Manufacturer of Lifts, Dumpers and Custom Material Handling Equipment

About Langley : History

In 1860, Mark Dean Knowlton established a paper box manufacturing business in Chicago. Eleven years later Mr. Knowlton's prospering business was a victim of the great Chicago fire. Like a phoenix, the company rose from the ashes. In fact, Knowlton was one of the first businesses to rebuild after the fire.

Between 1871 and 1880, Mr. Knowlton turned his attention to inventing machinery for the production of rigid set-up boxes. Products included paper tube and gumming machines which were sold under the name M.D. Knowlton and Company.

During the early 1880s, Mr. Knowlton sold his interest in the paper box manufacturing business to devote himself full time to the machinery portion of his business. in 1888, he introduced the corner staying machine which was the cornerstone for mechanized rigid set-up box manufacturing.

Also in 1888, Knowlton formed a partnership with Fred Beach and moved the new company, Knowlton and Beach, to Rochester, New York.


  The Middle Years
The company began to diversify in the late 19th century with the introduction of a near frictionless ball bearing in 1893. This is thought to be the first such bearing ever brought to market. Seven years later, Messrs. Knowlton and Beach incorporated the bearing business as Rochester Ball Bearing Company. A year later, they purchased Auburn Ball Bearing Company in the central New York city of Auburn and moved it to Rochester. Both bearing companies became a division of Knowlton and Beach. That division now operates as the Auburn Bearing Division of M.D. Knowlton Company. Auburn manufactures ball and roller thrust bearings for an international market.

Mr. Beach withdrew from the company in 1904. Also in 1904, the company was incorporated in New York State as M.D. Knowlton Company. Mr. Knowlton continued as president until his death in 1906 while on a business trip to Boston, He was succeeded by his son Frederick who served as president until his death in 1939.

  Knowlton Today
In 1962, M.D. Knowlton Company purchased the manufacturing rights from Langley Manufacturing Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts and renamed it the Langley Manufacturing Division. Langley, which manufactures material handling equipment, now accounts for more than 70 percent of the company business.

In 1971, the Company purchased Barcar Machine Company, a contract machine shop which is now part of the Knowlton Division. Besides finished machining for all divisions, the Knowlton Division continues to manufacture spiral paper tube and composite can equipment as well as supplying spare parts for set-up box machinery still in operation.

Since 1980, Kent Fellows, great grandson of the founder, has been president of this family owned business. Mr. Fellows has guided the Langley Division through a period of expansion and diversification. The longtime manufacturer of hydraulic and cable operated lifts and dumpers has enhanced its standard products with custom engineered equipment, including highly automated devices to service CNC and flexible machining systems. In response to occupational health and safety concerns, the Langley Division now manufactures a complete line of safety enclosures, gates and interlocking devices. Langley products are sold by numerous distributors throughout the world.

Since 1970, M.D. Knowlton Company has been headquartered in a 65,000 square foot manufacturing, engineering and office facility in the Rochester, New York suburb of Victor. Employment averages 60. Production personnel are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1838.


Langley Mfg
PFlow Industries, Inc.
Vertical Material Handling Systems
6720 N. Teutonia Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53209

Tel: 414-352-9000 • Fax: 414-352-9002 • E-mail: info@pflow.com