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Marketing

Collection Creator:
Simmons Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
1896-1990s
Scope and Contents:
Series 2: Marketing, 1896-1990s, undated.

Subseries 2.1: Catalogs, 1896-1956, 1970s, 1980, undated - The earliest catalogs are from the Northwestern Wire Mattress Company. Catalogs from the regional distributors of Simmons, as well as from England and Canada. Subseries 2.2: Price Lists, 1939, 1940, 1952-1957 - Institutional and divisional price lists for Simmons products. Subseries C: Records of Marketing, 1920s-1930s, 1950s, 1970s-1990s, undated [bulk dates] - This subseries reflects the business materials used to market Simmons mattresses to consumer groups and merchandisers including artwork for advertisements, mattress labels, television and radio commercial scripts, and pamphlets aimed at consumers. Subseries 2.3: Advertisements, 1920s-1990s, undated - A nearly complete continuum of Simmons advertising. The scrapbooks were dismantled to ensure proper preservation. They have been kept intact and the pages numbered to ensure order. The contents of the scrapbooks, in many cases, are duplicated both in the loose advertising and in other scrapbooks. A few of the scrapbooks were completely dismantled and integrated into the loose advertising. There is no record of the original order of these scrapbooks.

Sub-subseries 2.3.1: Consumer Advertisements, 1920s-1990s, undated - Advertising pamphlets, mailers, local advertisements, and national advertising campaigns. Competitors' advertisements are included in this sub-subseries.

Sub-subseries 2.3.2: Trade Advertisements, 1920s-1980s, undated - The trade advertisements are aimed at the bedding industry and related home furnishings publications. Literature for hospitals, hotels, and interior decorators is found here. Some trade advertising is located in scrapbooks with the consumer advertising; an effort has been made to note these occurrences in this finding aid. Subseries 2.2: Sales Kits, 1931, 1933, 1946, 1950s-1998, undated - These kits were mailed or presented by Simmons sales force members to dealers/merchandisers. The materials feature Simmons products, upcoming promotions, and advertisements that could be customized for each store's location. **Please note, the Sales Kits, Sales Force Materials, and Dealer Materials, in some instances, are interchangeable. Similar items can be found in each subseries. It is therefore wise to look in all three areas to find comprehensive information. Subseries 2.3: Point of Purchase Aids, 1960s-1990s, undated - Items placed at the store to be used in conjunction with Simmons products. These include counter cards, informational cards and pamphlets, and display material. Subseries 2.4: Sales Force Materials, 1923-1927, 1931, 1937-1939, 1940s-1980s, undated - Materials aimed at the sales force featuring Simmons products, upcoming promotions, goals and objectives in selling the products, and correspondence. Sometimes these materials could also be shown to dealers/merchandisers. The "All-American Annual Trip" materials are found here, featuring the winners (the top sellers), travel itineraries, and commemorative posters. Subseries 2.5: Dealer Materials, 1920s-1980s, 1990, 1998, undated - Materials aimed specifically at the dealer/merchandiser of Simmons products. These items feature Simmons products, upcoming promotions, and advertisements that could be customized for each store's location. Many contain promotion and publicity items designed to help the dealer/merchandiser sell Simmons products. Subseries 2.6: Marketing Studies and Research, 1933, 1939-1949, 1986-1989 - Simmons used marketing studies to customize advertising and further promote products to the proper demographic. A study done in Danbury, CT, Simmons "Mattress Buyers: Their Homes and Occupations" (1933), and the "Magazine Interview Promotion" (1936) contain photographs of the mattress buyers and their homes, personal information, and reasons why they chose to buy a Simmons mattress. Subseries 2.7: World's Fair Materials, circa. 1964-1965 - Simmons participated in the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. This subseries reflects their preparation and participation mainly through artwork and photographs. Most of the preparation was probably done years prior to the Fair taking place. Subseries 2.8: Olympic Materials, 1978-1980 - Simmons was an official sponsor of the XIII Olympic Winter Games in 1980 which took place in Lake Placid, NY. Official Olympic sponsor materials make up the bulk of this subseries. Olympic Games related advertisements can be found in subseries 2.4.1 and Series 2.6. Subseries 2.9: Audio/Visual Materials, 1940s-1990s - Film, video, filmstrips, and audio materials featuring sales force training, commercials, and point-of-purchase videos for the consumer to view in the store. **The materials are currently arranged by medium. This arrangement will change; please see the audio-visual archivist.

Sub-subseries 2.9.1: Videos, 1940s-1970s, 1983-1990s, undated - Training videos for sales force, in-store videos, television appearances on MSNBC and QVC, and commercial compilations.

Sub-subseries 2.9.2: Films, 1970s, 1980, undated - Commercials, films sent to dealers featuring upcoming promotions.

