It’s been a strange sort of Summer here at Hill Hardware Store. In spite of the pandemic, we’ve been very busy, with in-store sales running 30-50% higher than normal. That keeps me hopping pretty good and I haven’t had time to add to the blog. Things are starting to slow a little now that Labor Day has passed and hopefully I can write a little something for you. Lately with the election coming up there has been a lot on the news about how divided we are in America, and how this is a bad thing. Well, I’ve been working on dividing things here at the store and for us its leading to good things.
Of course I’m not talking about divided voters, I’m talking about plumbing fittings. One of the shelves in my plumbing department had some poorly executed dividers on it and one night the whole thing spilled out onto the counter. I decided that it was time to act, so I cleared the whole mess aside and started from scratch. As our store building is not exactly modern, pushing 140 years old, we don’t have what you would call modern retail shelving. There are many different set-ups through the store, but this section has wood shelves with glass dividers on them. I don’t know how old this system is, but I remember them from the Woolworth’s store from my youth. They consist of reconfigurable glass partitions hooked together with special metal clips. It’s kind of like glass and metal Tinkertoys. They had used this system to set up the shelf originally, but whoever did it, construction toys were not their forte.
Part of the problem originally was the fact that the dividers were not trimmed to length correctly and were not anchored to the shelf adequately. There weren’t enough anchor plates, but I figured out a way to modify some I had a surplus of that were made to be used on perforated metal shelving. By flattening them out and drilling a hole for a wood screw to pass through, I could use them instead of the regular type.
The other problem was to trim the glass plates to the required length to fit the shelf better. You can’t really “cut” glass, so instead I scored it with a glass cutter and then set it up in my workbench vise to snap it off. It is much heavier glass than normal window glass, being almost a quarter of an inch thick. It cut OK though, although it snapped with an alarming report. Once cut, the glass fit neatly into the anchor plates and then special connector and corner pieces clipped the ends together.
Once the frame was laid out, I filled in the interior to create different sized compartments to store all the items that I needed. Once it was finished, I sorted the plumbing items into their new homes and called it a day. So you see, this once, division was a good thing, here at the Old Hardware Store…