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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."