“The Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant…in the World”

Front of BuildingIn the book An Odd Couple, author Charles Eisendrath provides the headlines from the February 13, 1907 Tiffin Advertiser, which made the announcement that Towner K. Webster  was moving his company Webster Industries from Chicago to Tiffin, Ohio:

“SECURED for Tiffin is the Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant of its Kind In This Country or in the World.”

Webster expanded the plant and got more headlines soon thereafter, and not much has changed since. The October 18, 2014 headlines in the Advertiser-Tribune read, “Webster expanding, adding local jobs.” Since Webster’s announcement of their $8+ million expansion plans, we thought it would be appropriate to provide a little backstory on this great company.

Their marketing tagline is “American materials, American labor and American pride.” Since 1876, Webster Industries has offered a wide range of products and expertise throughout many different markets. Founded by Towner K. Webster, Webster Industries initially opened in Chicago, Illinois in 1876, bringing to market his Common Sense Elevator Bucket. Webster Industries moved its headquarters to Tiffin, Ohio in 1907, where it still resides today. I find it very interesting that economic development was in full swing even back then. In the book, An Odd Couple, Charles Eisendrath sheds some light on the incentives offered at the time: Webster received an “offer of a free, 30-acre building site” from the “Tiffin Commercial Club,” the precursor to the Seneca Regional Chamber, which was founded in 1914 and led economic development until the creation of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) in 1983.

Since its beginning making and marketing the elevator bucket, Webster Industries has evolved its product offerings since opening its doors, becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engineered class chains, commercial castings, and vibrating conveyors. Webster Industries’ Tiffin headquarters consists of over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Webster Industries has also helped to Site Selection Magazine rank Tiffin and Seneca County in the top 10 for large, private economic development projects. Webster Industries provided support for the ranking by providing 76 new jobs to the local area and investment plans of $3,000,000. The most recent expansion is in addition to that, which demonstrates how fast the company is growing.

To give the public a chance to see how their products are actually used, the company sponsored an “Our Chain in Action” contest over the summer. The contest gave Webster customers “a chance to let loose their inner Steven Spielberg” by creating a video that highlighted the many features of Webster’s conveyor and steel chain products. The contest ran from mid-July to mid-August. The top videos can be found on the Webster Industries website and the manufacturer’s YouTube channel. One example of a use is Cedar Point’s Blue Streak roller coaster. The amusement park’s oldest coaster, uses a Webster chain to lift riders up a 78 foot hill, before descending 72 feet and reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour (see video below).

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