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Throwback Thursday

The Will-Burt Company Celebrates 100th Anniversary! - January 31, 1918 was the day Burton W. Cope signed the incorporation documents creating The Will-Burt Company in Orrville, Ohio. A company founded on hard work, integrity, creative thinking and a relentless drive to succeed.

Throwback Thursday

Each weekly post will tell the story of Will-Burt’s evolution from a small repair shop in East Greenville, Ohio in 1894 to the present day as the world’s best mast company.



January 31, 1918 was the day Burton W. Cope signed the incorporation documents creating The Will-Burt Company in Orrville, Ohio. A company founded on hard work, integrity, creative thinking and a relentless drive to succeed.
January 11, 2018
The Will-Burt Company Celebrates 100th Anniversary! – January 31, 1918 was the day Burton W. Cope signed the incorporation documents creating The Will-Burt Company in Orrville, Ohio. A company founded on hard work, integrity, creative thinking and a relentless drive to succeed. Click here to read the company’s press release.
in 1894, John W. Cope and Burton G. Cope opened a repair shop in East Greenville, OhioWill-Burt made thousands of base plugs for 500-Pound General Purpose bombsStoker Factory EquipmentThe 1980's ushered in the telescoping mast and opened up the company to new products in markets
In 1894, brothers John W. and Burton G. Cope opened a repair shop in East Greenville, OhioWill-Burt manufactured thousands of base plugs for 500-Pound General Purpose bombsThe 1960's was an era of acquisitions including the "Combustioneer" product lineThe 1980's ushered in the telescoping mast and expanded into new markets

The Cope brothers purchased the patent rights to the Cyclone Drilling Machine – a water and shallow oil drilling rig in 1900 and moved their entire business from the hamlet of East Greenville, Ohio to a larger facility in Orrville, Ohio.
January 18, 2018
The Cope brothers purchased the patent rights to the Cyclone Drilling Machine – a water and shallow oil drilling rig in 1900 and moved their entire business from the hamlet of East Greenville, Ohio to a larger facility in Orrville, Ohio. It was in Orrville that the Cope brothers partnered with William A. Tschantz. The Cyclone Drill Company was incorporated in 1906 and was sold in 1914. Will-Burt’s Cyclone Drill Company became the Sanderson Cyclone Drill Company and lived on for many years.

The Cope brothers purchased the patent rights to the Cyclone Drilling Machine – a water and shallow oil drilling rig in 1900 and moved their entire business from the hamlet of East Greenville, Ohio to a larger facility in Orrville, Ohio. It was in Orrville that the Cope brothers partnered with William A. Tschantz. The Cyclone Drill Company was incorporated in 1906 and was sold in 1914.Moved into a larger facility in Orrville, Ohio on Walnut Street and brought in William A. Tschantz as a partner.  Business began to flourish as the water well drills became in high demand.Group photo of the Cyclone Drilling Machine Co. taken at their building in East Greenville, Ohio
Burton G. CopeWilliam H. TschantzJohn W. Cope with Cyclone Drilling Machine RigCyclone Drilling Machine Workers

Many people have wondered where the name “Will-Burt” originated – here is the definitive answer as told by our founder, Burton Cope, to a reporter for The Daily Record Newspaper in 1942: "There's a little story about that," explained Mr. Cope. "After we had sold the Cyclone Drill company in 1914, Will Tschantz and I wanted to do a little experimenting. We had to order some material and I asked Will in what name should we order the material. He was doing some painting at the time, and he had a paint brush in his hand. He stepped to the side of the building and painted the name 'Will-Burt' on the wall. We ordered the material in the name of the Will-Burt Company and I have been doing business in that name ever since."
January 25, 2018
Many people have wondered where the name “Will-Burt” originated – here is the definitive answer as told by our founder, Burton Cope, to a reporter for The Daily Record Newspaper in 1942: “There’s a little story about that,” explained Mr. Cope. “After we had sold the Cyclone Drill company in 1914, Will Tschantz and I wanted to do a little experimenting. We had to order some material and I asked Will in what name should we order the material. He was doing some painting at the time, and he had a paint brush in his hand. He stepped to the side of the building and painted the name ‘Will-Burt’ on the wall. We ordered the material in the name of the Will-Burt Company and I have been doing business in that name ever since.”

Original Incorporation Document
February 1, 2018
Happy Birthday Will-Burt! – It was 100 years ago this week that The Will-Burt Company as we know it today was incorporated. By this time William Tschantz had left on friendly terms to start his own meat processing equipment manufacturing business in Canton, Ohio. Burton G. Cope sold the remaining equipment and other assets he had acquired from his previous business endeavors to the new corporation. This made him the sole owner with 350 shares valued at $100 each. This total is equivalent to $616,797 in 2018 dollars. The “New” Will-Burt Company continued to make carpenter’s vises patented by John R. Long and equipment to off-load Model T’s that was patented by Burt Cope. Mr. Cope began a search for new opportunities to expand the business…
Original Incorporation DocumentOriginal Versa Vise patent from January 29, 1901 as designed by John R. LongWill Tschantz with Carpenter's Vise. This was rebranded as the Versa-Vise later.Equipment patented by Burt Cope to off-load Model T's from rail carsOffloading a Model T with Burt Cope's "Auto Jack" invention
Original Incorporation DocumentOriginal Incorporation DocumentWill Tschantz with Carpenter's Vise - later rebranded as the Versa-ViseEquipment patented by Burt Cope to off-load Model T's from rail carsOffloading a Model T with Burt Cope's invention

1920 was the year that Burt Cope landed the first big job for his new company. He answered an ad in a trade magazine put forth by the Hagan Corporation of Pittsburgh.
February 8, 2018
1920 was the year that Burt Cope landed the first big job for his new company. He answered an ad in a trade magazine put forth by the Hagan Corporation of Pittsburgh. One productive meeting and a handshake closed a deal that lasted 26 years. Manufacturing of steam room controls began in a new plant constructed by Will-Burt on North Main Street in Orrville, Ohio. The operation was sold to Hagan Westinghouse in 1946.
One productive meeting and a handshake closed a deal that lasted 26 years
Employees in front of the new plant constructed by Will-Burt on North Main Street in Orrville, Ohio built in 1927
The operation was sold to Hagan Westinghouse in 1946.Manufacturing of steam room controls began in a new plant constructed by Will-Burt on North Main Street in Orrville, Ohio.
Will-Burt's first major contract was to manufacture steam room controls for The Hagan Corporation

1928 was a momentous year in which Will-Burt signed a contract to build automatic coal stokers (machines that automatically feed coal into a furnace) for the Automatic Coal Burner Company of Seattle, WA. The significance of this single deal was that by 1931 Will-Burt was building their own stokers and subsequently became one of the dominant players in this industry. Will-Burt continued to build stokers and related equipment and parts until 2015 when the operation was sold to a former Will-Burt employee who continues to provide service parts for homes and businesses to this day.
February 15, 2018
1928 was a momentous year in which Will-Burt signed a contract to build automatic coal stokers (machines that automatically feed coal into a furnace) for the Automatic Coal Burner Company of Seattle, WA. The significance of this single deal was that by 1931 Will-Burt was building their own stokers and The significance of this single stoker deal was that by 1931 Will-Burt was building their own stokers and subsequently became one of the dominant players in this industry. Will-Burt continued to build stokers and related equipment and parts until 2015 when the operation was sold to a former Will-Burt employee who continues to provide service parts for homes and businesses to this day.subsequently became one of the dominant players in this industry. Will-Burt continued to build stokers and related equipment and parts until 2015 when the operation was sold to a former Will-Burt employee who continues to provide service parts for homes and businesses to this day.

