A Business Opportunity 2
Author's Note: Sorry I left this story hanging for so long. I will try to finish it now. And please excuse any historical mistakes in this story: I'm not exactly an expert on the Age of Sail. Did they have banks back then? Anyway, its just a small detail.
At first Will hadn't known what to do with the small fortune he had received from Norrington, Gillette and Groves. He was tempted to just keep the coins for the future, but then he remembered Jack had said he was supposed to use the money to improve his company. But how do you improve a blacksmith shop? That had stumped Will for a long time. As he pounded on his metal possibilities rolled through his mind, but none of them seemed any good. He couldn't advertise as he already had all the business he could handle. He could possibly hire an employee but he was unsure about that. So what did that leave?
"I could try learning a new skill, like making jewelry…" Will knew that jewelry was made out of metal as well, although he was unsure how different the two jobs were. Jewelry certainly sold for more money and he could possibly profit more, couldn't he? But did he want to do that fine work? He was uncertain.
What were other possibilities? Creating a new type of metal or finding a new faster way to do the work? Both of those required a lot of creative thinking and Will was uncertain he was up to the task. Still, before the six months were up he had to think of something. Perhaps he should concentrate on increasing the speed somehow, as he doubted if he could create a new metal.
Over the next few weeks Will kept track of what was taking the most time and he noticed that people kept bringing in horses that needed shoes. Heating the metal and then slowly pounding it into the proper shape took time. He had to keep reheating it and pounding, reheating and pounding until it was just right. Making all those horseshoes took away from his sword making, which is what really generated income. And there was always people wanting nails, screws and all those little things. It took a lot of time and effort to make them, but they didn't sell for very much. Yet he couldn't stop making them as the people of Port Royal relied on him to have them. Just a simple wagon needed nails, bolts, nuts, screws, metal frames for the wheels and a few more little bits.
Exhausted from a busy morning of making hundreds of roofing nails, Will closed the shop out and went to lunch. Thanks to selling shares in his blacksmith shop, Will could not eat better and he tended to get a more nutritious lunch these days. By eating better, he could do more work and he didn't feel so sleepy all the time, either.
Stopping by the fruit stand, he bought a large yellow banana and a ripe peach. Putting them into a little basket, he stopped off at the bakery where he got a long soft roll with little black seeds on the top. After picking up some sliced ham, a small hunk of white cheese plus a bottle of ale, he was ready to eat lunch. Finding a bit of green grass by the waterfront, Will lowered himself downward to eat. While eating, he would enjoy watching the activities in the port: the ships coming and going, people fishing and so forth. The sea air smelled good and he liked the breeze in his hair, as it reminded him of his recent adventure with the pirates.
Using his dagger, he sliced open the roll and stuck the ham within, then added the cheese. It was simple but good. Chewing his sandwich, Will reached for the peach and carefully sliced it in half, carving around the pit in the middle. Pulling on the two halves, the fruit came apart in his hands. Laying one half on his leg, he reached for the hard seen still stuck in the other half. As he gripped it and pulled it free, he noticed the indentation the seed had left behind. It fitted perfectly into the shallow little hole.
A thought started to grow into his head. Putting the seed down, he placed the two halves of the peach back together, knowing there was now a perfect seed-sized hole inside the fruit. If he were to pour melted metal into that hole, would the result be a seed-shaped piece of metal? Will was pretty sure it would be. Of course, he couldn't use a peach as it was too soft and mushy, but the idea seemed sound.
Taking another bite of his sandwich, Will chewed as he thought of his new idea. If only he could use this to make nails, screws, bolts and such quickly! Just make the proper shape somehow in an object, pour the metal in, let it harden and then shake it out. It had merit and Will grew excited. It would improve his business greatly! He could even make uniform horseshoes!
But what could he make the mold out of, wood or stone? He truly had no idea what type of material would work best. Deciding he would need to experiment with what he could find lying around, Will finished his lunch.
Weeks rolled past and then a few months. Will's experiments were going well and he was very satisfied with his new discovery. Thanks to his creativity, he now had small wooden barrels of already made nails, screws, bolts, nuts and other common items ready for sale. He had racks of different sized horseshoes for different sized horses. His shelves also contained ready-made bits that went into a horse's mouth and the various metal pieces that went onto the bridles. He also had a large stock of anchors, fishing hooks, chains and so forth. This had increased his business as the people didn't have to wait a few days for a blacksmith to make the order and costumers were coming from farther away for the fast service once the word got out. The truth was, people didn't like waiting a few days or even a few hours for their nails or bolts. No, they wanted it right away as they had their own work to do.
