Called a “fast operator” by a Fortune Magazine writer in the 1940s, Leonard B. Hough (1898-1988) was a dynamic businessman who served the Collins Company as vice president in charge of sales for many years. He was born in Collinsville, grandson of the village pharmacist and son of the Collins Company superintendent. Lanky and athletic, he was captain of the high school baseball team. He attended Amherst College, interrupting his studies to drive an ambulance in France during World War I. On his return, he received a business degree from the famed Wharton School in Philadelphia.
Hough managed a far-flung operation, with thirty-five agents working on commission throughout Latin America, and in South Africa and the Pacific region. From his Collinsville office or on international travels he took reports from three or four salaried representatives on local economic conditions, competition, and dealer problems. He was the “go to guy” for determining pricing for every type of tool in each country, constantly adapting to the vagaries of customer preferences and exchange rates. He spoke fluent Spanish.
During World War II with its steel allocations and export controls, Hough was the Company’s ambassador to Washington, battling with regulatory agencies to protect continued shipments overseas and to procure the raw materials necessary for production.
Hough retired only with the closure of the Company in 1966. He found it so hard to let go of the business to which he had dedicated his life that he finished his career as an advisor to the Stanley works which had purchased the Latin American plants. Leonard Hough is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.