edward hudson lane
In 1912, at age 21, Edward Hudson Lane (b.1891 d.1973) bought a small Altavista, VA packing box plant at a bankruptcy auction, hired five employees and began producing 10 to 15 cedar chests a day. By 1922, the factory was capable of national distribution and Lane invested in the industry's first national advertising. Within 10 years, Lane cedar chests were a widely recognized brand name synonymous with "brides." An Industry pioneer, he was among the first to adopt conveyorized assembly lines as well as technology that utilized waste wood to produce particle board which provided strong, uniform, warp-resistant, cores. On the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary in 1962, Lane was honored by the American Newcomen Society for his "pioneering leadership, vision, determination and resourcefulness in creating a new business and building it into a successful corporate enterprise." At the time of his death in 1973, the enterprise employed over 5,000 people in 19 plants in Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.