Edward Hale Sears, a descendant of Elder William Brewster of Plymouth, was born on February 23, 1846 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.
The family later moved to Collinsville, Connecticut. Edward was a good student and had a talent for painting and engraving. He attended the High School in Collinsville and began work at the Collins Company at the age of 15. He expected to go to the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale but went to work as a bookkeeper in the Collins Company for 2 weeks at age 16.
The next year he became a draftsman, surveyor, and shipping clerk in the Company. Sears married in June 1868. He and his wife had three sons. In 1876, at age 30, he had charge of the Collins Company exhibit at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. He devised a clever method of fastening heavy tools in a velvet-lined case and also improved on the “Crocus” finish so that the tools appeared “nickel-plated.” In 1879 he was sent to Europe to check on trade-mark infringements by a German firm and succeeded in winning a settlement.
By 1884 he was a Vice-president of the Collins Company and in 1886, at age 39, became President, remaining in this office until his death in 1907. He was a member of many business organizations and a delegate at the Constitutional Convention in Hartford in 1902-1903. Among his accomplishments was the building of the stone dam at Otis Reservoir, built “to stand for a hundred years.” He was fond of music, had a good sense of humor and frequently praised his workmen.