Sub-subseries 2.9.3: Filmstrips, 1963-1964, undated - Informational strips on sleep research, strips directed at sales force training, and a factory tour.[16]

Sub-subseries 2.9.4: Audio, 1963, 1965, 1976-1979, 1991, undated - Cathy Rigby's fitness program LP, sales force training, radio commercials, and sales meeting recordings. Audiocassette and reel-to-reel.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0731, Series 2
See more items in:
The Simmons Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0731-ref559

The Simmons Company Records

Creator:
Simmons Company  Search this
Extent:
9 Film reels
88 Cubic feet (172 boxes, 16 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Film reels
Advertisements
Business records
Videotapes
Date:
1892-2000
Scope and Contents:
Series 1 includes: news articles about the company and the Simmons family; photographs of the machinery, factories, factory workers, products and showrooms; annual reports; various corporate periodicals; audit reports; patents; and materials relating to sleep research conducted by Simmons. Series 2 includes product catalogues, scrapbooks of advertisements, advertising artwork and mechanicals, sales kits, point of purchase items, marketing plans and surveys, sales training videos and filmstrips, and commercials. Of special note are the materials on Simmons involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964-65 and the XIII Winter Olympic Games in 1980. Most newsprint in this collection has been photocopied onto acid-free bond paper and the originals destroyed. Unless otherwise noted, the materials appear in date order within each subseries or sub-subseries. Physically, the materials are arranged by type and size.
Arrangement:
This collection is organized into two series.

Series 1: Corporate Materials, 1892-2000

Series 2: Marketing, 1896-1990s
Biographical / Historical:
This subject category- engineering consists of documents related to the field of engineering, both as a scientific discipline and as a business. Most of the material in the collection was produced by engineers, engineering firms, or firms using engineers in the course of other activities. The span dates for the collection are 1848-1963; the bulk dates are circa 1870-circa 1930. Most of the firms and individuals represented in the collection were located in eastern states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, though there are some items from other states and foreign countries.

Engineers & Engineering Firms material is comprised of materials from firms engaged in various activities in the engineering field, including machine and structural design; drafting; surveying; tool and machine repair and maintenance; consulting and inspection; and the manufacture of machine parts and factory equipment. The series consists of business cards; brochures, catalogs, and pamphlets; invoices and business correspondence; and handbills and other types of advertising matter. Bulk dates for this series are 1870-1930. Most firms in this series were based in the cities of the industrial North, especially Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Chicago. A few items are from companies headquartered in other states and foreign countries. The material is arranged alphabetically by firm name. An article in the Simmons in-house publication The Owl states Zalmon G. Simmons "was not the inventor or first manufacturer of bed springs. His contribution was in lowering the price so that everyone could afford them. He took a hand-made item that sold for around $5 wholesale, and developed machinery which would enable its sale for as little as 80 cents."[1]

Simmons was born in Montgomery County, New York, in 1828. He moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, at the age of fifteen with $3.00 in "tangible cash assets."[2] Upon finishing school, Simmons became a teacher and worked as a clerk in a general store; eighteen months later he bought the business.[3] Simmons was an enterprising individual and eventually became the President of the Rock Island Railway Company, the Northwest Telegraphy Company (which was bought by Western Union), and the First National Bank of Kenosha. In addition, Simmons served as mayor of Kenosha.

On April 16, 1871, Simmons purchased a cheese box factory, which also made wooden telegraph insulators for his telegraph company. As payment for a debt at his store, Simmons accepted a patent for a handmade, woven-wire bedspring.[4] Thus the Simmons legacy of mattress making was born. The company incorporated in 1884 as the Northwestern Wire Mattress Company.[5] The name was changed to the Simmons Manufacturing Company in 1889. "By 1891 the company was the largest of its kind in the world."[6]

When Zalmon Simmons died in 1910, his son, Zalmon Simmons, Jr., assumed power and continued expanding the company. "By 1919 the company had plants from coast to coast plus sixty-four warehouses and the beginnings of an export business."[7] Zalmon Simmons, Jr. became Chairman in 1932 and his son, Grant G. Simmons, became President of the company.

Since it appeared on the market, the Simmons name has become synonymous with its bestselling product, the Beautyrest mattress. Simmons introduced the Beautyrest in 1925 for the price of $39.50, about three to four times what the consumer was paying for a wire mattress at the time. Immediately the company began advertising using an innovative testimonial campaign featuring "celebrities" like Henry Ford, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Edison. By 1929 Beautyrest mattress sales had reached $9 million.[8] Grant G. Simmons wrote, "The consumer demand for Beautyrest stimulated by our national advertising literally forced hundreds of retailers who then had no interest in doing business with Simmons to carry our products."[9]

Card tables and folding chairs were added to the Simmons line in 1926. In 1940, the Hide-A-Bed sofa (which grew out of the studio couch of the 1930s) was born. Fold-out springs and mattresses were engineered to create the pull-out bed.[10] The Hide-A-Bed became one of the company's most famous products manufactured through the 1980s.[11] During WWII the company shifted its production to wartime needs, manufacturing 2,700 different items.[12] Almost immediately after the end of the War, Simmons resumed production; and in 1947 it introduced the Babybeauty mattress. Other Simmons mattress models have included, most notably, the Deepsleep and Maxipedic.

