Bell Fibre Products Corporation
2000 Beverly Avenue, Wyoming, MI
Bell Fibre Products Corporation
Bell Fibre was founded in 1913 in Marion, Indiana by George A. Bell. Mr. Bell guided by his knowledge of making and processing paper from his interest in the Hoosier Box and Pie Plate Company, he founded Bell Fibre when he anticipated the growth in the need for strong, lightweight shipping containers.
Realizing the need for a shipping container superior to the heavy wooden boxes used at the time, both for his own paper plates and for the booming glass factories in the Marion area, Mr. Bell began manufacturing corrugated containers in early 1914. His techniques and innovations in their production led to the position of prominence the firm enjoys today.
The early corrugated sheets were single-faced and were used mainly for wrapping lamp chimneys, bottles and calendars. Operations were performed mostly by hand with the only printing available was the hand-stamping of numbers on the boxes. As time passed new techniques were developed. Today high-speed converters produce double-faced corrugated sheets automatically.
Business and industry quickly recognized the savings to be achieved through the use of corrugated containers in handling and shipping and the demand increased so much that by 1920-1921, Mr. Bell needed to expand his plant facilities in Marion. In 1931 due to need for further expansion, a company was established in Chicago, Illinois. At first the Chicago plant only manufactured the containers from corrugated sheets sent from the Marion plant. By 1937 a new site was developed in Chicago and completed by 1940. In 1940 the two plants were combined and the name was changed to Bell Fibre Products Corporation.
World War II brought new demands. Most of Bell Fibre's personnel were needed for military duty but there was also the need for weatherproof corrugated containers for storage and shipping of everything from food , medicines, parts and ammunitions. The paper manufacturing industry and the adhesives manufacturing worked together to provide these materials.
In 1945 the Marion plant expansion was begun which included new offices, a roll-pit for paper, new shipping docks and a new railroad siding.
John L. Bell joined his father in the operation in 1937 and learned all the facets of the business. In 1954, he was elected president of the firm and George Bell was elected chairman of the board of directors, which position he held until his death in 1956.
In 1959, Bell Fibre achieved a long-time objective to control its source of raw material when the Tennessee River Pulp Paper Company built a liner-board mill at Counce, Tennessee. Bell Fibre owns a substantial interest in the firm. By 1961 the mill began supplying raw materials to Bell Fibre plants. They also acquired an interest in the Corinth and Counce Railroad Company which operates a railroad from Corinth, Mississippi to the Tennessee mill.
The most recent expansion of Bell Fibre came in 1961 when a building was purchased in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Located on a 17-acre tract on the southwest side of the city, this site added 200,000 square feet to their holdings. The corrugated containers are manufactured at this site.
Created: 14 March 2012