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History of Innovation

1900's

Waldo Calvin Bryant forms Bryant Electric in 1886, and designs and patents the first enclosed electrical switch. He sells his company to Westinghouse in 1901, but stays on as an engineer and inventor.


Bead IndustriesIn early 1910, Calvin Bryant develops the first electric light pull (still found in many closets and basements today). Beaded chain was determined to be the best material for the pull chain, but poor quality chain from Austria forced Mr. Bryant to manufacture his own chain. A close friend, Gordon Goodridge, designed and built the first chain making machine in America, Together, along with Calvin’s son, Gerald, they form the Bead Chain Manufacturing Company, incorporated in March, 1914. Waldo Gerald “Gerry” Bryant, a recent graduate from Yale University, became Bead’s first President.


The first two stories of what was to be a four story factory building were completed in 1916 on the corner of State and Mountain Grove in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

1920's

Achieving success with the manufacture of Bead Chain®, the company sought new products utilizing its cold-forming process known as swaging. In the early 1920’s, they began developmental work on radio contact pins, and by mid-1920 went to market with their version of the pin. Bead’s tubular pin was sold for half the price of a screw machine part and could be manufactured in quantity with a high degree of accuracy.


The third floor of the Bead building was completed.

1930's

The Navy specified Bead Chain® aboard ships and on shore.


The fourth floor of the Bead building was completed.

Bead Industries

1940's

During WWII the company delivered various US and Canadian armed forces more than 22,000,000 Bead Chain® identification tag necklaces without a single reject. This achievement earned the company the Army-Navy Double EE flag and given a special commendation by the US Ordinance Department.


Large quantities of Bead Chain® were used on fighter planes, submarines and battleships.

1950's

The Bead Chain Manufacturing company employed up to 300 workers on three shifts.

Bead Indutries


Bead acquires the Bridgeport Silverware Manufacturing Company in 1956. This purchase provided Bead with additional plating capacity for its chain and electronics products. This facility would later house the Bead Tackle division which developed one of the most successful fishing lures of all time: the Bridgeport Diamond Jig.

Bead Industries

1960's

Bead was at the forefront of the development of the fluorescent light. The company manufactured millions of contact pins found on both ends of fluorescent tubes, supplying parts to GE, Phillips, Sylvania, etc.

1970's

Bead acquires McGuire Manufacturing Company in 1972. McGuire distributes the “trim line” of commercial plumbing products, which include grid drains, P-traps, supplies, etc. A wholly owned subsidiary of Bead, McGuire moved to its modern facility in Cheshire, CT in 1991.


Bead forms a joint venture with Sturge & Company Ltd. of Birmingham, England to form the Sturge Associated Chain Company Ltd. Sturge manufactures brass beaded chain for the window treatment and plumbing markets in Europe. The company moves to a new building in Dudley in the West Midlands.

1980's

Bead changes its name to Bead Industries in 1987. As Bead pushed further into the electronics industry, the change was seen as a way to modernize its image.

1990's

Bead purchases 50% of the stock of the Intricate Metal Forming Company (IMF) of Roanoke, VA in 1994. Both IMF and Bead were producing electronic pins on carrier strips called bandoleers. Bead sold its interest in 1997.


Bead winds up operations at Bridgeport Silverware, and sells Bead Tackle.

2000's

Bead consolidates all chain manufacturing at Sturge in the UK. It also ceases in-house plating and slitting of raw materials, instead outsourcing those operations to one of several quality companies in Connecticut.


The Mountain Grove building is put up for sale, and Bead moves into a single story, modern facility in Milford, CT incorporating the latest Lean Manufacturing techniques.


The joint venture with Sturge is dissolved and Bead sells its interest. A partnership with Samwon Petra in South Korea develops, and Samwon now manufactures Bead Chain® on Bead’s equipment to Bead’s specifications. The quality has never been better!