjos, and brass and percussion instruments. Founded by George Lyons and Patrick Healy, their harps are probably the most popular played by professional musicians including the Chicago Symphony orchestra; considered the best in craftmanship.

Motor Row was directly west of McCormick Place Convention Center including buildings on Michigan Avenue between 2200 and 2500 south and others at approximately 2200 Indiana Ave and Wabash. The district was established between 1905 and 1936 where hundreds of vehicles were sold and repaired. Old autos such as Hudson and Pierce Arrow were available and showcased in rooms on Motor Row. Over 50 buildings occupied the area and stretched over a mile; the most illustrious automobile neighborhood.

The City of Chicago designated the strip for redevelopment as a new entertainment and dining district in McCormick Place area.  Check out the new Motor Row. The former showrooms of Ford, Buick, Cadillac, Hudson, Locomobile, Marmon, are being redeveloped into theater, restaurant, bar, nightclubs, hotel and retail storefronts. Though not sure how Covid has created problems, Motor Row now offers a wonderful working class brewery, Windy City Playhouse as well as a variety of upscale restaurants and bars; a new way to celebrate the New Year.

Portillo’s: A big hot dog deal

By Caryl Clem:

Who purchases a 6 by 12 foot dog house shaped trailer to sell hot dogs even though he has never cooked one? A young frustrated ex-Marine who has left 14 jobs in 18 months was willing to take that gamble. As the Chicago Tribune reported, Dick Portillo was newly married and his mother in law and Brown’s Chicken manager brother encouraged him to try the food industry. In 1963, his trailer named The Dog House was his first attempt to become a hot dog king which opened in Villa Park.

In his autobiography, Out of the Dog House, Dick reports his first customers were served overcooked dogs on dry or burned buns.  Dick’s military background had taught him how to investigate any situation. He went to a popular hot dog restaurant, studied how hot dogs were prepared, buns steamed and even snuck into the storeroom area to take a sample of their relish.  He perfected his basic menu of Hot Dogs, Italian beef, Italian sausage and Polish sausage sandwiches resulting in a steady stream of customers. Dick believed his business would continue to grow if he provided product quality, friendly customer service, a welcoming positive attitude and evident, consistent cleanliness.  In 1967, the business was renamed Portillo’s adding more locations around Chicago.

Dick Portillo used his boundless energy to visit his restaurants on a regular basis.  After watching how customers waited in line he improved food service time. Menu options expand to include fish, salads, pasta, cheese fries, his world famous chocolate cake (made from his daughter-in-law Gina’s recipe) and the chocolate cake shake. Years ago, he was in Downers Grove, Illinois and watched from a parking lot a young mother struggling to control her children’s actions. He could clearly see how drive through windows would increase serving food to families with young children.

Dick Portillo credits his success to the training and maintaining of loyal employees.   The average Portillo location employs between 150-200 people.  Long haul workers who have served for 20 years have been gifted Caribbean cruises. When Portillo decided to open in California, he bused over 2,000 people to his Grand Opening including Marines from the base where he was once stationed, Camp Pendleton. Currently, Portillo’s has over 60 locations in 7 states. Portillo’s was sold to Berkshire Partner’s in 2013.

The real key to Portillo’s success is customer’s taste buds craving more proven by the fact that one location in Chicago grosses over 17 million in sales a year. When mentioning writing about Portillo’s, I heard about a pre-teen young lady named Olivia who lives near Downers Grove. She is a bright light in a classroom and talented student fighting cancer. She has told a teacher that her favorite restaurant is Portillo’s; especially enjoying their cheese fries. She is undergoing daily radiation treatment for several weeks; driving to Luries Childrens Hospital from the southwest suburbs everyday and returning home early evening. The family would love gift cards to restaurants which would be gratefully appreciated to ease the burden surrounding Olivia’s lifesaving care at this time. You may contact Olivia’s Mom on her Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/annamaria.parker.

Admiring the ingenuity of Admiral Corporation

By Caryl Clem

Ross Siragusa had worked summers testing and building transformers at the Jefferson Electric Company. He had started using company equipment to test out his own ideas. This risk taking teenager was fired for not following lab use procedures.  In 1924 after graduating from Loyola High Academy, confident Ross, 18 years old, asked for his father’s blessings to set up his business sharing space with him in a cobbler shop located in the garage.  A legendary Chicago Industrialist in the radio and television market originated under his first sign that read, “Transformer Corporation of America”.

Four years later, his long hours and innovative talent moved the fledgling company to a 4th floor factory at 2309 S Keeler Avenue in Lawndale supplying radio parts around the world. Receiver production expanded the radio market; he introduced his popular classy, eloquent Clarion design radio.

 The stock market crash swept him into instant debt. Ross faced financial failure that he spent the next three years trying to pay.  Ross never lost his determined to start over. His spirited fascination for new product development was inspired by viewing a television at the 1933 World’s Fair.  Fast forward, his company would sell in 1951 , a radio, record player cabinet with a 20 inch T.V set feature black/white with color as an option for $1,000 dollars, adjust to a value of $8,000 today. 

Gambling on his ability to succeed, he sold personal property, factory equipment, and borrowed money to secure funds.  Another garage luck charm from a friend started his new company in 1934, Continental Radio and Television Corporation.  Siragusa knew he was facing stiff competition from credible Chicago based supplies made by with Zenith and Motorola.  His financially responsible reputation allowed him to reconnect with former suppliers. Ross centered his efforts on portable, less expensive, stylish radio models that any consumer could afford.

 In 1936 he bought the trademark “Admiral” for his product line that later would become the company name. His first plant was in 1937 at 3800 West Cortland. By 1950, Admiral manufacturing employed more than 6,000 workers, a leader in radio, record players, and television.

Ross spent money on newspaper advertising, for example, “Here’s a radio you’ll get a tremendous thrill out of owning! So smart, with its golden-mesh metal grille and dial . . . so contrasting in choice of Ivory, Beige, Green or Mahogany cabinet colors. So low-priced for the performance it gives! This is the new radio you have been looking for!” —Newspaper ad for the $24.95 Admiral Deluxe Table Radio, 1955

Admiral was in constant demand.  Ross was a millionaire by the age of 44 in 1950 because of his uncanny ability to select a model and style at the best price for consumer popularity and loyalty. During his entire career, Siragusa kept expanding the range of his product line.  A true Chicago entrepreneur, honest, dedicated, believing there were no limits to hard work and ambition.