Racenstein Windows Cleaning Supplies
Ettore Steccone was born in a small mountain village in Northern Italy in 1896 and came to the US for the first time in 1922 after serving in the Italian Army during WWI. He came to seek his fortune and chose window cleaning as his profession. He became a fixture around town riding his Indian motorcycle with a ladder on his shoulders and a bucket dangling from its end.
As much as enjoyed his job and the freedom it afforded him, he didn’t like the tools he had to work with. The heavy steel squeegee with its double rubber blade and twelve screws to hold it in place was cumbersome and frankly didn’t do a good job. He had a better idea.
While cleaning windows, and with the help of his wife, doing janitorial work, he started tinkering with his idea for a revolutionary new type of window squeegee: a T-shaped tool, manufactured of brass with a single precision slit rubber blade which dried windows virtually streak free. After much trial and error, he patented his innovative new squeegee in 1936 and dubbed it the NEW DEAL.
With a small shop set up in the garage at the back of his house, he began the process of manufacturing his innovation and trying to figure out how an uneducated Italian immigrant was going to convince other window cleaners to use his products. Initially, he approached some dealers specializing supplying products to the window cleaning trade. They were skeptical. He was told that the squeegee was too small, too light and that he would never be able to convert others to use his new-fangled NEW DEAL.
One of the largest and most well known suppliers of window cleaning tools at that time was the J. Racenstein Company located in New York City. Ettore took his product to them and they summarily rejected it. This time however, Ettore made a wager with the owner. He bet him the best hat in New York City, that within one month the J. Racenstein Company would come begging to buy his revolutionary new squeegee.
With that bet in mind, Ettore began giving away his new squeegee to all his fellow window cleaners asking them just to try it out for one day on the job to see if they didn’t agree that his tool was far superior to anything that they were currently using. His marketing plan worked. Window cleaners were asking where they could purchase Ettore’s new squeegee and he happily told them to contact the J. Racenstein Company.
Ettore continued to manufacture and ship product out of his garage until the early 1950’s when he and his five employees moved into his first real factory. Things did not always run smoothly for this hard working, determined man. The loss of his patent, the infringement of his name, world conflicts causing metal shortages which in turn could delay the production of his squeegee; all things which would possibly defeat other men, served only to make Ettore persevere. His NEW DEAL took on a new name and became the ETTORE Master and a name that became known throughout the world.
Ettore lived to see his American dream fulfilled. He saw his family prosper and his company earn recognition throughout the world as manufacturer of quality window cleaning products guaranteed to leave windows sparkling clean and streak free.