February 22, 2018
By 1929, the stoker business had grown and an additional By 1929, the stoker business had grown and an additional building on South Main Street was purchased to house the expansion. Plant 2 as it came to be known was originally constructed by Schantz Organ in 1874 and was the first steam-driven factory in the city.building on South Main Street was purchased to house the expansion. Plant 2 as it came to be known was originally constructed by Schantz Organ in 1874 and was the first steam-driven factory in the city. The building was eventually sold because the Schantz family believed that Orrville city taxes had grown too high and they moved outside of the city limits. This plant was part of the Will-Burt organization until its sale in 1995 and eventual demolition to make way for a Rite Aid store.

The building was eventually sold because the Schantz family believed that Orrville city taxes had grown too high and they moved outside of the city limits. Plant 2 as it came to be known was originally constructed by Schantz Organ in 1874 and was the first steam-driven factory in the city.
By 1929, the stoker business had grown and an additional building on South Main Street was purchased to house the expansion. This plant was part of the Will-Burt organization until its sale in 1995 and eventual demolition to make way for a CVS store.

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Will-Burt manufactured precision machined aircraft parts for the C-54 Douglas cargo planes, to be used in the retracting mechanism, so essential to the safety of the crew and cargo.
March 1, 2018
WWII brought in additional business known as “jobbing”. This was sub-contract machine work on parts used in the production of military supplies and equipment. Some of these components were used in Bofors anti-aircraft guns, mechanisms for C54 Douglas cargo planes, gun recoil mechanisms, base plugs for 1000-lb bombs and arms for tanks as well as gears for the navy. As a result of the dedication and hard work of Will-Burt employees, the company was granted the “E Award” for excellence in production of war equipment. Only 5% of companies received this award. This outside work helped the company’s growth and introduced new business relationships with several manufacturing companies around the country.

Will-Burt manufactured landing Gear mechanisms for the C-54 Douglas Cargo Plane.Will-Burt also made parts for the Bofors anti-aircraft gun.Will-Burt manufactured thousands of base plugs for 500-pound bombs.The company was granted the “E-Award” for the employee’s dedication and hard work during the second world war effort.
Will-Burt manufactured landing Gear mechanisms for the C-54 Douglas Cargo Plane.
Will-Burt made parts for the Bofors anti-aircraft gun.
Will-Burt manufactured thousands of base plugs for 500-pound bombs.
Will-Burt was granted the “E-Award” during the second world war effort.

Stokers were still the core of Will-Burt’s business. Smaller heaters were added to the product line along with boilers. The home building boom after WWII undoubtedly helped to drive the business.
March 8, 2018

After WWII, Stokers were still the core of Will-Burt’s business. Smaller heaters were added to the product line along with boilers. The home building boom after WWII undoubtedly helped to drive the business. Large systems were sold to schools, greenhouses, chicken hatcheries and even tobacco curing operations.

Will-Burt’s tobacco curer was said to create better quality tobacco that could sell for 25% more than the going rate per pound. The secret was better heat circulation from a Will-Burt stoker-fired heating plant rather than traditional heaters of the time.

Will-Burt also offered related products to greenhouses such as soil sterilization equipment and mechanized shading systems. Both products were derivatives of heating and transmission technology that Will-Burt had developed for the core stoker and heating product line.

Will-Burt Combustioneer Stoker-Fired Heating Systems designed especially for the Broiler ProducersWill-Burt coal fired warm air heating systems for the poultry industry.Will-Burt's continuous product development lead to a tobacco curer which created better quality tobacco that could sell for 25% more than the going rate per pound.
Combustioneer Stoker-Fired Heating Systems designed especially for the Broiler Producers
Automatic Stoker Fired Coal Burning Equipment for the poultry industry.
Will-Burt’s Tobacco Curer was said to create better quality tobacco that could sell for 25% more than the going rate per pound.
Will-Burt Soil Sterilizers provide continuous steam sterilization that fits into automated operations and provides a good kill without recontamination problems.Will-Burt Automated Shade Curtains cover greenhouse plants automatically with a preset clock timer.
Efficient Soil Sterilizer provides a good kill without recontamination problems.
Automated Shade Curtains cover plants when they should be covered.

One such product was The Little Farmer Power Cultivator. In 1949, Ed Baer designed this unique machine for the home gardener, along with several optional accessory implements.
March 15, 2018

Will-Burt has always excelled at metal working and the company used this expertise to develop and launch new products. One such product was The Little Farmer Power Cultivator. In 1949, Ed Baer designed this unique machine for the home gardener, along with several optional accessory implements. This self-propelled tiller was powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and sold via catalog for $89.95.

The Little Farmer was a self-propelled tiller was powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and sold via catalog for $89.95.Will-Burt Little Farmer powered cultivator.Will-Burt had always excelled at metal working and the company used this expertise to develop and launch new products.  One such product was The Little Farmer Power Cultivator.  In 1949, Ed Baer designed this unique machine for the home gardener, along with several optional accessory implements.  This self-propelled tiller was powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and sold via catalog for $89.95.Ed Baer’s tenure was marked by diversification and expansion into other product segments.  The United States was in the midst of the post-war expansion years.  Consumerism was on the rise and opportunities to sell new and innovative products were plentiful.Will-Burt had always excelled at metal working and the company used this expertise to develop and launch new products.  One such product was The Little Farmer Power Cultivator.  In 1949, Ed Baer designed this unique machine for the home gardener, along with several optional accessory implements.  This self-propelled tiller was powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and sold via catalog for $89.95.
Little Farmer sales material from 1950.Full line of accessory implements for the Little Farmer.Little Farmer powered cultivator.

When Will-Burt began focusing on consumer products in the 1950’s, the carpenter’s vise was reintroduced to the public. A name was eventually conceived for the versatile vise “Versa-Vise” and was trademarked in 1954.
March 22, 2018

When Will-Burt began focusing on consumer products in the 1950’s, the carpenter’s vise was reintroduced to the public. A name was eventually conceived for the versatile vise “Versa-Vise” and was trademarked in 1954. In 1956, a new version of the vise was introduced along with a swivel base and additional accessories. It was launched in October of the same year, with a tagline of “More than a vise, a workshop tool” and sold in stores for $12.95. The Versa-Vise became so popular that The Columbian Vise and Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio contracted Will-Burt to manufacture the vise under their own private label, Gyro-vise. The ‘Versa Vise’ trademark was renewed in 1974 before its eventual sale in 1988. Today, the Versa-Vise is produced and sold by JonMar Gear and Machine, owned and operated by a former Will-Burt employee.

