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Henry Sherwin

AKA Henry Alden Sherwin

Born: 27-Sep-1842
Birthplace: Baltimore, VT
Died: 26-Jun-1916
Location of death: Willoughby, OH
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, OH

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Sherwin-Williams

Henry Sherwin left school at 13, and worked as a janitor, shopkeeper, and bookkeeper for two grocers before going into the chemicals business. In 1866 he invested his $2,000 life savings to become a junior partner in the Truman Dunham Company, a Cleveland shop which made and mixed pigments, painting supplies, and oils. Four years later, his partners Truman and Dunham left the firm to open a linseed oil production facility, and on 3 February 1870 Edward P. Williams became Sherwin's new partner in the shop.

At the time, "paint" per se was not readily available. Instead customers went to specialized local merchants like Sherwin, Williams & Company, where pigments, oils, and stabilizers were mixed to approximate the color requested -- an expensive but not terribly reliable process. Sherwin himself perfected and patented the first resealable can in 1877, and in 1880 Sherwin-Williams' lab developed an improved pigment-grinding process to allow almost indefinite particle suspension, meaning that paint remained stable for hours instead of separating almost instantly like vinegar and water. With these breakthroughs, Sherwin-Williams was able to introduce pre-mixed, precisely color-matched, and ready-to-use paints.

His daughter, Belle Sherwin, was a well-known suffragette and served as President of the League of Women Voters from 1924-34.

Father: Alden Wheelock Sherwin (b. 9-Sep-1816, d. 17-Feb-1889)
Mother: Rachel Batchelder Sherwin (b. 26-Nov-1818, m. 9-Sep-1816, d. 26-Feb-1895)
Wife: Frances Mary Smith Sherwin (b. 16-Dec-1843, m. 27-Sep-1865, d. 18-Jul-1920)
Daughter: Belle Sherwin (women's rights activist, b. 25-Mar-1868, d. 5-Jul-1955)
Daughter: Katherine Sherwin (b. 11-Jun-1870, d. 28-Jun-1873)
Son: William Alden Sherwin (b. 18-Jan-1872, d. 20-Aug-1897)
Daughter: Prudence May Sherwin (b. 17-Jan-1874, d. 31-May-1938)
Daughter: Eda Sherwin Prescott (b. 2-Nov-1876, d. 23-Sep-1953)

    Sherwin-Williams Founder (1866)
    Sherwin-Williams President (1870-1906)
    Member of the Board of Sherwin-Williams (as Chairman, 1906-16)
    Young Men's Christian Association Cleveland, OH (President, 1872)


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