Celebrating the women of Schlage.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re taking a look at a mere few of the contributions women have made at Schlage since the company’s founding in 1920.
Research continually shows that the more contributions come from a diverse workforce, the more successful the business. While women are largely underrepresented in the manufacturing industry – early 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 29.4 percent of manufacturing jobs are held by women – Schlage has employed women in a variety of roles throughout its history.
Even as a young company 100 years ago when women in the workplace was a rarity, Schlage did not limit women to clerical work. Records and photographs from the 1940s and 50s, for example, show women employed at nearly every stage of the manufacturing process.
Schlage depends on its employees’ innovation to help keep your homes and businesses safe. Founder Walter Schlage was a prolific inventor with more than 200 U.S. and global patents, and we continue that legacy a century later.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, just 12 percent of patent-earning inventors in 2016, regardless of industry, were women.
Community and family first
Employees throughout the years have remarked on Schlage’s welcoming atmosphere, perhaps a result of the company being family-run for so long. Walter Schlage’s son, Ernest, was eventually vice president of the company and director of research, while Marron Kendrick took over company presidency upon the retirement of his own father, Charles, in 1953.
That family atmosphere often inspires lifelong loyalty to Schlage, the company’s values and its commitment to making homes, businesses and communities more secure.
A former employee of nearly 35 years, Elayne Snyder said in a recent interview, “It was so easy to work for them. And everybody was congenial, you know what I mean? Which, again, I think that’s what makes Schlage so unique and why these people after all these years are still bound together as a family.”
Elayne Snyder, left, and Edna Gregory, right, handle the complete servicing of stock warehouse orders.
Snyder had a rather comprehensive career at Schlage, starting as a file clerk in 1959. Before retiring more than three decades later, her myriad titles also included San Francisco Warehouse Manager, Research and Sales Forecaster Analyst, and Sales Communications Manager. “They gave me opportunities I probably would have never had, had I worked for another company,” she wrote of Schlage in a letter to the company last month. “They were wonderful to work for. I am proud to have been associated with them for so many years.”
Following World War II, even after production returned to door hardware as usual, Schlage continued to support the nation’s soldiers. This support was particularly meaningful to the community as Schlage was still based in San Francisco at the time. The language from this 1946 internal newsletter – “Schlage Girls on Short Cruise” – is admittedly outdated by today’s standards, but it is just one example of Schlage employees’ contributions, however minor, during wartime.
“Who says there’s no patriotism left, now that the war’s over? Schlage Lock Company girls proved differently when twenty of them arose at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 1, so that they could be aboard the U.S.S. Cavanaugh when she sailed through the Golden Gate at 6:30 a.m.
“Guests of the U.S. Army, the girls went out to sea to meet four shiploads of veterans returning from the South Pacific. As the Cavanaugh neared the inbound troopships, the girls lined the rail with handkerchiefs fluttering in the breeze, and welcoming smiles on their lovely faces.”
Schlage’s Social Club was incredibly active through the first half of the century, but it wasn’t just fun and games. One late-1940s record tells how the group sold nearly $400 worth of hams to send Christmas gifts to the Mount St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum in San Francisco. One of the Sisters of the asylum later wrote to Schlage, “We were all so thrilled when the television and High-Fidelity sets arrived and then your most generous check! You may believe me when I assure you that such kindness and thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated by all.”
Many of today’s Schlage employees annually take part in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Allegion Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Shelley Meador was recently published in TechPoint discussing the impact of heart disease on the career success of young women in the technology industry.
Schlage thanks the innovators, the problem-solvers, the providers and the big-thinkers, not just at our own company but among architects, designers and builders as well. For more home history and to help Schlage celebrate its 100th anniversary, visit Schlage.com/100.