When Will-Burt began focusing on consumer products in the 1950’s, the carpenter’s vise was reintroduced to the public.  A name was eventually conceived for the versatile vise “Versa-Vise” and was trademarked in 1954.In 1956, a new version of the vise was introduced along with a swivel base and additional accessories.  It was launched in October of the same year, with a tagline of “More than a vise, a workshop tool” and sold in stores for $12.95.The ‘Versa Vise’ trademark was renewed in 1974 before its eventual sale in 1988.  Today, the Versa-Vise is produced and sold by JonMar Gear and Machine, owned and operated by a former Will-Burt employee.
Versa Vise registered trademark documents from 1954. Versa Vise logo registration from 1954.Versa Vise trademark renewal documents from 1973.
The carpenter’s vise continued virtually unchanged and received little attention until Will-Burt began focusing on consumer products in the 1950’s.  A name was eventually conceived for the versatile vise “Versa-Vise” and was trademarked in 1954.  In 1956, a new version of the vise was introduced along with a swivel base and additional accessories.  It was launched in October of the same year, with a tagline of “More than a vise, a workshop tool” and sold in stores for $12.95.  The Versa-Vise became so popular that The Columbian Vise and Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio contracted Will-Burt to manufacture the vise under their own private label, Gyro-vise. The ‘Versa Vise’ trademark was renewed in 1974 before its eventual sale in 1988.  Today, the Versa-Vise is produced and sold by JonMar Gear and Machine, owned and operated by a former Will-Burt employee.The Versa-Vise became so popular that The Columbian Vise and Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio contracted Will-Burt to manufacture the vise under their own private label, Gyro-vise.
Original Versa Vise logo from the 1950's.Versa Vise promotional literatureVersa Vise promotional materials.

 In 1961, Will-Burt purchased the Combustioneer and Freeman stokers line from the Heating Division of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company. To house this acquisition and provide space for increased production, the Orrville Body Company building on West Pine Street in Orrville was purchased.
March 29, 2018

As the company ushered in the 1960’s, Ed Baer passed the CEO torch to his son, William Baer who had been working in the Engineering division of the company. Ed enjoyed a 10-year retirement and passed away on April 29th, 1971.

It was Bill’s strategy to grow Will-Burt’s stoker and heating business through acquisitions. In 1961, Will-Burt purchased the Combustioneer and Freeman stokers line from the Heating Division of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company. To house this acquisition and provide space for increased production, the Orrville Body Company building on West Pine Street in Orrville was purchased. In 1963, the company purchased the screw manufacturing operation from the Iron Fireman Company. An additional building on South Main Street, directly north of Plant 2 and across the railroad tracks was purchased to house this new operation. In 1966, Will-Burt purchased the remaining balance of the Iron Fireman Stoker Division from Space Conditioning, Inc.

These acquisitions provided the company with the ability to sell many different models and brand names under the Will-Burt umbrella.

In 1961, Will-Burt purchased the Combustioneer and Freeman stokers line from the Heating Division of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company.  To house this acquisition and provide space for increased production, the Orrville Body Company building on West Pine Street in Orrville was purchased. In 1963, the company purchased the screw manufacturing operation from the Iron Fireman Company.  An additional building on South Main Street, directly north of Plant 2 and across the railroad tracks was purchased to house this new operation. The "Combustioneer" trade name acquisition provided the company with the ability to sell many different models and brand names under the Will-Burt umbrella.
The "Combustioneer" Stoker line was purchased in 1961.
The Iron Fireman Stoker Division was purchased in 1966.
"Combustioneer" public relations material
It was Bill’s strategy to grow Will-Burt’s stoker and heating business through acquisitions.  In 1961, Will-Burt purchased the Combustioneer and Freeman stokers line from the Heating Division of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company.  To house this acquisition and provide space for increased production, the Orrville Body Company building on West Pine Street in Orrville was purchased.  In 1963, the company purchased the screw manufacturing operation from the Iron Fireman Company.  An additional building on South Main Street, directly north of Plant 2 and across the railroad tracks was purchased to house this new operation.  In 1966, Will-Burt purchased the remaining balance of the Iron Fireman Stoker Division from Space Conditioning, Inc.As the company ushered in the 1960’s, Ed Baer passed the CEO torch to his son, William Baer who had been working in the Engineering division of the company.  Ed enjoyed a 10-year retirement and passed away on April 29th, 1971.These acquisitions provided the company with the ability to sell many different models and brand names under the Will-Burt umbrella.
Will-Burt Stokers public relations material.


April 5, 2018
The ABC Electric Automatic Sandblaster was said to boost shop output, save labor and protect health.

Coal use by homeowners was beginning to decline by the late 1960’s. Sales were declining by 25% every year. A memo from Bill Baer was sent to all employees in March of 1968 attributing the reason for the lack of profits to: “We employees of The Will-Burt Company are employed in a dying industry”.

Even though Will-Burt was experiencing a downward trend, the company was still healthy with several new products on the horizon such as the Motow Tire Rack, ABC Sandblaster, Open House Merchandising Stand and Soil Sterilizer. Patience and sound judgement was preached by Bill Baer as he certainly was not tolling the death knell. Instead, Bill “looked forward to the future of our company whether we are in the coal heating business or not. Present new products as the future development and manufacture of additional new products will make our company, through our continued cooperative effort and hard work, one of Orrville’s dynamic companies”.

A solid piece of stone engraved with the ABC Sandblaster used for sales purposes.Will-Burt's ABC Electric Automatic Sandblaster Sales LiteratureSales Literature for Will-Burt's MoTow Servi-Cycle Mechanic's Console.Will-Burt's MoTow original logo.
A solid piece of stone engraved by the ABC Sandblaster used for sales purposes.
Will-Burt's ABC Electric Automatic Sandblaster Sales Literature.
Sales literature for Will-Burt's MoTow Servi-Cycle Mechanic's Console.
Will-Burt's MoTow original logo.
Will-Burt's Soil Sterilizer provided a good kill without recontamination problems.Will-Burt's Soil Sterilizer sales literature.Will-Burt Open House Multi-Use HouseWill-Burt's Open House Merchandising Stands were either permanent or portable stands for special events.
Will-Burt's Soil Sterilizer provided a good kill without recontamination problems.
Will-Burt's Soil Sterilizer sales literature.
Will-Burt's Open House Stands were either permanent or portable stands.

