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A Time of Struggle

Emil Bommerís death in 1935 resulted in a very controversial will with his complete estate going to Dartmouth College. This left the company weak and under the ineffectual control of estate executors. It took five years of legal controversy and historical legislation to finally divide the estate between Emilís heirs and Dartmouth. In 1940 , after five years of neglect, the direct heirs of Emil Bommer regained control of what was left of the company. Dartmouth received all other assets.

Marie Anna Bommer, the only child of Emil, had married Johann Frohlich and moved to Vienna, Austria in 1931. Johann Frohlich, whose native Austrian family owned and operated a large international luggage manufacturing facility, remained in Vienna until 1934. That same year Marie Anna, Johann and their son Emil Frohlich returned to the United States at the request of Emil Bommer. Johann became a U.S. citizen in 1940, as well as the General Manager of the Company after its return to family control. Shortly thereafter, the war effort required that the company convert its operations from the manufacture of hardware to the manufacture of munitions.

In 1944 the company incorporated, and Johann Frohlich became its third President. During World War II, Johann Frohlich was appointed the head of the hardware industries war planning effort in Washington, DC. This was in addition to his duties as President of the company. By the end of World War II both the company and Johann Frohlich received recognition from the War Production Board for their outstanding efforts during this difficult time. This recognition was especially significant, given Johann Frohlichís national origin and the sentiment of the time.

In 1947, Johann Frohlich recognized the need for diversification and purchased the assets of Francis Keil and Son, Inc., a manufacturer of Government Approved apartment house mail boxes. This acquisition was to become the basis for the company's current leading position in this market.

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