Richards - Wilcox Company
The history of Richards Wilcox in Aurora dates back to the 1870’s, and its history was detailed in the Beacon News on August 17, 1952 and January 3, 1954. There were two parlor door hanger manufacturers: Sencenbaugh’s and Ives Manufacturing which were manufacturing the Ives parlor door hanger and Prindle Manufacturing Co., owned by O.N. Shedd and E.T. Prindle, making the Prindle parlor door hanger.
In 1880, Truman Day, D.W. Simpson, and J.H. Pease organized the Wilcox Manufacturing Co. and took over the Wilcox Carpet Sweeper factory and then bought out the Prindle Manufacturing Company. E.T. Prindle continued to work at Wilcox for several years. In 1904, the Richards Manufacturing Co. moved into its present 3 rd Street location to manufacture barn door hangers and parlor door hangers. In 1910, the Richards Company purchased the Wilcox Manufacturing Company from its owner, D.W. Simpson and consolidated operations under the name of Richards Wilcox with William Fitch as President and Milton D. Jones as Secretary/Treasurer.
Following the sudden death of William Fitch in 1947, the Board of Directors named Gordon Culver to fill the vacancy. Mr. Culver had graduated from Northwestern, went to work for Walgreens and learned the business, and, in the late 1930’s, became merchandise manager for the entire chain. He served in the Air Force and returned to civilian life in 1945, joining Rexall as Executive Vice President until the opportunity at Richards Wilcox presented itself. The Chairman of the Board was Milton Jones who joined Richards Wilcox in 1906 and served as advertising manager, sales manager, secretary/treasurer, and became Chairman in 1948.
From the early door hangers, the product line progressed to engineered systems for folding partitions and doors for school gymnasiums, as well as continuous power conveyor overhead track systems for other manufacturing processes and even systems for transporting crippled children in swimming pools for health and recreational purposes.
The decision to sell Richards Wilcox to White Consolidated, a large conglomerate, was made in 1967. It operated as a division of White Consolidated and later Electrolux, who purchased White Consolidated, until 1998 when it was sold to an investor group named RGI from Norway. In 2004, Maiford H. Anderer C.E.O., Scott Patrick C.F.O., and Rich White C.O.O. purchased the company from Dexion, a division of RGI. The company is now back in private hands.
In addition to the above company history, the following Richards-Wilcox information is from http://www.richardswilcox.com/about.htm:
Richards-Wilcox, Inc., located in Aurora, Illinois, is a privately owned manufacturer of office storage and filing systems, overhead power and free conveyor systems, and door hardware. The company, founded in 1880, has been in continuous operation at the same location.
Our office products, branded under the Aurora name, include Quik-Lok® Shelving; high density manual and electric Mobile Systems; Times-2 Speed Files®, a double-sided rotating file cabinet; and Wood-Tek™, a line of premium wood-clad case goods.
Richards-Wilcox overhead conveyor systems are available as manual or powered models. Safe-Rail®, Zig-Zag®, Twin-Trak® and Over-Way™ are industry standards for moving material efficiently and safely.
Richards-Wilcox Door Hardware products are used in a variety of markets including zoos, aquariums, barns, stables and commercial and residential historic applications.
Our plant in Aurora is a 400,000 square feet facility equipped with efficient machinery and manned with an experienced and dedicated work force which produces high quality products for our different markets.
From an earlier era, following is a view of Richards-Wilcox in the 1930's: