Orrville Metal Specialty Co. - 1948-1967 - Orrville, Ohio
|Orrville Metal Specialty Co. &
Crown Steel Products Co. - Orrville Ohio – built crew cabs and custom bodies
for 1950s-1960s Chevrolet & GMC trucks. Also had a division called D.E.K.
Manufacturing Company that built sleeper cabs.
Orville Metal Specialty Company and the Crown Company. Crown produced 500 crew cabs a year for Ford, Chevrolet and GMC pickups. Approximately 100-125 were Chevrolets. Julius Fejes, the founder of Crown, moved from Cleveland, Ohio in 1938 to Orrville, Ohio. He subcontracted as a metal finisher for the Orrville Body Company. Over the next three years, Julius' talent and business acumen became quite evident and in 1941 he formed Crown Steel Products in Riceland, Ohio. The principal products produced by Crown during this time continued to be subcontract metal finishwork for Orrville Body.
Around 1948 a second Crown company was formed called Orrville Metal Specialty Company. The primary product for Orrville Metal Specialty was the fabrication of Sleeper and Crew Cab conversions. In the 1950’s Crown’s customers and products included: Nickles Bakery - Truck Bodies , Euclid - Off Highway Cabs, Western Electric - Frames & Racks, IHC, Diamond T, Mack - utility bodies, military vehicle hoods, headlight brackets, splash panels. Sometime later, Crown began fabrication of IHC & White sleeper cabs, conventional cabs, hoods, and fenders.
Late in the 1950’s Crown’s customers came to include: Dodge, Ford, and IHC - crew cab conversions of light duty trucks. GMC - pick-up trucks. Autocar - sleeper cabs and parts.
A pioneer in commercial van conversions, Crown established a facility in Lorain, Ohio in 1961 to install components in Ford vans. The late 1950’s and early 60’s saw additional acquisitions. Customer additions included Clark, Brockway, Terex, and Chevrolet. On July 25, 1967 all assets of Crown Steel Products were sold to Allen Electric and Equipment Co.
In 1968 Crown Fabrication of Canada was formed for the production of crew cabs and van interiors when Ford Motor Co. opened the Ontario Truck Plant to reduce production costs. 1969 saw the formation of the Allen Group with Walter Kissinger named Chairman of the Board and CEO. The purchase of Truck Specialties in 1971 enabled Crown to expand its assembly business to include Dodge vans. Through the 1970’s and 80’s Crown maintained it’s status as a supplier to the automotive and communications industries.
In 1994, The Allen Group returned it’s focus to electronics. This was carried out by splitting it's automotive concerns from electronics business. Thus, the formation of TransPro Inc. of which Crown was a division until May 2000. In December of 1997, Crown completed the acquisition of a small Canadian van upfitter located near Toronto. Crown VMS Canada Ltd. provides Crown with a presence to serve the Canadian van market. On May 5, 2000 all assets of Crown were sold to Leggett & Platt Inc. Leggett & Platt is an industry leader, with over 28,000 employee-partners in more than 180 locations worldwide.
ad in 1953 Silver Book pp152 for Orrville Metal Specialty Co. Master-Bilt Sleeper Cabs for Chevrolet 1 1/2 or 2 ton chassis. Exclusive national distributor was the Benhoff Body & Equipment Corp. located at 2339 Scranton Rd., Cleveland, Ohio.
ad 1963 GMC Truck Equipment Catalog pp49
Orville built the bodies for Ford's MTO-71 half-ton postal delivery vehicle of the early 1970s. Riding on a 99" wheelbase, this vehicle was assembled at Ford's Highland Park facility and was the progenitor of today's modern postal route delivery vehicles.
Orville also supplied Ford with 10' and 12' van bodies for Ford's new Econoline cutaway chassis that was sold through Ford dealers from 1972-1974.
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