they are a small family business with
an even smaller advertising budget.
Their product, on the other hand,
is big, both literally and figuratively.
They make windlasses for everything
from small sailboats to tugboats,
many of which are custom. I’ve
worked with the proprietors, Cliffe
and Betsy Raymond, for years
and have come to appreciate their
no-nonsense, no-flash, no-hype
approach toward making and
maintaining windlasses large and
small. I had the pleasure of visiting
their facility last year. It’s located in
a nondescript, old brick building that
you could easily pass if you weren’t
paying attention (I did). The grounds
weren’t manicured, the sign was in
need of replacement, and the roof
leaked (it’s since been replaced).
The office looked as if it hadn’t been
decorated since the ’60s, but in some
ways that’s comforting to us baby
boomers. Cliffe is a military history
buff and had a picture of George
Patton next to his desk. The real gem
of Ideal is the machine shop; there
were windlasses and windlass parts
everywhere, old and new, most of
which were bronze. When I walked
in Cliffe was machining a wildcat
himself. I looked at it, and knowing
Ideal products pretty well, was
surprised that it was unfamiliar.
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