Bead Industries
Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation

News

Our Response to COVID-19

At Bead Industries, Inc., it is our priority to maintain the health, safety, and overall wellness of our customers, communities, and our family of employees. As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, we are following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as federal, state and local authorities, to ensure that we as an organization are doing what we can to provide the safest environment for everyone. On Friday, March 20, the Governor announced a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” initiative effectively closing Connecticut non-essential businesses. For purposes of Executive Order 7H, “essential business,” means: All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture, and related support businesses. This allows us to stay open and support our customers with critical components that are used across a wide array of applications to keep people safe. We are dedicated to our customers and our commitments. Please continue to be in touch with us regarding any restrictions, safety procedures, or specifics that we should be made aware of as our team is doing everything we can to ensure our manufacturing and shipping efforts continue to operate normally. At this time, while most of our office staff are working remotely, we have not experienced major disruptions to our production, inventory or lead times. Among the measures we are taking to protect our employees and ensure our customers receive the products that they need are:
  • We continue to promote the CDC guidelines, especially staying home if team members feel ill.
  • No visitors are allowed entry into our facilities.
  • Business travel has been restricted for all employees.
  • Employees who can work remotely are doing so with the equipment and support needed to do their jobs effectively.
  • We have increased the sanitation efforts in our facilities and work areas and have modified areas to provide more space between workstations.
We are resilient at Bead and we will continue to navigate this unprecedented crisis with determination. Our team has seen a lot in our 106 years in business - depressions, recessions and World War II, to name a few. We are prepared to deal with the evolving conditions. We appreciate your partnership as we learn more and continue to communicate with you, our valued customers. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Sincerely, Jill Bryant Mayer, CEO
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About

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 manufactures end to end, wire, and tubular contact pins for the telecom, automotive, connector, and lighting industries. These custom components are cost-effective and can be made in as little as two weeks.

Bead Chain 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. is a producer of high end, commercial grade plumbing fixture trim.

Bead Breakdown Graphic
Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation

Governance

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) Moreira

CFO

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Bead Industries | 100 Years of Innovation

History

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

1900

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.

1920

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.

1930

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

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The fourth floor of the Bead building was completed.

1940

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.

1950

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.

1960

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.

1970

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.

1980

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

1990

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.

2000

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.

2010

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