Throughout the years the Simmons Company has had many innovators and inventors make improvements to its mattresses and manufacturing machinery. John Marshall's pocketed-coil spring and John Gail's improvements and modifications to the manufacturing equipment are many of the most significant contributions. Together, Marshall's coil and Gail's pocketing machine made the Beautyrest mattress a reality.

The Sleep Research Foundation, established in1946 with a grant from the Simmons Company, "instituted a vast research program into the scientific aspects of sleep...dedicated to an objective study of sleep from a physiological and medical point of view."[13] The Sleep Research Center and its findings were a common feature in Simmons advertising.

Simmons has continued to use advertising as a way to make its brand known to consumers. Celebrity endorsements and "glamour girls in expensive lingerie" have been a mainstay in Beautyrest advertising.[14] Newspaper advertisements featuring so-called sale prices also have fueled demand for the products.

Company headquarters moved to New York City in 1923 and then to Atlanta, Georgia in 1975, where the company still resides. In 1979, Gulf & Western acquired the company, shifting control to outside the family for the first time. Wickes Corporation purchased Simmons from Gulf & Western in 1985. In 1991, Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, Inc. acquired a majority interest in the company. Today, Simmons has 17% of the bedding market share, second only to Sealy with 22%.[15]

[1]. "Zalmon G. Simmons." The Owl, December 1952, p. 10-11. Box 1, Folder 4.

[2]. "Kenosha Bank Celebrates 90 Years; Zalmon Simmons Is Remembered." Kenosha Evening News, 17 May 1941, n.p. Box 1, Folder 3.

[3]. Ibid. n.p.

[4]. "History of Simmons Company." Report to Stockholders for 1946: Diamond Anniversary, 1871-1946, p. 4. Box 1, Folder 3.

[5]. "Brief History of Simmons Company." ca. 1941. Box 1, Folder 2.

[6]. "History of Simmons Company." Report to Stockholders for 1946: Diamond Anniversary, 1871-1946, p. 5. Box 1, Folder 3.

[7]. "Simmons: The Bedtime Story That Became a Legend." Advertising News From Newsweek, 1969, p. 3. Box 1, Folder 5.

[8]. Simmons, Grant, Jr. "Simmons Company, 1870-1963." p. 7-8. Box 1, Folder 5.

[9]. Ibid. p. 11.

[10]. "Simmons: The Bedtime Story That Became a Legend." Advertising News From Newsweek, 1969, p. 3. Box 1, Folder 5.

[11]. In 1990, the Simmons Company sold the division that made Hide-A-Beds and recliners and licensed the use of the name to a manufacturer.

[12]. "Chronology of Simmons Company." ca. 1955. Box 1, Folder 4. Rise." The Christian Science Monitor, 28 June 1957. Box 1, Folder 4. & "Simmons History." ca. 1955. p. 3. Box 1, Folder 4.

[14]. Simmons, Grant, Jr. "Simmons Company, 1870-1963." p. 9. Box 1, Folder 5.

[15]. Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands,1994 ed. S.v. "Simmons Beautyrest" and "Sealy."
Related Materials:
Materials at the Archives Center

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, ca. 1724-1977 (Beds and Bedding) (AC0060) Ivory Soap Advertising Collection (AC0791)

Breck Girl Collection, 1936-1995 (AC0651) Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair, 1939-1940 (AC0560)

Larry Zim World's Fair Collection (AC0519) Louis S. Nixdorff 1928 Olypic Games Collection, 1926-1978 (AC0443) Lloyd A. Strickland Collection of 1936 Olympics Photographs, 1936 (AC0743)
Provenance:
The collection was donated by the Simmons Company through Mr. Charlie Eitel, Chairman and CEO, and Mr. Donald Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Marketing, to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, in June 2000.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Bedding industry  Search this
Sleep  Search this
Mattresses  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements
Business records -- 20th century
Videotapes
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0731
See more items in:
The Simmons Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0731
Online Media:

T-5 Trade Practices - Bedding Industry

Collection Creator:
Simmons Company  Search this
Container:
Box 39, Folder 4-6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1948-1955
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
See more items in:
The Simmons Company Records
The Simmons Company Records / Series 1: Corporate Materials / 1.7: Legal Matters
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0731-ref411

New immigrants, old unions : organizing undocumented workers in Los Angeles / Héctor L. Delgado

Author:
Delgado, Héctor L. 1949-  Search this
Physical description:
x, 186 p. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
California
Los Angeles
Date:
1993
Topic:
Water bed industry--Employees--Labor unions  Search this
Water bed industry--Employees  Search this
Illegal aliens--Employment  Search this
Undocumented immigrants  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_615175

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