The Stanleys

  Both Stanley twins were innovative at a young age, rigging up a little mill (waterwheel) at a steep drop off between two pounds at the age of nine. They also manufactured tops when they were nine. By the age of ten, they manufactured seven inch wweaving spools, which were part of a warping bar for a loom. By age eleven, they ciphered through Greenleaf’s Introduction to the National Arithmetic.                                                                                                                                           The Stanleys’ whittling skills were so renowned that stories persist that the early machinists’ patterns for Stanley cars were hand-carved by the brothers. The actual patterns for automotive parts were no doubt professionally machined, but the legend, like so many other Stanley stories, may have some validity. As a visitor to the Stanley Works in 1903 disdainfully noted: “There is not one single intelligible drawing in the Stanley factory. When anything new is required, pencil sketches are sometimes made, and more times Stanley tells the men what he wants, or makes it with his own hands… the completed thing itself… being simply repeated from the model…” – the “Yankee Whittling Boys” in action. (Dolnar 1903b: p.211.)
The Twins’ father, Solomon Stanley 2nd (1813-1889), was a man of principle, an abolitionist and an early advocate of the Temperance Movement, although he was not always a sound judge of the same qualities in others. While he tended to his duties as schoolmaster he entrusted the operation of his dry goods store to an unscrupulous partner, a drinker and a gambler, who subsequently abandoned the business leaving Solomon heavily in debt. Solomon felt honor-bound to repay his creditors and struggled for years to redeem his reputation, efforts for which he was revered in his hometown. His ordeal impressed upon his children the rewards of staying true to one’s ideals and of making good on one’s commitments, as well as the need for honesty and caution in partnerships and business dealings, the avoidance of debt, and adherence to the principles of temperance. (Emmons 1916: pp.6-7.)