Detroit Hardware Company


The screws are stored in what looks like a wooden card catalogue. The floors are wood, too, as is the wide staircase leading to the second-floor housewares department. Overhead, fan belts are displayed where the wall meets the tin ceiling.

Stepping through the door of the Detroit Hardware Co. in Midtown Detroit feels like crossing a threshold into the year 1924, when the family-owned business opened near Grand Boulevard.

All these years later, second- and third-generation customers return for window-screen repair, custom paint mixing, and general DIY advice.

A man discusses garbage-disposal repair with a clerk near the hunting-fishing license sign as we enter and head toward the steps, just past the key-cutting corner the Castile soap.

It’s comfort-food season and we want to check out their stock of American-made Lodge cast-iron cookware.

Upstairs, we find an array of Lodge pots, pans, and griddles, as well as some amiable conversation with Vickie, who tells us that large (C-7) Christmas-tree lights were offered in pastel colors in the 1950s.

Vickie points out the original cash register and demonstrates the window-shade cutter, which she learned to operate when she was a new employee and barely out of her teens.

We browse the world of ironing-board covers, matchboxes, and canning jars — and spy a view of Woodward Avenue visible just beyond the stoneware pickling crocks. A small purchase later, we leave with a free wooden yardstick printed with “Detroit Hardware Company, 6432 Woodward, Detroit, MI 43202, Phone (313) 875-0838” — pleasingly old-school, by any measure.

© 2014 Rebecca Powers. All rights reserved.

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