History of the Whitney Blake Company
The Company owes its origin to Theodore Whitney Blake, an honors engineering graduate, Class of 1883 of the Sheffield School Yale University, and great-great-nephew of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.
Following in the footsteps of his entrepreneurial forbearer, he organized the Goodyear Rubber Insulated Co., New York City, in 1899. This company was moved to Hamden in 1912 where it took on the name of its founder. In these initial years of the use and development of electricity, the Company pioneered in the manufacture of the earliest heavy rubber insulated wire and cable.
Through the years the product line and technology grew to meet the demand of the market-place with emphasis in the sharply expanding need for telephone wire. In 1932 the Bell System’s decision to manufacture all of its wire in plants of Western Electric was a severe blow; but the Company applied its technology to serve new wire and cable needs and developed an outstanding reputation in several diverse wire and cable markets.
During the two World Wars and Korean War, Whitney Blake contributed significantly as a strategic supplier to the extrusion, vulcanization and coiling or reeling of shipment that is done in one continuous operation. As the first commercial supplier of retractile Koiled Kords, the Company is the original owner of many patents and developed several unique rubber processing methods for this unique product.
In 1971, Whitney Blake was acquired by Superior Continental Corporation of Hickory, North Carolina. Telephone wire manufacturing was de-emphasized and the Company’s technology and efforts were redirected to serve OEM and electrical distributor markets.
In late 1974, Whitney Blake was purchased by Nortek, Inc. of Cranston, Rhode Island, as a division of its Wire and Cable Group which also included the American Flexible Conduit Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
In July of 1985, Whitney Blake Company of Vermont, Inc. was formed by five shareholders
In late 1989, a new plant in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico was opened for production of large volume orders of thermo-plastic retractile cords and retractile cord assemblies.
In 1990 the company, which had historically focused on the domestic U.S. market, began active marketing efforts in Europe and by 1992 secured 20% of sales from exports.
The year 1995 was to be particularly memorable in the history of the Whitney Blake Company of Vermont. On June 30, 1995, National Quality Assurance issued ISO 9002 certification for the Vermont operations. The new manufacturing plant began operating on July 10, 1995, coincidentally the same day as the Company’s 10th anniversary. At the end of September, the Mexico manufacturing facility was assessed and approved for ISO 9002 certification.
From this evolved the present Whitney Blake Company, with facilities in Bellows Falls, Vermont and Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
The Whitney Blake Company is tooled-up and-ready for another century with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, progressive engineering capabilities, a highly skilled and quality conscious work force, and ISO 9001 certification assuring the global marketplace of the highest quality product standards and customer satisfaction.
- Established in 1899 as the Goodyear Rubber Insulating Company, descendants of Eli Whitney
- Early 1900’s WB became pioneer in manufacturing of rubber insulated wire & cable
- WB was the first commercial supplier of coiled cords, holding many patents
- 1985 WB purchased by the Scott family who consolidated operations in Vermont
- 1989 opened manufacturing facility in Hermosillo Mexico to produce high volume retractile cords & cable assemblies
- 1995 Awarded ISO certification for VT & Mexico facilities
- 2006 acquired AWC in Monterrey Mexico which provided additional vertical integration
- 2007 awarded patent for innovative TUFF-SEAL™ friction fit connector system
- 2009 consolidated Mexican operations into Monterrey
- 2013 WB goes Green installing 156KW solar system
- 2014 FIRE-TUFF™ patent submission – Industry first 500°F fire rated flexible cable