Rexnord Bearings: A Brief Company And Product History

by | Apr 21, 2016 | Industrial Supplier

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Rexnord bearings are a produced by a company that dates back over a hundred years. The original company originated in Milwaukee but now provides various products for states such as Texas, Louisiana, and California. A multinational company, it has a commitment to innovation and high quality in all the products it produces. This is what has made it a success from its very small beginnings in 1892.

In the Beginning

The company began its journey to success as the Chain Belt Company. Its singular product was a chain belt. The founders – Christopher W. LeValley (1833-1916), an inventor, F.W. Sivyer, a founder and W.A. Draves, a foundry operator felt that their chain belt would be a successful replacement for the leather belting then employed as to drive various agricultural equipment. This soon expanded into the manufacturing of chain drives for various other applications. Among them were conveyor systems and bucket elevators.

At this time, the market was a local one, not even venturing far beyond Wisconsin into California or Texas. Soon, however, the company began to sell their products internationally. By 1894, the Chain Belt Company had a sales office in England. This increased their sales figures substantially. In fact, by 1913, the company boasted annual sales of $1 million.

The company also had organized itself into three main divisions along product lines. These included not only power-transmission chain belts but also construction machinery and conveying equipment driven by chain-power. A year later, they introduced their own brand – Rex. This soon to be well-known trademark first appeared on a chain-driven concrete mixer. The company was beginning to expand in size and product line from then through the Second World War and its aftermath.

The Company Grows: Name Changes and Takeovers

The high quality of brand recognition for Rex Products was partially responsible for a name change in 1964. The company, whose product line had now expanded considerably, became the Rex Chainbelt, Inc. This segued into Rexnord, Inc. in 1973. With increased technological advancements and a strong research development program making strides, the company began to reinvent its corporate image. It also reorganized some of its product groups according to two major lines:

1. Components e.g. power transmission components and specialty fasteners
2. Machinery e.g. process machinery

In the 1980s, the company underwent changes in ownership. Banner Industries of Cleveland, Ohio acquired some of the stock in 1986. It completed completely the acquisition in 1987 but retained the Rexnord brand of products including Rexnord bearings. In fact, they continued to sell this and other Rexnord products to major industrial concerns such as those in the aerospace, agricultural and construction industries.

Banner, however, became The Fairchild Corporation in 1990. This did not last long, Fairfield was itself absorbed by an international holding company – BTR plc, in 1993. Successive ownership, including the Carlyle Group (2002) has changed the nature of the company but not affected its product quality.

Rexnord Products Today: Including Rexnord Bearings

For more than a hundred years, Rexnord, under one name or another has continued to produce power transmission and water management products. They produce durable products capable of withstanding the stress of modern industrial applications. Whether they are providing industrial chain for a European firm or Rexnord Bearings for a Texas company, this company continues to ensure the industry continues to operate all around the globe.

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