Joe Soss, inventor of the Soss Invisible Hinge, packed a lot of living into seven decades.

Arriving in Montreal in 1894 from his native Rumania, the energetic young man started out as bricklayer and moved to Cleveland after hearing about a construction boom there. He soon became a contractor, building homes, stores, and schools.

He left the country during a cholera epidemic, and stumbled on a protruding cargo hold hinge while strolling on deck during the voyage home. Sometime between his fall and the moment he picked himself up, the idea for the invisible hinge was born.

A century later, his idea lives in millions of SOSS® Invisible Hinges in buildings and homes around the world, and in elevators, computers, jet planes, and wherever concealed hinges open and shut doors and lids.

Soss managed the growing company for more than 25 years and was succeeded by his two sons, Sam and C. J. In 1940, they moved the operation to Warren, Mich., a Detroit suburb, to be closer to automotive customers.