TIFFIN, OH, September 06, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Webster Industries, H.J. Heinz, Sherwin-Williams. Not three companies you usually see mentioned in the same sentence - or even in the same news story.
Webster, however, shares an important distinction with these and other major companies like PPG, NCR and Johnson Controls: All were founded in the late 1800s, and all are still going strong today.
Tiffin, Ohio-based Webster, in fact, celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, marking the 1876 founding of the Webster Manufacturing Company as a Chicago-based supplier to the burgeoning grain industry.
A story that started with the creation of the "Common-Sense" Elevator Bucket opens a new chapter in 2016 with the completion of Webster's most ambitious program of plant improvements and technology enhancements. The program will have encompassed more than $10 million and a 35,000-square-foot building addition by the end of the company's 140th year.
Let's go back to the beginning and Towner K. Webster's invention of that "Common Sense" Elevator Bucket which was precipitated by the introduction of the McCormick grain reaper. The reaper greatly increased farm efficiency and production, requiring the establishment of hundreds of grain elevators across the Midwest that all needed some mechanism to move the large amounts of grain being produced.
In stepped Towner K. with his elevator bucket, setting his company on a trajectory of quick growth and major facility expansions.
To this very day, some form of that elevator bucket remains in Webster's product catalog
, which has expanded to include engineered steel and malleable chains, buckets, welded chain, apron conveyors, chains for the automotive industry, and vibrating conveyors.
Webster's current management team intends to continue the company's success by targeting more diverse markets, optimizing service through technology, and enhancing capabilities through capital and intellectual investments.
"We are poised for growth and excellence in manufacturing for the foreseeable future," CEO Andrew Felter said. "Webster's vision is to be the global leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of engineered chain, sprockets, vibrating conveyors, and specialty castings."
Felter credited the company's move to ESOP status in 1986 as a major force in Webster's growth.
"The company's guiding principles from 1986, when Webster became an employee-owned company, have made an enormous contribution to the success Webster has enjoyed throughout the years and will be an essential part of the next decade," he said.
Other major developments in the company's 140-year history include:
- The company's move to Tiffin in 1907 to accommodate Webster's quickly expanding business and to avoid the labor unrest prevalent in Chicago at the time
- A series of acquisitions over the next two decades that made the company a giant in the manufacture of equipment for the moving and storage of grains and cereals
- A focus through the 1940s and 1950s on bulk material handling systems, engineered conveyors and special machinery for original equipment manufacturers
- The decision in the 1960s to expand markets, diversify and smooth out the historical roller-coaster highs and lows in traditional markets through acquisitions, leading to Webster's entry into the lumber and forest product markets
- Steady revenue growth from $3 million in 1956 to $22 million in 1976, $36 million in 1996, $42 million in 2006 and $57 million in 2014 - surpassing the company's goal to reach $50 million by 2015
Felter predicted continued growth for Webster, both as a company, employer and community member.
"We want to provide a better work environment and greater opportunities for Webster's exceptional people to be their best and create value in the products and services we provide for years to come," he said. "Trust, respect, understanding, and enjoyment at work will help us create the future of what we want to be as an organization."
About Webster Industries:
Webster Industries, Inc., headquartered in Tiffin, Ohio, is an innovative leader in the industrial conveyor chain and vibrating conveyor
markets and has evolved into a vertically integrated chain producer for the forest products, food, automotive, cement, grain, asphalt, recycling and steel industries. The company now employs more than 300 people nationwide and has facilities in Tiffin, Meridian, Mississippi, and Portland, Oregon. Throughout its years in business, Webster's focus has consistently been on American materials, American labor, and American pride. A strong concentration on customer service, based on seamless vertical integration, ensures Webster clients the highest quality products and service in the industry. With a commitment to quality products, continuous improvement, competitive pricing and superior customer service, Webster will continue to be an innovative leader in the chain industry in the United States and around the world.