Then Mr. Brown suddenly fell very ill and had died, leaving Will the owner of the blacksmith shop. It was determined that Mr. Brown's liver and kidneys had gone bad from drinking too much alcohol all the time and there had been nothing anyone could do. At least it had been quick.
With his business increasing, Governor Swann was also looking more favorably at Will these days. He was very pleased with the neatly arranged shop and the numerous items for sale. That spoke of prosperity and the Governor approved. He invited Will over for supper more often and attempted to teach him more etiquette.
Then one day Will got another letter from Blackheart, Inc. Knowing that Jack must be back in town again, the young blacksmith closed up his shop and went for a stroll down by the waterfront. Truthfully he had been so busy with his new idea of using molds that he had forgotten all about the deal he had made with Jack Sparrow. He wouldn't have thought that was possible but it was. Had it already been three months already? The time had seemed to fly by so quickly, as business was booming. Spotting the familiar sign, he wasted no time and headed in through the door. The same snobby man with frock coat and powdered wig sat behind a desk, but this time he was issued in right away.
And there was Jack Sparrow sitting in the fancy office with a powdered wig perched atop his head. Will couldn't help smiling, as the wig was a very poor disguise!
"Well, Jack? Do I get any dividends from investing in your company?" Will asked, his mind wondering if Jack was actually going to come through for him.
"That you do, mate." Jack replied as he bent down for a moment and then lifted a small wooden chest about a foot long and nearly a foot tall onto the table. Opening it, he shoved it across the table towards the blacksmith. "There be yer share, William. Ye helped us greatly and we appreciate it. We've had a very profitable time of pirating as ye can clearly see."
Peering within, Will saw it was filled with gold doubloons, pieces of expensive jewelry and a few loose jewels. And that was only the top layer, who knew what lurked further down in the chest? Happiness spread through his chest and he looked up at Jack with tears in his eyes. "This is more than I had ever hoped for!"
"That's what friends are for, mate." Jack replied as he leaned back in his chair and took a swig of rum from a dark brown bottle. "I heard your business is doing better, too, William."
"Yes, it is and it's in thanks to you, Jack." Will added happily as he looked at his pirate friend. "I thought about what you had said before, about improving one's business and I applied it to my own. I ended up creating a few new techniques and that has increased my business tenfold."
"Very clever of you, mate." Jack smiled and leaned forward to pat Will on his shoulder in congratulations. "Ye want to invest again, mate?"
Will dug into his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins. It was about six times the amount he had given Jack before. This pleased Jack greatly, of course, and so he sold dear William six hundred shares of his pirate company, promising to return with his dividends in another three months.
Picking up his heavy chest of treasure, Will left for his blacksmith shop with a bounce in his step. Things were going so well that he'd have to open up a bank account.
More weeks and months passed, Will's blacksmith shop doing even better than before. He could now afford better clothes and he could take Elizabeth out to dinner. Thanks to Governor Swann's kindness, he knew what each spoon or fork was for so he didn't feel so confused when eating out with his betrothed. He was invited to parties as well, as the leaders of the community saw him now as a thriving business owner.
When the six months were up and the three navy men showed up together with their pieces of shareholder papers, Will was actually able to give them their money back plus a nice profit. In other words, he had doubled their money and they were all very pleased if surprised.
"I admit I am truly surprised, Mr. Turner." Commodore Norrington said as he accepted his dividends. "How have you managed to improve your business in such a short time, all by yourself?"
"I have started using a new technique called molds that I invented myself. That way I can make many small items, like nails, quickly. It saves me a lot of time so I can make swords and the larger parts for your ships. Without nails and those other little pieces of metal, Port Royal would fall apart."
"Yes, I suppose that is true." Commodore Norrington agreed. "In fact, the Dauntless needs more nails as we have run out."
Will smiled, as he knew the Navy was always running out of something. He led the three officers to the front right corner of the blacksmith shop where he had several barrels of ready made nails waiting to be sold. "I have plenty of nails right here."
"I can see why your business has improved." The Commodore said as he purchased the nails, promising to send someone to pick them up later in the day.
Yes, things were truly going well in Port Royal now.
Author's Note: I'm unsure when people started using molds to make metal items but I know it is an older technique if you do it the old-fashioned way. I'm not sure if it goes back this far though. Oh well, it is just a story.