Our proud history
Continuing to build on yesterday
Penrod has been “in the business” for many years, building on the knowledge and ideas that have come before us. But more importantly, we have learned about and developed efficient value-chain distribution infrastructure and important trade networks that will continue to impact our future.
“Penrod Wood & Company” opened its doors in Wabash, Indiana in 1888. John Noble Penrod, founder and a native of Indiana, was an industry progressive and was heralded as the “Walnut King.” During his tenure, several affiliated companies were founded or controlling interests secured, and the company became active in export sales, maintaining additional offices in London and Hamburg. At the time of Mr. Penrod’s death in 1925, the company was credited as the largest producer of walnut lumber and veneers in the United States.
While previously manufacturing primarily walnut lumber and veneer, the company was entirely engaged with the production of gunstocks and wooden airplane components during World War I. With the Depression of the 1930s and the dramatic drop in consumer disposable income, the company turned to products that were less expensive than walnut and embarked on an aggressive marketing effort to introduce the American furniture market to mahogany from West Africa and South America.
By the 1940s, Penrod devoted approximately 50% capacity to mahogany with the balance devoted to every “exotic veneer” available in commercial quantities, including raw material from the Philippines, Mexico and Central America, and Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, West Africa. Penrod supplied African mahogany veneer for the 1965 Cadillac and the Buick Riviera, as well as veneers for Wurlitzer organs and Zenith television cabinets.
Penrod started its distribution business for forest products, and phased out all manufacturing operations in Norfolk, Virginia. In fact, through contracted overseas production, Penrod became a full-service provider to a growing customer base it had developed during its 100-year history.
While continuing to expand its forest products operations, the company embarked on a second business-front in 1988 and began its metal products division. Building on its reputation for quality, the new metal division grew rapidly and is now one of the largest leaders in NAFTA for products that include imported hinges, fasteners and general hardware.
In 1996, the company acquired Foresbec Inc., a major exporter of premium quality hardwood lumber from Canada to European markets, the US and Asia. In 1998, Foresbec Inc. acquired Noblebois, SAS located in France, a distributor of hardwood lumber, hardwood veneers, rotary veneers and barrel staves serving France and other Western European countries. Foresbec and Noblebois were subsequently sold in 2011 and 2013.
Penrod continued to grow in 2003, when the company purchased St-Raymond Veneer, an integrated manufacturer of spliced veneer for the hardwood plywood and flooring industries, located in St-Raymond, Quebec, Canada.
The company initiated its PVC business in 2004, launching XO® Cellular PVC Board as the wood replacement remedy for trim boards, fascia, corner boards and more.
The PVC business continued to broaden its product mix, becoming more and more technical; innovative products, including sophisticated mouldings, are being distributed to various aspects of the housing industry.
The Paris location officially opened in June, allowing the Penrod Company to further refine and improve its distribution network, via Penrod Europe.