Bead Industries
Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation


Jillian Mayer

Bead CEO Named “40 Under 40” Award Recipient

Bead Industries CEO Jill Mayer was named a "40 Under Forty" award recipient by the Hartford Business Journal. She joins a list of talented young professionals from various industries such as healthcare, financial services and STEM-related fields in the Greater Hartford region. "Each of this year's honorees have demonstrated strong leadership in their careers and an unwavering commitment to strengthening the communities in which they live, work, and play." Joe Zwiebel, president and publisher, Hartford Business Journal, said in a press release this week. "We are pleased to recognize their accomplishments and welcome them to our growing network of distinguished '40 Under Forty' alumni." According to Mayer, in order to attract more talented young professionals to the Greater Hartford region businesses must have process and purpose. "A disorganized, inefficient business is not attractive to digital natives who like to work productively." says Mayer. "Having a clear purpose gives them the passion and energy to stay engaged." Mayer's full bio, complete with accomplishments, community involvement and fun facts is featured in the weekly edition of the publication.  
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Bead Industries is comprised of two divisions: Bead Chain and Bead Electronics, and a wholly-owned subsidiary, McGuire Mfg. Company.

Founded in 1914, Bead Industries developed and manufactured Bead Chain® for electric light pulls. Using the same innovative metal-working process, it fabricated products for the electronics market in the mid-1920s. McGuire, one of Bead’s loyal customers, was acquired in 1972. Learn more about our history of innovation.

Bead Electronics, a division of Bead Industries, manufactures end to end, solid wire, and tubular contact pins for the telecom, automotive, connector, and lighting industries. These custom components deliver the performance of machined pins at the price of stamped and can be tooled in a fraction of the time.

Bead Chain, a division of Bead Industries, has supplied authentic Bead Chain® since 1914. Bead Chain® is used on vertical blinds, securing marine parts, key chains and many other products.

McGuire Manufacturing Co., based in Cheshire, CT, is a producer of high end, commercial grade plumbing fixture trim.

Bead Breakdown Graphic
Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation


Ken Bryant | Chairman of the Board

Ken Bryant

Chairman of the Board

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Patrick Egan | Board Member

Patrick Egan

Board Member

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Paul Ruby | Board Member

Paul Ruby

Board Member

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Tracy Miller | Board Member

Tracy Miller

Board Member

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Steve DeMartino | Board Member

Steve DeMartino

Board Member

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Jill Mayer | Board Member & CEO

Jill Mayer

Board Member & CEO

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Kristen Sawyer | CFO

Kristen Sawyer


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Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation


Waldo Calvin Bryant - 1890's
1910 - Waldo Calvin Bryant develops the first electric light pull
Bead Industries | Old Bead Building
1930 - Old Bead Building in Bridgeport
Bead Industries | Machine Worker 1951
1951 - Women entered the workforce
Fluorescent Lamp Pins
1960 - Fluorescent Lamp Pins
Reel of end to end pins
1990 - Bead Develops Tandem Pins
Current BEAD building centennial
2003 - Move to New Bead Building in Milford
2014 - Bead Centennial Party
2014 - Bryant Family Celebrates Bead's Centennial
Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation


Waldo Calvin Bryant forms Bryant Electric in 1886, and designs and patents the first enclosed electrical switch. He sells his company to Westinghouse in 1901, but stays on as an engineer and inventor.

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In early 1910, Calvin Bryant develops the first electric light pull (still found in many closets and basements today). Beaded chain was determined to be the best material for the pull chain, but poor quality chain from Austria forced Mr. Bryant to manufacture his own chain. A close friend, Gordon Goodridge, designed and built the first chain making machine in America, Together, along with Calvin’s son, Gerald, they form the Bead Chain Manufacturing Company, incorporated in March, 1914. Waldo Gerald “Gerry” Bryant, a recent graduate from Yale University, becomes Bead’s first President.

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The first two stories of what was to be a four story factory building were completed in 1916 on the corner of State and Mountain Grove in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Achieving success with the manufacture of Bead Chain®, the company sought new products utilizing its cold-forming process known as swaging. In the early 1920’s, they began developmental work on radio contact pins, and by mid-1920 went to market with their version of the pin. Bead’s tubular pin was sold for half the price of a screw machine part and could be manufactured in quantity with a high degree of accuracy.

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The third floor of the Bead building was completed.


The Navy specified Bead Chain® aboard ships and on shore.

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The fourth floor of the Bead building was completed.


During WWII Bead produced more than 22 million Bead Chain® "dog tag" necklace chains for US and Canadian armed forces without a single reject. The company earned the Army-Navy Double EE flag and was given a special commendation by the US Ordinance Department.

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Large quantities of Bead Chain® were used on fighter planes, submarines and battleships.


The Bead Chain Manufacturing company employed up to 300 workers on three shifts.

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Bead acquires the Bridgeport Silverware Manufacturing Company in 1956. This purchase provided Bead with additional plating capacity for its chain and electronics products. This facility would later house the Bead Tackle division which developed and produced its popular "Diamond Jig" fishing lure.


Bead was at the forefront of the development of the fluorescent light. The company manufactured millions of contact pins found on both ends of fluorescent tubes, supplying parts to GE, Phillips, Sylvania, etc.


Bead acquires McGuire Manufacturing Company in 1972 and begins marketing high quality, commercial plumbing fixture trim.

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Bead forms a joint venture with Sturge & Co in the UK. Sturge manufactures brass beaded chain for the window treatment and plumbing markets in Europe.


Bead changes its name to Bead Industries in 1987 to better reflect its many diverse businesses.


Bead purchases 50% of the stock of the Intricate Metal Forming Company (IMF) of Roanoke, VA in 1994. Both IMF and Bead were producing electronic pins on carrier strips called bandoleers. Bead sold its interest in 1997.

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Bead Industries develops Tandem Pins® for the printed circuit board industry.

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Bead winds up operations at Bridgeport Silverware, and sells Bead Tackle.


Bead consolidates all chain manufacturing at Sturge in the UK. It ceases in-house plating and slitting of raw materials, instead outsourcing those operations to several quality vendors in Connecticut.

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Bead moves into a single story, modern facility in Milford, CT incorporating Lean Manufacturing techniques.

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The joint venture with Sturge is dissolved and Bead sells its interest. A partnership with Samwon Petra in South Korea is established to better serve international Bead Chain® markets.


Spanning five generations and 100 years, Bead continues to manufacture, develop, and distribute quality products around the world.