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Company History



Featured above are our four main facilities: Top Left: Vicksburg, MS; Top Right: Vancouver, WA;
Bottom Left: Maryville, MO; Bottom Right: Fenton, MO

Laclede Chain Manufacturing Company has origins dating back to 1854, making us the oldest domestic chain manufacturer. We started business as a blacksmith shop in St. Louis, Missouri, manufacturing wagon hardware for the wagon trains heading west. Most significantly we produced breast chain, trace chain and anti-spreader chains to support wagons under load. This chain was made, as it is today, from drawn rod or wire, the difference being that it was all formed with a blacksmith's hammer and individually welded and joined over a hearth and bellows. By the 1890's, the company grew into an industrial concern selling chain and hardware on a national basis.

In the early 1920's we purchased the new electric forming and welding machines from Europe. These machines were later reverse engineered and the company built numerous machines itself. By 1976 the company operated two chain manufacturing plants, one in St. Louis, and the other in Maryville, Missouri in the northwest corner of the state. In 1983 and 1984 the company began to look at the cost of maintaining a two-plant operations and examining ways to produce higher quality products with the best cost structure. This led to a 30,000 square foot addition at the more modern Maryville facility.

In 1984 we were purchased by Laclede Steel Company of St. Louis, from whom we take our name. Between 1987 and 1997 we purchased state of the art chain manufacturing equipment adding over 20,000,000 pounds of additional capacity. In 1988 we took occupancy of another 30,000 square foot plant addition and installed modern continuous heat treat equipment allowing us to produce high quality Grade 80 alloy chain.

The company was purchased in April of 2010 by the long term President and CEO, Jim Riley, along with long time General Manager, Steve Heuett, and the Kansas City, Missouri based C3 Capital Partners. Laclede Chain is poised to continue its long tradition of fine quality manufacturing and distribution supply to the chain market. During its long history Laclede Chain has developed from a small blacksmith's shop to a major manufacturing company with over 250,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space. 2010 marks over 156 years of chain making experience for Laclede.

 

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