April 12, 2018
Thanks to the descendants of Will Tschantz for sharing a key to the building in Orrville used by Burt and John Cope along with Will Tschantz. Constructed in the early 1870’s by John Dunn as an engine works and cider mill, this historic structure located on West Market Street was used by The Cyclone Drilling Machine Company at the turn of the 20th century before its eventual sale to Ted Sanderson of The Sanderson-Cyclone Company. The building was subsequently used by several companies; including Stoller Floors, Hinkle Pontiac and Bernard Snyder Ford before it was unfortunately lost to a fire on May 4, 2003.
Thanks to the descendants of Will Tschantz for sharing a key to the building in Orrville used by Burt and John Cope along with Will Tschantz. Constructed in the early 1870’s by John Dunn as an engine works and cider mill, this historic structure located on West Market Street was used by The Cyclone Drilling Machine Company at the turn of the 20th century before its eventual sale to Ted Sanderson of The Sanderson-Cyclone Company. The building was subsequently used by several companies; including Stoller Floors, Hinkle Pontiac and Bernard Snyder Ford before it was unfortunately lost to a fire on May 4, 2003.
.  Constructed in the early 1870’s by John Dunn as an engine works and cider mill, this historic structure located on West Market Street was used by the Cyclone Drilling Company at the turn of the 20th century before its eventual sale to Ted Sanderson of The Sanderson-Cyclone Company.The building was subsequently used by several companies; including Stoller Floors, Hinkle Pontiac and Bernard Snyder Ford before it was unfortunately lost to a fire on May 4, 2003.Constructed in the early 1870’s by John Dunn as an engine works and cider mill, this historic structure located on West Market Street was used by the Cyclone Drilling Company at the turn of the 20th century before its eventual sale to Ted Sanderson of The Sanderson-Cyclone Company.The building was subsequently used by several companies; including Stoller Floors, Hinkle Pontiac and Bernard Snyder Ford before it was unfortunately lost to a fire on May 4, 2003.
The Cyclone Drilling Machine Company building in Orrville, Ohio from the turn of the 20th century.
The Cyclone Drilling Machine Company building on West Market Street in Orrville, Ohio.
Aerial view of the building on West Market Street around the 1920's.
Aerial view of the building on West Market Street around the 1950's.

April 19, 2018

Bill Tschantz was the grandson of William H. Tschantz and Original Plant of The W.H. Tschantz & Sons Co. in Canton, Ohio, manufacturers of butcher and grocery equipment
worked for the family business, W.H. Tschantz & Sons along with his uncles and cousins. The company manufactured butcher and grocery equipment, however they were struggling to make ends meet. In 1956, the family decided to sell the business to Biro Manufacturing of Marblehead, Ohio and retained Bill Tschantz and other family members to run the meat grinding division that has remained in Canton, Ohio until this day.

The Tschantz legacy came full circle when grandson Bill approached Will-Burt to engineer and manufacture a new type of meat processing machine, the Frozen Block Chipper in 1967. What began as a contract manufacturing agreement to produce a single product, expanded into a long-term relationship building a full line of meat processing products that still stands to this day.

Newspaper article depicting the sale of The W.H. Tschantz & Sons Co. to the Biro Manufacturing company, producers of meat processing equipment in Marblehead, Ohio.Biro auto-feed Mixer/Grinder
Biro Mixer/Grinder manufactured by The Will-Burt Company beginning in the late 1960's.
Biro auto-feed Mixer/Grinder
Biro auto-feed Mixer/Grinder
Biro ground meat line manufactured by The Will-Burt Company. This meat line was capable of producing 40,000 to 1000,000 lbs. of ground meat per week.Technical drawing for the Biro Meat Processing line dated August 24, 1973
Newspaper article depicting the sale of The W.H. Tschantz & Sons Co. to the Biro Manufacturing Company.
Biro ground meat processing line manufactured by The Will-Burt Company.
Technical drawing for the Biro meat processing line dated August 24, 1973.

April 26, 2018

Will-Burt’s manufacturing division continued to produce During the 1960's, Will-Burt continued to machine parts for local companies including Hyco of Ashland, AMF Bowling of Shelby and Flo-Tork of Orrville.heating products throughout the 1960’s. The company made a strategic decision to expand its contract manufacturing and OEM work which consisted of high-quality fabrication, welding and painting. Will-Burt manufactured alarmed drive-thru teller drawers for Diebold, produced meat processing equipment for The Biro Manufacturing Company and fabricated parts for Hi-Lo scaffolding. Will-Burt also continued to machine parts for local companies including Hyco of Ashland, AMF Bowling of Shelby and Flo-Tork of Orrville.

The ABC Electric Automatic Sandblaster capable of cleaning parts and engraving headstones was manufactured and sold directly to customers by Will-Burt. This machine was advertised to boost shop output, save labor and protect health.

Will-Burt also continued to machine parts for local companies including Hyco of Ashland, AMF Bowling of Shelby and Flo-Tork of Orrville.


May 3rd, 2018
The Flexolite light fixture was sold for better lighting of mills, shops and factories.

They can’t all be home runs! Here are some examples of Will-Burt products that might have been ahead of their time or maybe just in too much of a niche market. Many are clever ideas that just did not take root in the market and lasted only a few years.

The Little Farmer was a self-propelled tiller was powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and sold via catalog for $89.95.Will-Burt's Soil Sterilizer sales literature.
The Little Farmer powered cultivator manufactured and distributed by The Will-Burt Company.Will-Burt's automated shade curtains and efficient soil sterilizer never quite gained traction.Open House Stands were permanent or portable special events stands for parks, sports arenas, beaches and more.
Will-Burt's hot water boiler from the 1950's never took off in the commercial market and unfortunately became popular with moonshine stills.The Flexolite light fixture was sold for better lighting of mills, shops and factories.
Will-Burt's hot water boiler from the 1950's.The Flexolite light fixture was sold for better lighting of mills, shops and factories.The Servi-Cycle was marketed as "THE" mechanic's console for motorcycles.

May 10, 2018

Burton G. Cope started a business enterprise that has spanned Burton G. Cope behind his desk at work.three centuries and we primarily know him as a leader of industry. However, Burt had a very human side. He was known to be generous to his employees and the community and even had car troubles just like the rest of us.

Burton G. Cope wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty, taken at the old Schantz Organ Plant at 202 S. Main Street.Burton G. Cope standing with a Cyclone Drilling Rig taken behind the original plant on West Market Street.This is the original gateway to Orr Park which was donated by Burton G. Cope.
Burton G. Cope wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty, taken at the old Schantz Organ Plant at 202 S. Main Street
Burt Cope with a Cyclone Drilling Rig taken behind their plant on West Market Street.
The original gateway to Orr Park, donated by Burt Cope.
Burt Cope was a very generous man to his past and current employees.Burt Cope was always thinking on his feet even in matters of life and death.Burt Cope was always thinking on his feet even in matters of life and death.
Burt Cope was a very generous man to his past and current employees.
Burt Cope was always thinking on his feet even in matters of life and death.
Obituary of Burton G. Cope, Will-Burt Founder.

May 17, 2018

Thomas Mold & Die (TMD) of Wooster, Ohio had been a Thomas Mold & Die (TMD) of Wooster, Ohio had been a supplier of parts for Will-Burt over the years. In 1970, Will-Burt management decided to purchase TMD because of their tool & die capabilities that would help expand Will-Burt’s contract manufacturing business. TMD, located on West Henry Street also made rubber molds and telescoping masts under the trade name “SKY-HI”. These masts were primarily used to elevate antennas for the communication industry such as TV broadcast vans and remote radio transmitters. As history would prove, the acquisition of Thomas Mold & Die would be a watershed moment in Will-Burt’s evolution.
supplier of parts for Will-Burt over the years. In 1970, Will-Burt management decided to purchase TMD because of their tool & die capabilities that would help expand Will-Burt’s contract manufacturing business. TMD, located on West Henry Street also made rubber molds and telescoping masts under the trade name “SKY-HI”. These masts were primarily used to elevate antennas for the communication industry. As history would prove, the acquisition of Thomas Mold & Die would be a watershed moment in Will-Burt’s evolution.

