Ad Courtesy of Private Collection of Bradley Keen
The Nik-O-Lok Company, which manufactures coin and token-operated toilet locks, was founded in Indianapolis in 1910 by Charles Van Cleave, a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana. The company still exists today and is headquartered on the Eastside. Nik-O-Lok is now a division of Standard Change-Makers, founded in 1955, just two years after this ad ran in September 1953. Standard Change-Makers, which provides machines to turn dollars into coins for use in vending and laundry machines, was founded by Van Cleave’s grandson, James McNutt, Sr., and has remained a family owned and operated business for over 100 years. A unique business, and a long Hoosier bloodline!
Love following blogs on companies still present, as well as historical ones.
As a long ago reporter, this company popped into the news in so many ways–my memory is ownership by a fine, very religious family with many many overriding employee benefit perks but also restrictions that somehow brought on litigation—-anyone remember better.
But in addition to a kind of Onward Christian Soldiers vague memory–I also have a memory of a too-bawdy 4 line poem, bit of doggeral that started “Here I sit, all broken hearted. Paid a nickel……ooops,.
my memory kicked in the rest of it but I am too prudish to complete it! Someone else may wish to–but my upbringing won’t let me!
But–my memory also recalls the ladies locker toilet at the old Greyhound Bus terminal on Market. As a young reporter who traveled each weekend to and from hometown Marion, I well remember the gas rationing WW2 days when bus travel was almost as bad as today’s air–long lines, more people than seats, a military need to give priority to traveling service men over civilians. The bus station ladies room put in pay toilets in its long row of booths in ladies (perhaps men’s too but I can’t confirm that!) There was always, especially near arrival/departure periods, a long line of women waiting for the next vacancy–but because hospital Hoosiers were likely to be “helpful”—many women exiting would simply hold the door open and offer to let first in line in for “free.”
This, Greyhound decided, could not be tolerated! Hence, they hired a matron (burly, in charge with badge as I recall) whose job it was to stand with view of all stalls–and when one opened she would “police” to be sure the exiting user did not allow a “free” entry—insisting door be closed , coin inserted for waiting lady.
Needless to say, there were frequent “rebel” users who challenged her or tried to evade…plus friends who would actually slip 2 or 3 into tiny booth if she was not looking. How do I know this? Well, I well remember being one of 3 crowded sardine-like into the limited space–all to save a dime! (But remember, reporters were always underpaid!)