FB Chain’s own history dates back to the 1870s when Adolf Fredrik Hedengran started a factory for the manufacture of iron and steel parts in Eskilstuna, Sweden. The company as it stands today was registered 1908 but it was not until 1912 that the first chain was manufactured. Initially focusing on sharp top chain and conveyor chains used in the wood industry, production expanded to incorporate roller chain and leaf chain.
Many of Europe’s leading chain manufacturers started life making cycle chains before developing into the manufacture of the types of roller chains and conveyor chains that are commonly used in industrial applications. Industry mergers and acquisitions make it hard to track the origins of a company and many of the world’s leading chain manufacturers like FB Chain have a history predating chain production.
In 1946 French Industrial group Peugeot merged a number of French chain companies and Sedis was created. Existing information suggests that one of the original companies first started making chains in 1895.
Many of Germany’s chain manufacturers have a history which predates chain manufacturing. Wippermann Chain for instance was founded in 1893 making cycle parts, a key part of their early business consisting of chains and chain sprockets. Iwis, which started in 1916, also came from a bicycle making business which was run by founder Johann Baptist Winklhofer founded in 1885. KettenWulf started making conveyor chain sprockets in 1925 before starting chain production in bushed conveyor chains in 1945.
In North America, the development of chain manufacturing centred around chains used in agriculture and bulk handling. In 1876 Webster Chain originally started making elevator buckets for agriculture and quickly expanded their product range making cast and engineered class chains.
Renold’s USA operation started in 1887 as Jeffrey Chain, manufacturing heavy duty engineer class chain. Rexnord was founded as the Chain Belt Company in 1891 first using the Rex brand name, developing in 1914 a chain-driven concrete mixer.
Nowadays, most of the small pitch industrial chain like roller and leaf chain is made in Asia. The chain industry in this region has expanded quickly since the 1960’s. The oldest chain companies in Asia can be found in Japan with Tsubakimoto Chain and Izumi Chain MFG Co. Ltd., both founded in 1917 as manufacturers of bicycle chains. Japanese companies have extraordinarily strong ranges of standard ANSI roller chains with many styles of attachments. They have also led the way on developing Lubrication Free chain, Anti Corrosion chain and Heavy-Duty chains.
The UK has always retained a leading position in the manufacture of drive and industrial chain. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, British companies, such as Anchor Chain Co., Coventry Chain Co., Brampton Brothers and Ewart Chainbelt Company dominated the world’s chain industry. Many of these companies were consumed by Renold Chain who themselves started in 1879 when Hans Renold Company was established following the purchase of James Slater, a textile chain making business in which itself started in 1864. This makes Renold Chain these oldest continuously operating chain manufacturers in the world.