Thomas Mold & Die (TMD) of Wooster, Ohio had been a supplier of parts for Will-Burt over the years.  In 1970, Will-Burt management decided to purchase TMD because of their tool & die capabilities that would help expand Will-Burt’s contract manufacturing businessTMD, located on West Henry Street also made rubber molds and telescoping masts under the trade name “SKY-HI”.
Original SKY-HI Sales Literature before Will-Burt's acquisitionWill-Burt Sales Literature for SKY-HI Telescoping Masts
As history would prove, the acquisition of Thomas Mold & Die would be a watershed moment in Will-Burt’s evolution.
Original location of Thomas Mold and Die on West Henry Street in Wooster, OhioOriginal SKY-HI model tag from The Thomas Mold and Die Co.

May 24, 2018
Will-Burt developed new contract manufacturing and OEM relationships with many large, well-known companies throughout the 1970’s.

Will-Burt developed new contract manufacturing and OEM relationships with many large, well-known companies throughout the 1970’s. Fabrication work was performed for White Trucks which later became Volvo White. Additionally, work for Diebold became more complex as Will-Burt took on installation of wiring harnesses and electronics, along with welding of teller window assemblies. The company also established a long-lasting partnership with Caterpillar; welding, fabricating and painting components for heavy equipment. This business relationship endures to this day.

Several products machined by Will-Burt's manufacturing department.Will-Burt's Manufacturing Capabilities during the 1970's.Will-Burt's gear cutting department.
Several products machined by Will-Burt's manufacturing department.
Will-Burt's Manufacturing Capabilities during the 1970's.
Will-Burt's gear cutting department.
Will-Burt's manufacturing department prided itself on taking on the whole job from beginning to end.Will-Burt Is Your Partner in Manufacturing.Will-Burt's manufacturing region consisted of several states within the country's Industrial Hub.
Will-Burt's manufacturing department prided itself on taking on the whole job from beginning to end.
Will-Burt Is Your Partner in Manufacturing.
Will-Burt's manufacturing region consisted of several states within the country's Industrial Hub.

May 31, 2018
Will-Burt’s third CEO, Bill Baer 1960-1984.

William Baer born in 1916, was an industrialist and community leader that worked for The Will-Burt Company for his entire career. The 48-year legacy of William Baer began in 1936 as an engineer and he worked his way up to succeed his father, Ed Baer, as the company’s third CEO in 1961. Bill’s influence extended beyond Will-Burt into the city of Orrville and Wayne County.

Bill actively served on the Orrville Public Utilities Board for 19 years and been chairman of the city’s Chamber of Commerce and a past president and member of the Orrville Exchange Club. He was instrumental in bringing Wayne College, a branch of the University of Akron, to Orrville.

As president of the Wayne County Airport Authority, he played a major role in the development of the Wayne County Airport. Flying was a passion of Bill’s as demonstrated by the company purchase Bill’s early days at Will-Burt in the engineering department.of an airplane to transport sales and service people around the country.

Bill always lived by the words as told to him by his father “the road to progress is always under construction” which was reflected in his work. In 1980, he was named as Orrville’s Citizen of the Year which reflected his love and concern for Orrville and Wayne County throughout his life.

Bill’s unexpected passing on October 6, 1984, marked the end of the Cope family’s stewardship of The Will-Burt Company.


June 7, 2018
The Patriot Missile Defense System while extended.

In 1981, the GTE Corporation’s Government Systems division approached Will-Burt in need of their pneumatic mast technology for vehicle integration to fulfill a contract GTE had secured. Over the next 2 years, GTE and Will-Burt worked to engineer and develop the Patriot (Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept Of Target) Mast. The first order for 300 masts was placed in 1983. This program was the first indication that the mast pneumatic mast business had potential to positively contribute to the company’s bottom line. In 1984, the company moved the growing mast division to a new building in the Orrville Industrial Park at 401 Collins Boulevard.

The Patriot Masts are used to elevate transmission equipment including radars and antennas for missile defense systems that are deployed around the world. The GTE Corporation sold its Government Systems division to General Dynamics at the turn of the 21st century and Will-Burt continues to manufacture and service these masts to this day.

GTE Government Systems Magic Mast Sell Sheet.GTE Government Systems Magic Mast Sell Sheet.The Patriot Missile Defense System stowed.The new home of Will-Burt's Telescoping Mast Division from 1984.
GTE Government Systems Magic Mast Sell Sheet.
The Patriot Missile Defense System stowed.
The new home of Will-Burt's Telescoping Mast Division from 1984.

June 14, 2018
Will-Burt kept the homes and businesses warm into the 1980’s with their line of “Combustioneer” coal and wood fired heating products.
Combustioneer Model 65TU Coal and Wood Burning Heater.Combustioneer Model 77L9 Stoker Fired Space Heater.Combustioneer Model 77 Stoker Fired Space Heater.
Model 65TU Coal and Wood Burning Heater.
Model 77L9 Stoker Fired Space Heater.
Model 65TU Coal and Wood Burning Heater.
Combustioneer-Beck Coal and Wood Fired Furnace.Sales Literature for Will-Bur'st Combustioneer-Beck Coal and Wood Fired Furnace.
Combustioneer-Beck Coal and Wood Fired Furnace.
Combustioneer-Beck Coal and Wood Fired Furnace.
Will-Burt Commercial and Industrial Coal and Wood Fired Furnace.

June 21, 2018
Will-Burt pneumatic masts mounted on broadcast vehicles

In 1981, Will-Burt visited The NAB Exposition (National Association of Broadcasters) and realized there was a new and growing market for pneumatic masts. Live TV broadcasts were becoming popular and were being used as a new marketing platform by local and national television broadcasters. ENG (Electronic News Gathering) vehicles were being produced at a rapid pace. Every one of these vehicles required a device capable of elevating a microwave dish to approximately 50 feet in the air and Will-Burt had the perfect solution. The company’s 7-42 Non-Locking Pneumatic Mast met the need perfectly.

The 7-42 was and still is a lightweight and easy to operate elevation system perfect for raising antennas. By the mid-1990’s, Will-Burt’s pneumatic masts could be found on 98% of ENG vehicles throughout the United States. Will-Burt continues to attend the NAB expo and demonstrate their latest innovations designed to meet the elevation requirements of smaller vehicles and more advanced broadcast systems.

Will-Burt Pneumatic Mast  while extended.ENG van with two Will-Burt pneumatic masts elevating golden rod antennas from the early days of mobile broadcasting.Will-Burt Pneumatic Masts - the red "wrap" around the mast is called Nycoil and it contains the cables that transmit the data to and from the antenna.Will-Burt Pneumatic Mast sales literature from 1987
Will-Burt Pneumatic Mast while extended.
ENG van with two Will-Burt pneumatic masts elevating golden rod antennas.
Will-Burt Pneumatic Masts with Nycoil transmitting data to and from the antenna.
Will-Burt Pneumatic Mast sales literature from 1987.

