History of PENROD
A Time-Honored Tradition of Quality.
The history of PENROD can be traced back one hundred years through two world wars, a depression and the development of strong competition from Third World countries. Throughout the years, the company has progressed, prospered and proven its reputation of quality has been well founded.
The company was originally organized in 1888 as "Penrod Wood & Company" in Wabash, Indiana. John Noble Penrod, founder and a native of Indiana, was an industry progressive and was heralded as the "Walnut King." During his tenure, several affiliated companies were founded or controlling interests secured, and the company became active in export sales, maintaining additional offices in London and Hamburg. At the time of Mr. Penrod's death in 1925, the company was credited as the largest producer of walnut lumber and veneers in the United States.
While previously manufacturing primarily walnut lumber and furniture veneer, the company was entirely engaged with the production of gunstocks and wooden airplane propellers during World War I. With the depression of the 1930s and the dramatic drop in consumer disposable income, the company turned to products that were less expensive than walnut and embarked on an aggressive marketing effort to introduce the American furniture market to mahogany from West Africa and South America.
By the 1940s, The PENROD Company devoted approximately 50% capacity to mahogany with the balance devoted to every "exotic veneer" available in commercial quantities, including raw material from the Philippines, Mexico and Central America, and Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast of West Africa. The company supplied African mahogany for the interiors of 1965 Cadillac and Buick Riviera, as well as veneers for Wurlitzer organs and Zenith television cabinets.
As competition from Third World nations grew, it necessitated a change in strategy for the quality-conscious PENROD. The company determined it was not cost-effective to continue to cut domestic veneers, such as red and white oak, pecan and cherry, and phased out all manufacturing operations in the late 1980s. Through contracted overseas production, PENROD broadened its range of products, becoming a full service provider to the customer base it had developed during its 100-year history.
While continuing to expand its wood products operations, the company embarked on a second business-front in 1988 and began its metal products division. Building on its reputation for quality, the new metal division grew rapidly and is now one of the largest leaders in NAFTA for products that include hinges, fasteners and general hardware. The company has also initiated its PVC Division, launching XO® Cellular PVC Board as the wood replacement remedy for trimboards, fascia, cornerboards and more.
In 1986, PENROD streamlined its capital structure and is today owned entirely by two members of the company's executive management team. In 1996, the company acquired Foresbec Inc., a major exporter of premium quality hardwood lumber from Canada to European markets, the US and Asia. In 1998, Foresbec Inc. acquired Noblebois, SAS located in France, a large distributor of hardwood lumber, hardwood veneers, rotary veneers and barrel staves serving France and other Western European countries.Foresbec & Noblebois were subsquently sold in 2011 and 2013.In 2003, PENROD purchased St. Raymond Veneers, an integrated manufacturer of dimension veneers for the hardwood plywood and flooring Industries.
Continuing to adapt throughout its more-than-a-century of operations, PENROD has proven to be resourceful and resilient, maintaining its leadership role in the industries it serves and upholding the time-honored tradition of providing quality products and services to its worldwide customer base.