While Ernest Spracklin was originally the founder of United Sail Works Ltd (USW), Milton Spracklin Sr. was the businessman that molded United Sail Works Ltd into what it is today, long before the word "entrepreneur" was ever used.
United Sail Works Ltd is a unique Newfoundland company that started operations in 1922. The company's long and colorful past has been highlighted in local and national newspapers, such as the Globe and Mail. As outlined in that newspaper on Dec 8, 2008, "The Last of Newfoundland's Great Sailmakers went from canvas to offshore oil rigs." Here is some of that story.
Milton Spracklin Sr. was a successful businessman and steered United Sail Works Ltd through the declining years of the sailing industry. Fatefully, the sailing industry took years to decline and allowed United Sail Works Ltd the opportunity to evolve and offer new services. Mr. Spracklin never wavered from his core skill of canvas making, nor from his dedication to United Sail Works Ltd. The operation started on George Street when George Street was the business hub of St. John's, rather than what it is known for now. Milton Spracklin's father, Ernest Spracklin, along with his partner, James Oakley, commenced operation in 1922. Ernest was a notable business person who was to be permanently written into the history books of the province. He supplied the sails for Captain Bob Bartlett, a famous Newfoundland navigator and Arctic explorer.
Milton Spracklin Sr. helped his father, Ernest, with USW as a boy and young man, until he went into business for himself after the war ended. He founded Sprackin Agencies and imported goods to North America. Today, some of the most well-known product names were introduced by Spracklin Agencies. Milton Spracklin Sr. married his wife Mondella (Monnie) Beck and had a son called Milton Jr. He returned to work at USW after his father Ernest passed away in 1972. The evolution of the economy in Newfoundland has required USW to change and adapt with the times. Its household name made it an inevitable choice, and was called on by government agencies to supply and service many milestone events.
Just a few of these were:
• Supplied canopies to notable visiting dignitaries such as The Pope and the Royal Family
• Supplied services to the famed Jacques Cousteau
• Supplied equipment for movie sets such as Orca
• Supplied equipment to famed Director, James Cameron (Titanic)
• Fabricated sails for the famous schooner Norma and Gladys
Milton Spracklin Sr. worked at United Sail Works Ltd until he passed away in November of 2008 at 87 years of age. United Sail Works Ltd's legacy continues operations under the watchful eye of his son Milton Spracklin Jr., whom has inherited many of his father's passions along with a mastermind work ethic. He truly believes in United Sail Works Ltd's creative problem solving, even coming up with new industries, such as Ski-Doo trailer enclosures that have sustained the business. It's a company of first choice when customers are in need to seek a canvas or vinyl solution. Most importantly, it's the fearless work ethic and determination of the United Sail Works Ltd's long lasting staff that have helped it grow and prosper. United Sail Works Ltd is tucked away in Pleasantville, next to the bottom of the historic Quidi Vidi Lake, where the city holds its oldest historic sporting event, the Royal St. John's Regatta. They're quietly creating long lasting, quality products for both the general public and business customers.
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