June 28, 2018
Harry Featherstone was promoted to president of The Will-Burt Company after Bill Baer’s unexpected passing in 1984.  Harry and the company faced many challenges after a personal injury lawsuit was filed against Hi-Lo scaffolding which was a Will-Burt customer.  Hi-Lo scaffolding filed for bankruptcy and subsequently went out of business.  Will-Burt manufactured components for this product and had the deepest pockets.

Harry Featherstone was promoted to president of The Will-Burt Company after Bill Baer’s unexpected passing in 1984. Harry and the company faced many challenges after a personal injury lawsuit was filed against Hi-Lo scaffolding which was a Will-Burt customer. Hi-Lo scaffolding filed for bankruptcy and subsequently went out of business. Will-Burt manufactured components for this product and had the deepest pockets. This made the company a target as well even though their components did not fail. Will-Burt settled, unfortunately encouraging other predatory lawyers to file additional lawsuits against Will-Burt. This required the company to take action and spend an enormous amount of resources to survive during this dark period of the company’s history; during which board members abandoned the company and insurers cancelled its policies. The company’s owners believed the only option was to liquidate the company’s assets and close its doors for good. However, Harry Featherstone was not ready to abandon the company and employees.

Harry believed survival was a possibility for Will-Burt as an Employee-Owned Company.

The lawsuit made the company a target as well even though their components did not fail.  Will-Burt settled, unfortunately encouraging other predatory lawyers to file additional lawsuits against Will-Burt.  This required the company to take action and spend an enormous amount of resources to survive during this dark period of the company’s history; during which board members abandoned the company and insurers cancelled its policies.  The company’s owners believed the only option was to liquidate the company’s assets and close its doors for good.  However, Harry Featherstone was not ready to abandon the company and employees.  .  Harry and the company faced many challenges after a personal injury lawsuit was filed against Hi-Lo scaffolding which was a Will-Burt customer.  Hi-Lo scaffolding filed for bankruptcy and subsequently went out of business
Magazine Article from 1988 depicting Will-Burt's transition.
Employee Photos from 1980.
ESOP - Employee Stock Ownership Plan Logo


July 5, 2018

Will-Burt Orrville factory locations over the years.

Aerial View of Downtown Orrville from the 1970s

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Aerial View NE OrrvilleAerial view of the downtown building on West Market Street from the 1920s or 1930s.Will-Burt's Plant 1 on West Market Street from the 1950s.
Aerial View NE Orrville
West Market Street Plant from the 1920s or 1930s.
West Market Plant from the 1950s.
Burt Cope's home next to Will-Burt's Plant 2 at 202 S. Main StreetAerial View of Construction at 401 Collins Blvd in Orrville's Industrial Park
S. Main Street Plant. Burt Cope's home is circled.
Aerial View of Construction at 401 Collins Blvd. in Orrville's Industrial Park from the 1990s.

July 12, 2018
Will-Burt purchased the rights to build a line of portable, outdoor chemical and hazardous material containment shelters in 1987.  EPA requirements were driving demand for these products and Will-Burt’s metal fabrication capabilities aligned well to manufacture the shelters.

Will-Burt purchased the rights to build a line of portable, outdoor chemical and hazardous material containment shelters in 1987. EPA requirements were driving demand for these products and Will-Burt’s metal fabrication capabilities aligned well to manufacture the shelters. The division was known as EPI (Environmental Products, Inc.) and Will-Burt sold various configurations to US military installations and golf courses. In 1998 management decided to refocus and sold the business to Benko Products who continue to sell these containment shelters today.

July 19, 2018
1977 was the peak of the energy crisis. Natural gas and fuel oil were in short supply so demand for coal and coal burning furnaces and the stokers that fed them shot through the roof. Will-Burt was one of the few remaining companies that could supply these products. One grade school was so desperate for Will-Burt Stokers that they asked the kids to write letters to the company explaining why they needed them so badly.

Something from the company scrapbook…
1977 was the peak of the energy crisis. Natural gas and fuel oil were in short supply so demand for coal and coal burning furnaces and the stokers that fed them shot through the roof. Will-Burt was one of the few remaining companies that could supply these products. One grade school was so desperate for Will-Burt Stokers that they asked the kids to write letters to the company explaining why they needed them so badly.

July 26, 2018
Will-Burt’s manufacturing capabilities were extended into the automotive aftermarket with the production of Trick Flow Cylinder Heads. This was said to add 72 horsepower to the standard 350 cubic inch Chevy small block engine. Will-Burt produced this product for TFS throughout the 1980s and 1990s and it can still be purchased today from Summit Racing.

Will-Burt’s manufacturing capabilities were extended into the automotive aftermarket with the production of Trick Flow Cylinder Heads. This was said to add 72 horsepower to the standard 350 cubic inch Chevy small block engine. Will-Burt produced this product for TFS throughout the 1980s and 1990s and it can still be purchased today from Summit Racing.

Trick Flow Newspaper Article dated October 10, 1985Trick Flow photo from October, 1985 featuring Will-Burt's CEO Harry Featherstone.Trick Flow product literature.
Trick Flow newspaper article from October, 1985
Trick Flow photo from October, 1985
Trick Flow product literature
Trick Flow cylinder heads product specifications.Photos of the Trick Flow Cylinder Head.
Trick Flow cylinder heads product specifications
Photos of the Trick Flow Cylinder Head


August 2, 2018
We have been able to work on some very interesting projects over the years. In the late 1990s, we worked with a golf course in Shanghai, China and developed four large telescoping light towers that were mounted in the ground – a first for Will-Burt.

We have been able to work on some very interesting projects over the years. In the late 1990s, we worked with a golf course in Shanghai, China and developed four large telescoping light towers that were mounted in the ground – a first for Will-Burt. The exclusive golf club wanted their members to be able to golf at night when it was cooler but did not the towers to obstruct the view during the day. Of course, telescoping light towers by Will-Burt were the perfect solution!

Engineering rendering of Will-Burt's telescoping mast with lights with an extended height of 47.5 ft. / 15 m at night.Installation of the telescoping mast. Each mast system includes a remotely controlled air compressor as well as an extendable wiring assembly with electrical junction boxes, light fixture support and mounting hardware.Mast with nested height of 10 ft. / 3 m during the day so the view of the course isn't obstructed.
Engineering rendering of Will-Burt's telescoping mast with lights
Installation of the telescoping mast
The mast is nested during the day so the course's view isn't obstructed
Newspaper article from 1999 depicting the lighting project for the Shanghai golf course

August 9, 2018
Employees at the Cyclone Drilling Machine Company building on W. Market Street in Orrville.

Circa 1905 – A Cyclone Drill Machine loaded on a rail car to the side of the Orrville plant. Ira and Mart, children of Will Tschantz are identified in the photo.

August 16, 2018

Ed Baer VP of Will-Burt on the left and Bob McFadden Sales Manager on the right discussing a new product.

We did not know what the contraption was that Ed Baer VP of Will-Burt on the left and Bob McFadden Sales Manager on the right were looking at until we found the lighted sales sign at the Orrville Historical Society. We are assuming that this was used to convert a coal burning furnace to oil and was likely introduced in the late 1940’s. If anyone knows for certain or has one in their basement, send us a message!

