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June, 2008: Will-Burt Celebrates 90th Anniversary

For additional information, contact:
David Cotsmire, VP of Marketing and Customer Service
330-684-5282 (office) or 330-347-6745 (mobile)

Orrville, Ohio: The Will-Burt Company announces its 90th Anniversary Open House to be held at 401 Collins Blvd. (Orrville Industrial Park), Orrville, Ohio 44667, on Saturday July 12, 2008 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Members of the community are invited to tour the manufacturing facility and view the product lines. Refreshments will be provided.

“We are very excited about having employees, customers and members of the community at our open house,” said Jeff Evans, President and CEO. “As a long standing member of the Orrville Community, we are proud of our past and looking forward to our future. In particular, the company is pleased to show off its new products, new equipment purchases and factory layout, of which are all designed to make Will-Burt more efficient and productive.”

“A short history of the Will-Burt Company…

1910’s – The Will-Burt Company, on Walnut Street, was incorporated in Orrville, Ohio in 1918 with Burt Cope as president. Will-Burt was functioning as a general repair shop at that time.

1920’s – Will-Burt began manufacturing boiler room combustion controls for the Hagan Company in Pittsburgh, PA. A new plant was built on North Main Street that is currently the Rosemount building. Will-Burt purchased a factory on South Main Street. The first coal stoker was shipped.

1940’s – In addition to building coal stokers, Will-Burt subcontracted for the government, manufacturing parts for anti-aircraft guns, C54 Douglas cargo planes, gun recoil mechanisms, base plugs for 1000# bombs, arms for tanks and gears for the Navy. Will-Burt discontinued manufacturing the Hagan line of combustion controls and sold the building on North Main Street to Hagan while continuing to manufacture stokers and contract work.

1950’s – Burt Cope retired and his nephew Ed Baer became president. Will-Burt began manufacturing components for AMF and EW Bliss.

1960’s – Will-Burt purchased the Combustioneer and Freeman stoker lines. The West Pine Street building was purchased and Bill Baer (Ed’s son) became president. A coal screw manufacturing operation was purchased from the Iron Fireman Company. At that time, the Howell Auto Dealership building on South Main was purchased to house the operation – manufacturing Biro, Hi-Lo, Diebold and Flo-Tork products.

1970’s – Acquired the Thomas Mold and Die Company of Wooster that included the line of pneumatic telescoping masts. This purchase has led to the engineering and development of a complete line of pneumatic and mechanical telescoping masts, light towers and accessories. Early mast sales were in the broadcast and radio industries. A relationship was started with Caterpillar and Volvo.

1980’s – U.S. Army Patriot Missile program begins and Will-Burt supplies telescoping masts to the program. The mast business moved from Wooster to Orrville, Ohio. The company began producing products for Heidelberg and Kenworth Truck. President Bill Baer passes away unexpectedly and Harry Featherstone becomes president. On December 31, 1985 Will-Burt becomes an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program). Employees become the owners of the company.

1990’s – The Nightscan line of emergency light towers begin to set the standard in the vehicle mounted lighting category. Contract manufacturing work for Caterpillar and Volvo begins to steadily increase in addition to contracts with Gerlach and Phoenix Mold & Die. Will-Burt receives the ISO 9001 designation for quality. A 140,000 square foot expansion is added to the 401 Collins Blvd. plant in Orrville. Operations and equipment from the South Main Street and West Pine Street plants were consolidated in the new facilities at the Industrial Park, Plant 2000. The South Main Street plant is sold to Rite-Aid. The plant next to the Orrville Chamber of Commerce was sold to Brown Furniture. Dennis Donahue becomes president. Will-Burt begins turnkey manufacturing of safes, vault doors, teller drawers and weapons cabinets for Mosler Securities. Accurate Electronics of North Ridgeville, Ohio was acquired. The acquisition provided the production of printed circuit boards for turnkey security sales, in addition to a line of dockside power pedestals. Will-Burt was presented with the State of Ohio Governor’s E Award for exporting.

2000’s – Jeffery Evans is named president. Tri-Ex Tower Corporation was purchased, which included the mechanical screw-drive mast. Mosler Securities went bankrupt, with Diebold Corporation purchasing their assets. Will-Burt began manufacturing GSA and bank products for Diebold Corporation.

2007 – The Will-Burt Company purchases Antenna Mast Incorporated to expand their line of telescoping masts. These masts are portable, tri-pod masts that can be deployed by a single user. Will-Burt expands globally, setting up operations in the UK and Singapore.

2008 – In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Will-Burt Company announces a new brand name for the mast division, Towermast. This new brand name, Towermast, creates a strong connection to the family of mast and light tower products that are offered.

The Will-Burt Company, located in Orrville, Ohio, is an employee-owned, ISO 9001:2000 certified company that manufactures pneumatic and mechanical telescoping masts and lighting systems for industries such as fire and rescue, military, cellular, broadcast and other specific custom applications. Will-Burt capabilities also include all phases of the contract manufacturing process from tool and die development to fabrication, powder coating, electronics and turn-key assembly for a variety of products such as bank vaults and dockside power pedestals.