Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gigantic : Moody's Industrial Manual

"Moody's Industrial Manual for 1963 is the most comprehensive source of information on industrial corporations and enterprises available to the banker, investor, analyst and business executive."
Introduction, Moody's Industrial Manual 1963

The Moody's manuals are a treasure for scripophily researchers. They contain tons of information about the companies from which we collect antique stocks and bonds.

The American John Moody (1868 – 1958) was a financial analyst and investor. In 1900 he published his first manual providing details and ratings of company and government bonds. In 1909 he founded Moody's Investors Service to produce yearly manuals like the one illustrated here. 

Featured in the Industrial Manuals are thousands of profiles of industrial companies, mainly from the USA but also from Canada, Great Britain and other countries. For instance, Siemens & Halske, Honda Motor Co., Heijn (Albert), Ontario Steel Products Co., SIMCA Industries, Rolls-Royce and Montecatini are a few of the many non-American entries in the illustrated 1963 edition.

Here's an excerpt from a profile from the Stanley Aviation Corp, an aircraft equipment manufacturer. This is one of the smallest entries in the book. Medium-sized and large companies are listed with much bigger profiles, up to several pages. For instance, R. H. Macy & Co., Inc., is described in four pages; E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. fills six pages.

The entries consists of : a company history, its capital structure, background, mergers and acquisitions, company name changes, subsidiairies, plants and properties, employee statistics, officers and directors, business activities and products, operating statistics, balance sheets, and much more. 

These books are gigantic. Issue 1963 measures about 21,5x28,5 cm, or 8.5x11.2 inch, and counts 3028 pages. It's thickness is 10,5 cm or 4.1 inch. It weighs 5 kg or 11 lbs. Don't put any of these on your flatbed scanner ! Some year editions are even bigger and consist of two volumes : monstrous. 

Illustrated below is an extract from the Alphabetical Index in the 1963 edition. The index section counts 114 pages with each page referring to about 130 company names ! 

I use manuals like this for looking up company details and identifying hard to read signatures. Let's try this with a 1960s specimen share from The Bendix Corporation

The manual has three pages on this company: 

"Incorporated in 1929 as the Bendix Aviation Corp., the company adopted its present name in 1960. Bendix and its subsidiaries produce a wide line of aviation, automotive, missile, electronic, marine, space and automation products, .."

What about the signature of Bendix' chairman ? Note that this is a facsimile signature, which is a reproduction by engraving, printing (like this example) or stamping of the manual signature.

The manual lists for Bendix over twenty officers and directors. One of them, our match, is listed both as Exec. Vice-President and Director : A. P. Fontaine. This information in turn allows me to find out more about the person :

Athanas P. Fontaine (1905-1989) was a pioneering airplane designer. After graduating in aeronautical engineering, he helped designing the Aeronca C-1, the first lightweight passenger plane in the US. An aircraft designer and project engineer he worked for several aircraft companies such as Fairchild Aircraft Corp and Republic Aircraft Corp. 
A. P. Fontaine headed Bendix' aircraft division in 1944 but left in 1946 and returned in 1952 to become director of engineering. He was chairman and chief executive of Bendix from 1965 to 1972. source: The New York Times, May 17, 1989

These books are valuable research tools. Unfortunately very few have been digitized. On this Moody's Manual Wikipedia page you'll find several links to editions from the 1910s and 1920s. A few of them actually lead to a fully browsable digitized version.


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