Will-Burt's softball team.
August 23, 2018
Will-Burt employees have always known how to have a good time. Here are some examples from the 1930s and 1940s.

Will-Burt's championship bowling teamWill-Burt Chorus Girls from January 6, 1945Will-Burt's swim team at Orr Park
Will-Burt's championship bowling team
Will-Burt chorus girls from January 6, 1945
Will-Burt's swim team at Orr Park

August 30, 2018
Will-Burt's Merchandising House contained an open display and service area to provide a smart and modern look to enhance products and surroundings.

Will-Burt has always looked for new business opportunities. The company put their metal working and painting expertise to work when they launched their “Open House” metal retail and storage buildings in the 1960’s. This program lasted into the 1970’s.

Will-Burt's Standard Multi-Use House kept equipment and materials and safe with big, sliding doors for easy access.Will-Burt's permanent or portable special events stand were a rigid construction with heavy materials to withstand weather conditions; perfect for parks and sports arenas.Will-Burt's Deluxe Merchandising House could be moved by truck or trailer to any location to provide a sheltered display and service area on the golf course, at the beach or playground.
Will-Burt's Standard Multi-Use House kept equipment and materials and safe
Will-Burt's permanent or portable special events stands were perfect for parks and sports arenas
Will-Burt's Deluxe Merchandising House provided a sheltered display and service area on the golf course, at the beach or playground.
Will-Burt Open House Merchandise Stand sales literatureWill-Burt Multi-Use House sales literatureWill-Burt's multi-use structures were ruggedly constructed to store and protect tools and materials and could easily be dismantled for transport.
Will-Burt Open House Merchandise Stand sales literature
Will-Burt Multi-Use House sales literature
Will-Burt's multi-use structures were ruggedly constructed to store and protect tools and materials


September 6, 2018
Will-Burt's docking pedestal recessed inside of a fiberglass dockbox.

Accurate Electronics was a supplier of several revolutionary products to Will-Burt such as the D-TEC overhead power line safety device for masts and the TacStick (today known as the Hot Stick) handheld high voltage detection device. They also developed a new quartz halogen light for the Night Scan light tower. Will-Burt in turn supplied metal housings for Accurate electronics’ dockside pedestals that were used to supply power and water to boats docked in marinas. 1999 was the year Will-Burt acquired Accurate Electronics of North Ridgeville, Ohio and integrated their capabilities into their expanding portfolio. 2008 was the year that Will-Burt spun off the dockside pedestal business as the company focused on their core capabilities in the mast market.

A row of Will-Burt docking pedestals in use.Close-up of a Will-Burt dockside power pedestal.Will-Burt's D-TEC safety pack wins TV Broadcasters award newspaper article from the late 1990s.
A row of Will-Burt docking pedestals in use
Close-up of a Will-Burt dockside power pedestal
Will-Burt's D-TEC safety pack wins TV Broadcasters award newspaper article from the late 1990s
TACStick sales literature from the 1990s.Will-Burt's dockside power pedestal.Accurate Electronics' sales literature from the 1990s.
TACStick sales literature from the 1990s
Will-Burt's dockside power pedestal
Accurate Electronics' sales literature from the 1990s

September 13, 2018
Police helicopter view of a plane that ran off the runway in the water at LaGuardia airport. 6-7 WB Light Towers are scattered throughout to light up the scene. Winter of 1993

Will-Burt introduced their first Night Scan fold-down light tower at the IFC show in Anaheim, California in August of 1992. By 1993, Will-Burt was in full production and distributing throughout the United States and Europe. Night Scan has evolved over the years and is still an important part of our business and first responder’s equipment. Over 25,000 Night Scans have been put into service so far.

Night Scan installed on an Akron Fire Department's fire truck – The first Night Scan Fold Down Light Tower from September of 1992.Close-up of Akron Fire Department's Night Scan Fold Down Light Tower - The first installation of Night Scan.Night Scan installed on a Newport News Water Works utility vehicle - The first Night Scan fold-down light tower to be installed on a utility service truck from the summer of 1993.
Night Scan installed on an Akron Fire Department's fire truck – The first Night Scan Fold Down Light Tower from September of 1992.
Close-up of Akron Fire Department's Night Scan Fold Down Light Tower - The first installation of Night Scan.
Night Scan installed on a Newport News Water Works utility vehicle - The first Night Scan fold-down light tower to be installed on a utility service truck from the summer of 1993.

September 20, 2018
The technology used in the Mars Lander Sampler Arm was modified to fit at the base of a Will-Burt telescopic mast.

Inspiration for new products can come from anywhere. Customers, in-house R&D development or even NASA’s Viking Mars Lander program. Will-Burt was in need of a compact mast drive system.

The technology used in the Mars Lander Sampler Arm was modified to fit at the base of a Will-Burt telescopic mast.

This new mast was Saber™. The Saber mast was
advertised as the most space-saving and easiest­ to- maintain mechanical system available. It was used in two major military programs including IEWCS of the USA and LAV-Reece of Canada.

9m Saber Mast used in the Canadian LAV-Reece program.8m Saber mast used by the GOI.Will-Burt advertising for the Saber mast.Will-Burt advertising for the Saber mast.
9m Saber Mast used in the Canadian LAV-Reece program.
8m Saber mast used by the GOI.
Will-Burt advertising for the Saber mast.
Will-Burt advertising for the Saber mast.

September 27, 2018
Will-Burt's ISO 9001 Certification of Registration.

ISO certification was granted to Will-Burt in 1994. A certified, quality management system is often necessary to win contracts from sophisticated companies and gain credibility in foreign markets. Today, all Will-Burt companies are ISO 9001 certified.

A plaque received by Will-Burt for implementing a registered quality system.Will-Burt's current ISO 9001 Certificate of Registration.
A plaque received by Will-Burt for implementing a registered quality system.
Will-Burt's current ISO 9001 Certificate of Registration.


October 4, 2018
Original plant at 401 Collins Blvd Orrville Ohio

Will-Burt landed a major contract to build GSA security cabinets in 1995. This significant award required the addition of nearly 200,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space. Plant 9 located at 401 Collins Blvd. in The Orrville Industrial Park had been primarily producing masts. With the expansion, the location was renamed Plant 2000 which reflected the company’s readiness for the future. This allowed the company to take on even more work from Caterpillar and White GM among others, while also supporting the needs of the growing mast business.

1996 aerial view during the construction of the addition which when completed was named Plant 2000.Machining department
An aerial view of Plant 2000 construction from 1996.
Machining department.
Enclosed Class A Finish powder coat line.Horizontal mill machining center
Enclosed Class A Finish powder coat line.
Horizontal mill machining center.

October 11, 2018

Will-Burt has been going to tradeshows for years. In fact, we found records that indicate we were attending shows before we were incorporated. Here are examples of shows from the 1980s and 1990s. “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

RF-Com, a Will-Burt international distributor exhibiting at a tradeshow.Will-Burt's Sweet Home Stove Works product line promoted at a tradeshow.
RF-Com, a Will-Burt international distributor exhibiting at a tradeshow.
Will-Burt's Sweet Home Stove Works product line promoted at a tradeshow.

