The Birth Of Oregon Saw Chains
Joseph Buford Cox was a logger and inventor who found filing saw chains a boring task. The chainsaws then required a lot of time to maintain and file to make sure they’re sharp enough to do the job.
Joe knew that the best inventions are but imitations of what nature has already created. He spent several months looking for what nature has to offer to solve his problem and he found the answer in the larva of a timber beetle.
He was amazed at how the larva of the timber beetle effortlessly cut through the timber. It didn’t matter what direction. The larva cut through the wood with the wood grain or across the wood grain.
Joe got to work and tried to copy the shape of the larva’s jaws which was similar to a C. The following year in November 1947, the revolutionary Cox Chipper Chain was released to the market. Joe’s basic design is still widely used today.
Then Came John D. Gray
Because of the company’s success, they were able to move to a bigger facility and hire the best personnel.
In 1948, John D. Gray a young graduate of Harvard University Graduate School of Business joined the company. He was the 28th employee and with him joining the company, he took the success even further. By 1951, the company was already making 1 million dollars in sales. In 1952, the company became a multi-national by acquiring a planer company in Canada. Joe sold the company to John Gray in 1953. In 1955, the company moved a “real” manufacturing plant in Portland, Oregon, and a manufacturing plant was also built in Canada. Oregon also acquired its first European customer that year.
The company saw continued growth and penetrated international markets. John Gray eventual saw the company make $300,000,000.
Several mergers and acquisitions later, the company became Blount Inc. According to the company’s website:
Blount Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of cutting chain, guide bars, and chain drive sprockets for chain saws, and a leading manufacturer and supplier of outdoor equipment parts. The OREGON® brand continues to be the choice of the trade in more than 100 countries around the world.
Known for its innovative spirit, the company focuses on manufacturing products that offer a superior competitive advantage and hold leading market share positions. Still headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Blount manufacturers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and China. Its operations employ more than 3,000 employees worldwide and products are sold in more than 100 countries.