It’s hard to fathom that in 2024, Harrington Electric Co. will celebrate its 117th year in operation. In today’s fast-churning economic climate, that longevity stat is simply unheard of.
Back in 1907, it was William Harrington who, along with F.M. Grant, first formed the firm of Harrington & Grant electric company. And after buying out his partner, Harrington renamed the company in 1914, and it’s been Harrington Electric Co., ever since.
William Harrington’s early days have been summed up in detail in a piece we recently uncovered in a book titled, “The History of Cleveland and Its Environs,” originally published in 1918 by The Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago and New York.
Loaded with eloquent prose and colorful descriptions, the brief biography of William Harrington includes phrases like, “The career of Mr. Harrington but accentuates the fact that success is bound to come to those who join brains with ambition and are willing to work.”
The piece describes the growth of Harrington Electric through the years, having completed work in many “well-known buildings…other factories and fine residences.”
And, in keeping with our ongoing mission of providing the highest quality service and integrity in the field, one catchphrase referring to William Harrington in particular caught our eye:
“Mr. Harrington is a public-spirited citizen, giving his aid to all matters projected for the good of the general welfare, and as a business man he deserves much credit, being absolutely self-made.”
Here’s the full-text version of the piece, for your reading pleasure:
A History of Cleveland and Its Environs
The Heart of New Connecticut
VOLUME III, BIOGRAPHY – ILLUSTRATED
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 1918
WILLIAM C. HARRINGTON
The history of a nation is nothing more than a history of the individuals comprising it, and as they are characterized by loftier or lower ideals, actuated by the spirit of ambition or indifference, so it is with a state, county or town. Success along any line of endeavor would never be properly appreciated if it came with a single effort and unaccompanied by some hardships, for it is the knocks and bruises in life that make success taste so sweet. The failures accentuate the successes, thus making recollections of the former as dear as those of the latter for having been the stepping stones to achievement. The career of Mr. Harrington but accentuates the fact that success is bound to come to those who join brains with ambition and are willing to work.
William C. Harrington is head and sole owner of the Harrington Electrical Company, a thriving business concern that specializes in all kinds of electrical construction work.
He was born in the city of Detroit, Michigan, December 8, 1872, and is a son of Dennis and Elizabeth (Smith) Harrington, both of whom are now deceased. In the public schools of his native place Mr. Harrington received his early educational training, and at the age of fourteen years he began to learn the art of boat building with the James Dean Company, boat builders, with which concern he was connected for a period of four and one-half years.
He then worked as a carpenter for one year, and in 1890 returned to boat building as an employee of the Detroit Boat Company, which concern built the first electric motor boats used at the Chicago World’s Fair. In 1894 he engaged as an electrician, working for the city of Detroit for one year. He then entered the employ of the Crook Electrical Company, and a year and a half later began to work for the Field & Hinchman Electric Engineering Company. He completed his course as an electrical engineer at the end of one year, and then worked for the Lewis K. Comstock Electric Company, remaining with that concern for one year. He then went to Toledo, Ohio, and engaged as an electrician with the Bissell, Dodge, Erner Electrical Company. Subsequently he became superintendent of construction in the Columbus, Ohio, branch of the latter company and in 1902, when the Erner Electrical Company was formed, he came to Cleveland as superintendent of construction and later held the position of estimator.
In 1907 he resigned and entered into a partnership association with F. M. Grant, under the firm name of Harrington & Grant, and in 1914, purchasing the interest owned by Mr. Grant, he became sole owner of a large electrical construction business now known as the Harrington Electrical Company. He has forty men in his employ and makes a specialty of all kinds of electrical construction work, his slogan being: “No jobs too large, no jobs too small.”
He has done work in the following well-known buildings: Armour & Company, Stearns Motor Car Company, Van Dorn-Dutton Company, National Telephone Supply Company, Gilsey Hotel, Majestic Theatre, Dennison Square Theatre, Dennison Avenue School, St. Anthony’s Boys’ School, St. Coleman’s Church, St. Ignatius School, Immaculate Conception School, Holy Name School, Lorain County Savings Bank at Elyria, Quaker Oats plant at Akron, and in many other factories and fine residences.
On April 29, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Harrington to Miss Katherine Reed, a native of Lockport, New York, but was taken to the city of Detroit when a child by her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington have one daughter, Katherine, now thirteen years old and a graduate from Blessed Sacrament Parochial School.
In connection with his work Mr. Harrington is a member of the Builders’ Exchange, the Electrical League, the National Electrical Contractors Association, and the Ohio State Electrical Contractors Association, in the latter two of which he has held a number of important offices. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Sons of Jove, the Spanish War Veterans, the Army & Navy Union, the Knights of Columbus. Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Sheridan Athletic Club. He is independent in his political proclivities and in religious devotion is a Catholic. Mr. Harrington is a public-spirited citizen, giving his aid to all matters projected for the good of the general welfare, and as a business man he deserves much credit, being absolutely self-made. Mr. Harrington served during the Spanish-American war as a member of Company I, Sixth United States Volunteer Signal Corps, serving in Cuba, and assisted in the re-construction of that island’s shattered telegraph service.