Sales Literature for Tri-Com's product line of mobile masts and tower-trailer systems.
October 18, 2018

A key acquisition was made in 2000 with the purchase of Tri-Ex Tower Corporation of Visalia, California which held technology to build mechanical masts and towers. This gave Will-Burt access to numerous military programs including QEAM, ASAS and others.

Will-Burt gained screw-drive elevation and automatic lock technology. Today, improved and patented mechanical mast locks that can trace their heritage back to this acquisition are in use around the world in our Stiletto, Stiletto AL and QEAM masts.

Page 1 of The Will-Burt Connection announcing the purchase of Tri-Com Mobile Masts.Tri-Com's mobile tower-trailer while extended
Page 1 of The Will-Burt Connection announcing the purchase of Tri-Com Mobile Masts.
Tri-Com's mobile tower-trailer while extended.
Sales literature for Will-Burt's Stiletto electric screw-drive telescoping masts.QEAM (Quick Erecting Antenna Mast) mast shown on a US Army communications vehicle.
Sales literature for Will-Burt's Stiletto electric screw-drive telescoping masts.
QEAM (Quick Erecting Antenna Mast) mast shown on a US Army communications vehicle.

October 25, 2018
WB Mast at Magic Mountain from Disney Tokyo.

Will-Burt is well-known for designing and producing customized elevation solutions for a variety of customers around the globe. One such customer is Disney. We have been developing customized pneumatic masts for the parks since the 1990s, in fact we are working on a project right now. The masts are typically used during shows and parades to temporarily elevate sound and light equipment. The mast with equipment attached, is stored in a covered “pit” and elevated during the performance. When the show is over, everything disappears back into the pit and is hidden from view. Be on the lookout for Will-Burt masts next time you are at a Disney park.

WB Mast at Magic Mountain - Disney TokyoWB Mast Deployed at Tokyo Disney
WB Mast at Magic Mountain - Disney Tokyo.
WB Mast Deployed at Tokyo Disney.
First Will-Burt Mast at Disney from the 1990s.
WB Mast extended at Disney from 2017.
WB Mast extended at Disney from 2017.


November 1, 2018

Will-Burt began taking on complex, small batch manufacturing projects in the 1980s. Some of our most highly skilled people would tackle these projects and turn them around in record time. In 1990, this operation was given a name: Quick Turn.

Today, Quick Turn tackles a variety of projects from prototypes to emergency parts production to small-batch and complex metal working. Some in the group have been there since it was created in 1990!

Engineering drawing for a cab weldment from Quick Turn3D modeling from QuickTurn
Engineering drawing for a cab weldment from Quick Turn
3D modeling from Quick Turn
Quality testing for the RICO cab weldment.RICO cab weldment during the painting process.
Quality testing for the RICO cab weldment
Cab weldment during the painting process


November 8, 2018

Will-Burt’s expanding contract manufacturing operation landed a significant contract in 1995 to make government approved (GSA) security cabinets for the Mosler Company. A plant expansion was required and the company was now in the security cabinet business. A few years later Mosler went out of business and Diebold purchased the operation. Will-Burt continued to produce the cabinets for Diebold. In 2013, Will-Burt acquired the business segment from Diebold and we are now one of three companies that manufacture these products for the government.

GSA security cabinets during the painting process.GSA cabinets ready for assembly.
GSA security cabinets during the painting process.
GSA cabinets ready for assembly.
Mosler GSA-approved sales literature.
Mosler GSA-approved sales literature.
Will-Burt GSA-approved sales literature.

November 15, 2018
Will-Burt yacht mast installed on the US Pathfinder Naval Ship

As we explain what Will-Burt does to someone that is not familiar with our type of masts, they often first think of masts for sailing ships. Actually, sometimes they are not too far off. Over the years we have designed and manufactured specially designed telescoping masts to elevate lights and other equipment for ships. The parts and mast tubes are specially designed to withstand the salt water spray and other harsh conditions of the sea. The vessels have ranged from commercial cargo ships to navy cruisers to multi-million dollar private yachts!

Will-Burt installed yacht mast.
Will-Burt installed yacht mast.
Will-Burt yacht mast installed on a large ship.
Will-Burt's pneumatic telescoping yacht mast.Will-Burt yacht mast.
Will-Burt's pneumatic telescoping yacht mast.
Will-Burt yacht mast.

November 29, 2018

Will-Burt has always recognized the value of a good distributor – after all, you can’t be everywhere at once. We began partnering with distributors of heating products in the eastern United States in the 1930s. As our business evolved and grew into a global organization our partnerships have changed as well. Today we have over 100 expert local market distributors and agents that help us deliver the best elevation products and manufacturing capabilities to every corner of the world!

Will-Burt has always recognized the value of a good distributor – after all, you can’t be everywhere at once. We began partnering with distributors of heating products in the eastern United States in the 1930s.
Group photo of Will-Burt's Distributors.
As our business evolved and grew into a global organization our partnerships have changed as well. Today we have over 100 expert local market distributors and agents that help us deliver the best elevation products and manufacturing capabilities to every corner of the world!
Will-Burt's International Distributors


December 6, 2018
By the 1990s, Will-Burt’s robust range of masts backed by high quality and continuous innovation enabled the company to become a successful exporter – able to compete in any market.

By the 1990s, Will-Burt’s robust range of masts backed by high quality and continuous innovation enabled the company to become a successful exporter – able to compete in any market. Will-Burt won the Ohio Governor’s “E” Award for Excellence in Exporting in 1999 and again in 2008. In 2004, Will-Burt was named Ohio’s Exporter of the Year – the smallest company to win the award. Today, more than 50% of Will-Burt’s mast business comes from markets outside of the US.

1999 Exporter of the Year Award
1999 Exporter of the Year Award.
2008 Exporter of the Year Award.
2004 Exporter of the Year AwardWill-Burt Mast mounted on the Versailles Palace.
Will-Burt Mast mounted on the Versailles Palace.
2004 Exporter of the Year Award.

December 13, 2018

Was it Plant 1 or Plant 2? Actually it depends on when you worked at Will-Burt. When the former Tschantz (original spelling) Organ factory at 202 South Main Street was purchased by The Will-Burt Company in 1929 to house its stoker manufacturing operations, the factory and offices became known as Plant 2. Plant 1 was built in 1921 and housed manufacturing operations for combustion control equipment. Both buildings have been demolished in the name of progress. 80% of today’s Orrville operations are located in three buildings in the Orrville Industrial Park at the north end of town.

Old photo of Will-Burt's stoker plant at 202 S. Main Street.
Group photo of Will-Burt employees taken before Plant 2 was torn down.
Newspaper article depicting the demolition of Will-Burt's plant 2 to make room for a Rite-Aid store.

December 20,l 2018

Enjoy reading the holiday edition of “The Firing Line” – Will-Burt news from 71 years ago this week. Let us know if any of the folks mentioned were your relatives!

Front Cover of The Firing Line, published Christmas, 1947.Back Cover of The Firing Line, published Christmas, 1947.
Front Cover of The Firing Line, published Christmas, 1947.
Back Cover of The Firing Line, published Christmas, 1947.

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