The story of BNOX originates in the early 1920's with the courtship between Burton Smith and Erma Newcomb. Burt was teaching in Racine, Wisconsin while Erma was teaching in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They corresponded frequently by mail and soon began closing their letters with BNOX.
On May 6,1922 Burt and Erma eloped to Winona, Minnesota and were married. They took their honeymoon on the Red Cedar River in Memomonie, Wisconsin. Soon after, they settled in Lacrosse, Wisconsin where Burt began teaching Industrial Arts at Central and later at Logan High School.
The secret of BNOX has remained intact for 70 years. Burt and Erma once said that they would reveal its meaning to their eight children and many grandchildren at their fiftieth wedding anniversary, but they never did. They share the secret meaning of BNOX in death as they did in life. It now graces Erma's headstone at the Oaklawn Cemetery here in Pepin. This shop was named BNOX Gold & Iron in memory of the secret and the love shared by Burt & Erma Smith.