Flashback Friday: The History of C.A. Lawton

c.a. lawton grand opening celebrationBaer Performance Marketing client The C.A. Lawton Co. (Calco) has come a long way since its beginnings as a small manufacturer of a bran dressing machine, growing into an industry-leading supplier of large castings. Though its business model has changed since its early days, one thing has not: its reputation for delivering quality, on-time solutions alongside high-touch customer service.

With today being the 27th anniversary of its second building’s Grand Opening, we felt this Friday was an appropriate time to “flashback” all the way to 1879 to tell the story of this De Pere-based global innovator.

1879 c.a. lawton
Founded in 1879 by C.A. Lawton and uncle, E.W. Arndt, Calco began its legacy of innovation with its first product – a bran dressing machine – a leap forward in productivity for its time. Known initially as the Novelty Manufacturing Co., the company expanded its capabilities during the industrial boom of the 1880s to include pattern making, an iron foundry, machining and engineering design, the basic model of machinery and machine component manufacturing the company has maintained ever since.

To provide some context as to how long ago 1879 truly was, here are some additional historical events that occurred the same year Calco was founded:

  • February 12, 1879 – The first artificial ice rink in North America opens at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
  • February 22, 1879 – In Utica, New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of 5 and 10-cent Woolworth stores.
  • October 22, 1879 – Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasts 13½ hours before burning out).

C.A. Lawton and E.W. Arndt continued manufacturing together until a panic and the Jones Bank failure in 1886, when C.A. Lawton personally reorganized the business with financial support of local businessmen and changed the name to The C.A. Lawton Co. During this period, the company became a major supplier of mechanical power transmission machinery to Midwest manufacturers. This capability served as the touchstone for the business for more than a century.

This year, Calco celebrates 137 years as a local manufacturer. Currently, the family-owned business and its extended family of more than 150 dedicated, hard-working employees provide innovative product solutions within the industry sectors of agriculture, HVAC, oil and gas, off highway, paper, gas turbine, wind, mining, and water. Their success is built on delivering quality gray and ductile iron castings from 400 to 15,000 pounds, associated pattern tooling, and machined components that meet customers’ requirements.
In recent years, employees at Calco have also earned several special distinctions and certifications, including Wisconsin DNR Green Tier, ISO 9001:2008, ASME Pressure Vessel codes and ABS Marine Application certification.

calco and baer performance marketing
In 2014, Calco found itself presenting its distinguished brand through a website that was extremely outdated. They needed something fresh…a facelift, if you will. Calco had several ideas but relied heavily on BPM’s expertise. This included a new layout for the website, updated company information and capabilities, along with crisp, clear action pictures that included Calco’s number one asset…its employees. In addition to the website design, BPM has assisted Calco with blogging, public relations strategies, and Google AdWords to ensure the website is noticed by the right people.

“Without a doubt, the work done by our partnership with BPM has increased our exposure to the tooling, foundry, and machining community as evidenced by our click-through rates on the website,” said Mark Koza, Calco’s Facilities Superintendant.  “Their professionalism, efficiency, and creativity made it extremely easy to work with their team. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a new start to their company.”

At Baer Performance Marketing, we want your business ventures to result in a success story similar to C.A. Lawton’s! Contact us today for assistance with your marketing and public relations strategies.