About Bradford Company

How does a family business last 100 years?

The answer is simple; by constantly reinventing itself to best serve its customers.

The W.J. Bradford Paper Company was founded in 1897 and incorporated in 1924. Today, Bradford is North America’s largest manufacturer of industrial chipboard (paperboard) partitions and custom engineered reusable/returnable interior protective packaging.

A Rich History in Quality and Service


  • 1897

    W.J. Bradford opened a paper company on the South side of Chicago. It serves bakeries and candy makers (confectioners) with a product line he called "ConFex". The company's specialties included popcorn bags and candy boxes. To gain efficiency, he invested in automation to assemble paperboard partitions.

  • 1924

    The W.J. Bradford Paper Company is incorporated. The plant and offices have moved into a new and larger location on South Ashland Avenue. The business adds wax coating lines. The founder's sons and the son-in-law take charge of management.

  • 1952

    A second location is added in Holland, Michigan. The new plant finds a market for cell dividers among the auto part makers, suppliers to the furniture industry, and other industrial companies in the boom years following World War II.

  • 1976

    Having again outgrown its facility, a new plant is constructed on the North side of Holland. Accounting and payroll functions are automated and computerized. New diecutters and partition assembly equipment are installed. Foam converting machines are added and the company begins to switch its equipment from mechanical to electronic controls.

  • 1984

    The company's name is shortened from W.J. Bradford Paper Company to simply Bradford Company. The change is predicated by the growth of returnable/reusable packaging to replace one-way paperboard containers. During the next few years, Bradford becomes the largest manufacturer of plastic corrugated totes and custom interiors in North America.

  • Today

    Bradford plants in the USA (3), Mexico (2) and Canada expand the firm's geographic footprint and production capabilities to become the largest manufacturer of industrial chipboard (paperboard) partitions and custom engineered reusable/returnable interior protective packaging, dedicated to "protecting our customers' products and reputations."

Culture and Environment


Our mission is to protect the products and reputations of our customers. One of the ways we achieve that mission is by adhering to our F.A.S.T.™ model. This philosophy of doing business compels us to understand the needs of our customers, employees, suppliers, and our community. In a world where speed and flexibility determine success, F.A.S.T. guides us to meet the needs of others.


F – Forward Thinking

We anticipate and plan for the future in order to better serve the needs of our customers, our team, our vendors, and our community.


A – Agile

We expect things to change quickly and with urgency; therefore, we adapt and redeploy resources across our Company to meet the evolving requirements of our customers.


S – Simple

Our goal is to uncomplicate products, processes, and relationships. We strive for clear communication in all endeavors.


T – Trustworthy

Integrity is at the heart of every interaction amongst our team, our vendors, our customers, and our community.


The world is flattening. A corporation today might have Purchasing in the Midwest, key component suppliers in Mexico, and final assembly operations in Canada, with an Engineering/Packaging Engineering center in the Mid-South. Ultimately, the Logistics, Safety, Quality and Production Control functions put their imprint on every project. Each of these required participants plays an essential role in the development and acquisition of packaging and material handling products.

Only Bradford has the experience and geographic footprint to cut costs while accelerating the process. Our 1Bradford philosophy allows you to exploit the fact that we are already where you need us to be – with the skills that are required. Our proprietary development processes and unique tools are standardized so that team members at any of our locations can serve your requirements throughout a project’s lifecycle. We save you time and money by eliminating the hassles associated with travel and collecting signoffs. We will fully handle administrative needs, including documentation, in compliance with your established processes.