This ad, from 1922, features an electric iron – a product available for almost forty years by that time. What is more remarkable is the history of the local vendor of this iron – Lilly Hardware Company.
In 1885, James Wilkerson Lilly (no relation to the Eli Lilly family) and his business partner, Frank Douglas Stalnaker, bought Vajen and New, an Indianapolis hardware store in operation since before the Civil War. The new buyers called the store Lilly and Stalnaker Hardware. Lilly was the president of the company, while Stalnaker was the secretary and treasurer. Interestingly, both Lilly and Stalnaker were pall bearers when John H. Vajen died in 1917.
While in business together, both Lilly and Stalnaker took interest in civic leadership in Indianapolis. Lilly helped found the Marion County Tuberculosis Association in 1911. Stalnaker ran for mayor of Indianapolis in 1905, losing to Charles Bookwalter. Both men also served as presidents of two major Indianapolis banks – Lilly of the Indiana National Bank, and Stalnaker of the Capital National Bank. In addition, Lilly served as director of the Farmers Trust Company, and on the board of the Southeast Hospital for the Insane, the War Chest of Indianapolis during WWI, and the Indianapolis Red Cross.
By 1916, Stalnaker left the business, and Lilly changed the name to Lilly Hardware, which was considered one of the largest hardware retailers in Indiana. Lilly died in 1925, and it is unclear what happened to the business after his death. Stalnaker died in 1932. Both are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.