CORPORATE HISTORY: A HISTORICAL SUMMARY
The Armstrong experience stretches over more than half the life of the Republic; few American business enterprises have endured as long, or with such continuing success.
When it all began in a tiny two-man cork-cutting shop in 1860 in Pittsburgh, our national frontier barely reached beyond the western mountain ranges. Thomas Armstrong’s first deliveries of hand-carved corks were by wheelbarrow.
Today, five generations later, Armstrong is a worldwide family of thousands of employees who manufacture and market a vast portfolio of branded products and services. Armstrong products include commercial and residential floor coverings and acoustical ceilings and grid systems and wood cabinets. Through its subsidiaries, Armstrong Wood Products, the world’s largest manufacturer of hardwood flooring and a major producer of hardwood cabinets; and DLW, the leading flooring manufacturer in Germany, Armstrong now produces high-quality wood flooring and wooden kitchen and bath cabinets, commercial carpet, and linoleum.
In the company’s early days, Thomas Armstrong, the son of ordinary Scotch-Irish immigrants from Londonderry, steered his struggling company through the Civil War, financial panics, disastrous factory fires and a cutthroat marketplace.
He succeeded because he relied upon a family credo of hard work and faith. He attracted and held dedicated employees who shared the same values. He took pride in the production and sale of quality products that bore his family name. And he was determined that his company always act with fairness and in the “balanced best interests (of) customers, stockholders, employees, suppliers, community neighbors, government and the general public.”
Armstrong was among the first American entrepreneurs to discard the old business maxim of Caveat emptor—“Let the buyer beware”—and replace it by practicing the principle of “Let the buyer have faith.”
He was a brand-name pioneer, too, stamping “Armstrong” on each cork as early as 1864. And soon he was tucking a written guarantee into the burlap sacks of cork shipped from a big new factory on a Pittsburgh riverbank.
As buyer confidence in the Armstrong brand of product and service grew, so did national sales. In the mid-1890s Armstrong emerged as the world’s largest cork company and was incorporated in 1891.
But at the turn of the century, the company already was 40 years old, cork was being popped out of its old markets, and Armstrong added to the formula for success the capacity to adapt to changing conditions while at the same time sticking to the business it knew best.
The company found new uses for cork, first with insulating corkboard and brick. Then, in 1906, it foresaw that the avenue to the future was laid with linoleum. A new factory rose from a cornfield on the edge of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and in 1909, a year after Thomas Armstrong died, Armstrong linoleum was first offered to the trade.
From that point, the company let one product use logically lead to another. Corkboard led to fiberboard, fiberboard led to ceiling board, cork tile and linoleum led to vinyl floors.
This natural progression of product development brought the company to its position of leadership in its industry. Armstrong learned to build on its traditional strengths, to diversify and innovate, while following a market-minded, customer-oriented path.
Armstrong World Industries, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors, ceilings and cabinets. In 2011, Armstrong’s consolidated net sales totaled approximately $2.9 billion. Based in Lancaster, Pa., Armstrong operates 32 plants in eight countries and has approximately 9,100 employees worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.armstrong.com/.
Armstrong markets the most extensive portfolio of residential and commercial floor products available – hardwood, laminate, linoleum, vinyl sheet and tile, ceramic and BioBased Tile® – under the brand names Armstrong®, Bruce® and Robbins®. The company’s global acoustical ceiling and suspension systems business is 90 percent commercial – offices, healthcare, education, retail, transportation and other segments – and 10 percent residential. Armstrong makes cabinetry for single-family and multi-family builders and remodelers in the U.S.
Established in 1860, Armstrong celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010.
2011 Revenues: Approximately $2.9 billion
Number of Employees: Approximately 9100 worldwide
Stock Exchange and Symbol NYSE: AWI
Myron L Meters is proud to do business with Armstrong.