Education: Big Three Windfall

To a dark old countinghouse at Church and Chambers Streets in Downtown Manhattan, with old-fashioned desks, high-backed chairs, an ancient parlor stove, some 60 years ago went a Vermonter named Henry William Putnam to merchandise and distribute his invention—a bottle stopper. Mr. Putnam and his bottle stopper began to make money. Mr. Putnam also invented a glass fruit jar, made more money. In 1898 when, grown old and tired, Mr. Putnam called his son into his office and turned the business over to him, it was worth $5,000,000.

Henry William Putnam Jr. grubbed away in the same office, without changing...

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