About Ballymore Company

 

 

Ballymore invented the rolling safety ladder and continues to lead the industry in innovating and introducing new products to the market.

World War II had just ended and the nation, and industry, began to tool up for the pent-up demand for consumer, commercial, and industrial products and services. Taking a page out of Henry Ford's philosophy for successful business, "find a need and fill it," a small company opened its doors in Bryn Mawr, PA., to fill industry's need for ladders to access shelving, production machinery, and hard-to-reach areas requiring maintenance - safely.

Like everyone coming out of the war, John Colgan was looking for opportunity. In 1945 he bought an Iceberg frozen food franchise and rented space for a small store and frozen foods lockers. Because household refrigerators did not yet have freezers, housewives would buy their frozen foods at the special store and keep them in rented freezers in the same building.

Colgan was concerned that the wooden A-type ladder customers used to access the upper lockers was cumbersome and unsteady. Armed with his background in wartime shipbuilding, he designed a rolling stairway with handrails and casters which were supported by springs that would compress with weight and "lock" the legs to the ground.

Iceberg liked his idea and began offering the "safety step" ladder with every franchise. Meanwhile, the president of the local bank came in to pick up some frozen vegetables and thought the ladder was just what the bank needed to access their safety deposit boxes. Colgan began marketing to banks. By now he was spending more time making ladders than selling frozen foods. He sold the franchise and started his own company. The year was 1946. The company was Ballymore.

By 1950, the company had outgrown the rented garage behind the frozen foods store and moved to Wayne, PA. In 1956, the company moved to a larger location, in West Chester, PA., to accommodate a growing list of national material handling and safety distributors. Over the next 50 years, that facility went through three major plant expansions in order to meet growing market needs. In 2007, Ballymore moved to a new world class manufacturing facility in Parkesburg, PA, heralding the next phase of the company’s growth.

In addition to being the first manufacturer of rolling safety ladders, Ballymore was one of the first companies to make hydraulically powered personnel lifts, having started in the 1950's and, since its inception, has been known for making custom access stands, platforms and systems. Today, more than 20 major catalogs display Ballymore products and over 1800 distributors turn to Ballymore for their conventional and special access needs. Throughout the years, Ballymore's reputation for high quality equipment manufactured in steel, aluminum, and stainless steel has resulted in contracts with virtually all of the corporations, government agencies and institutions with whom you are familiar.

Osage Industry Partner

Today, as an Osage Portfolio Company, Ballymore is gearing up for the 21st century. A re-engineering process is underway to incorporate robotics and cellular manufacturing in order to develop a more efficient manufacturing environment.

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