History of Black Hawk County, Iowa
Seventy years have elapsed since the first permanent white settlers built their humble log cabins within the present confines of Black Hawk County. To gather the chronicles of the period covered and to present those most likely to interest the greatest number of readers has been the endeavor of the writer hereof.
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Ferdinand E. Cutler is the president of the Cutler Hardware Company, one of the leading wholesale establishments of Waterloo. He occupied a prominent position among the enterprising, alert and progressive business men of the city, in which he has made his home for forty-eight years, or since 1866. He was born in Canada and during his early childhood his parents removed with their family to Lockport, New York, where he was reared and educated. He removed from that city to Iowa and, establishing his home in Waterloo, became one of the early merchants of Black Hawk county. Here he engaged in the grocery and hardware business as junior partner in the firm of Weatherwax & Cutler. That relation was maintained for several years, but in 1871, Mr. Cutler sold out, in order to organize the firm of Crittenden & Cutler, dealing exclusively in hardware. A change in the partnership in 1873 led to the adoption of the firm style of Cutler & Parker and this was continued until the incorporation of the business in 1891 under the name of Cutler Hardware Company. Through all these years Mr. Cutler was the active and managing partner of the business and when the company was incorporated in 1891 he became the president and now is the principal owner of the plant. The business was capitalized for twenty-four thousand four hundred dollars and in the early period trade was conducted only along retail lines, but soon after the incorporation they began a wholesale business on a small scale. Their patronage in that direction increased so rapidly that in 1901 they discontinued the retail business and since then have conducted an exclusive wholesale hardware establishment. In 1910 they erected their present business block, which is sixty by one hundred and forty feet and is five stories in height. The building has been constructed with so broad a frame and foundation that two more stories can be added if necessary and is especially arranged for their business with an eye to convenience. This building is constructed of steel and cement throughout and is practically the only true fireproof building in the state of Iowa. They now employ about thirty-five people, while their trade covers Iowa and southern Minnesota. The capital stock and surplus at the present time is one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars — a fact indicative of the continued growth and prosperity of the enterprise. Mr. Cutler as the founder and active head of the business deserves great credit for building up this important commercial undertaking, which ranks among the foremost wholesale mercantile interests of Waterloo. Something of his high standing in business circles is indicated in the fact that he was honored with the presidency of the Iowa State Hardware Jobbers' Association for three or four years. Mr. Cutler was one of the founders of this organization. For the past three years, also, he has been on the membership committee of the National Hardware Jobbers' Association. He is widely known in trade circles and his business ability and personal worth have gained him high regard.