History of Bonnell Aluminum
1903 - William Bonnell was born on a Missouri ranch. Later in
life, he became a trick rider and, eventually, a metallurgist. He
began his career and later became a partner in B&T Flooring
Co., a contracting firm in Columbus, OH.
Seeking ways to better serve customers, the principals began
finishing projects with decorative metal trim. That is when Mr.
Bonnell's training elevated him in his field. He was first to
design and market a pre-formed sink frame, a development which
contributed to the popularity and growth of resilient materials in
countertop applications during that period. He was the originator
of more than 500 shapes still in use today.
1939 - B&T purchased an extrusion press and was first in
the industry to do in-house extruding.
WWII - When scientists of the Manhattan project needed to
find methods for extruding radioactive uranium samples to be used
in the first atomic bomb, they sought the expertise of B&T and
1945 - Mr. Bonnell became general superintendent of Trimedge
Corp., Youngstown, Ohio, where he continued his record of
leadership. When the firm became Trimedge, Inc., he became
Vice-President and General Manager.
1952 - The company bought a press from United Extruders in
1953 - Construction began at the site of the present Newnan,
1955 - Mr. Bonnell
bought out his partner's shares of what had become "Trimedge
of Georgia, Inc.", along with the Trimedge patents and
trademarks, and formed a new entity, "The William L Bonnell
Company, Inc". He was named President, and under
his direction, the Georgia plant capacity increased 325% within
- Mr. Bonnell died shortly after making the final
payment to his former partner for full ownership of the company.
The 5-year payoff was completed in half of the time called for in
the original agreement.
1965 - The company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Ethyl
1969 - A new facility was opened in Carthage, Tennessee, and
Newnan, Georgia became division headquarters for Ethyl's aluminum
1973 - Ethyl acquired Capitol Products, a fabricator of
aluminum windows in a deal which transformed the company into a
major supplier to the building and construction industry. The
acquisition included manufacturing facilities in Mechanicsburg,
Pennsylvania and Kentland, Indiana.
1989 - Ethyl Corporation spun off its aluminum, plastics, and
energy holdings into a separate business entity named Tredegar
Corporation with The William L Bonnell Company Co., Inc. as a core
1991 - A downturn in housing starts hit the industry hard,
resulting in a decline in demand for aluminum extruded products.
At this stage, the Company operated four aluminum extrusion
facilities: an eight-press plant in Newnan and a four-press plant
in Carthage, both doing business as the William L Bonnell Company, and
two two-press operations in Kentland and Mechanicsburg, doing business
as Capitol Products. To adapt to these changing conditions, the Company
began to restructure its operations. The Newnan plant, which had
recently upgraded its anodizing and added painting capabilities,
began to pursue markets requiring high-quality finished extrusions. The
Company closed down its Mechanicsburg plant.
1997 - The Company acquired a
four-press and fabrication operation based in El Campo,
Texas, from the Reynolds Metals Company, the world's third largest
aluminum company, which was shifting its focus to basic aluminum
and consumer products.
1998 - The William L Bonnell Company, Inc.
acquired two additional plants from the Reynolds Metals Company;
Ste-Therese, Quebec, and Richmond Hill, Ontario. It was from the
Reynolds acquisition that the Company became known as a market leader in
the ladder industry in Canada. Later that year, the Company grew its
market presence in Canada with the acquisition of Exal Aluminum, Inc.,
with extrusion operations in Pickering and Aurora, Ontario.
2000 - The William L Bonnell Company, Inc. continued to prosper as sales for
the unit approached $500 million. The situation would change in mid-2000,
however, when the industry started to experience a decline in market
demand, prompting the Company to announce the closure of the El Campo
facility a year later.
2003 - The William L Bonnell Company, Inc. completed an acquisition that year, buying
Apolo Tool and Die Manufacturing Inc., a small Ontario,
Canada-based aluminum fabricator with whom it had a
longstanding relationship. Apolo brought to the company a variety
of capabilities, including bending, CNC machining, drilling,
mitering, punching, riveting, sawing, and welding of aluminum
extrusions and other materials. It also had in-house tool and die
design and manufacturing capability to support its fabrication
2004 - Due to significant overlaps in capabilities and
geographies, the company announced the closure of the Aurora,
2008 - Now known as Bonnell Aluminum, the Company agreed to
sell its Canadian extrusion operations to WXP Holdings, Inc., an
affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, and announced the plan to expand its
Carthage, Tennessee operations with the acquisition of a
state-of-the-art 5,500-ton aluminum extrusion press capable of
producing profiles up to 16-inches wide.
2009 - The U.S. economy entered one of its most challenging
times which historians described as the "Great Recession". As a
result, for the next two years, with volume down in excess of 30%,
Bonnell Aluminum engaged in an aggressive plan to increase
efficiency at all levels of the organization by training its employees in "Lean Six Sigma"
2012 - In order to broaden its markets, the Company acquired
AACOA Extrusions, Niles, Michigan, and AACOA Inc., in Elkhart, Indiana. The
acquisition of these two facilities not only brought additional extrusion
capacity to the Company, but also added in-house fabrication and anodizing
operations. Regrettably, the Company announced later that year
the closure of its Kentland, Indiana facility in response to
continued depressed residential construction activity.
2013 - Bonnell Aluminum announced it was entering
the automotive extrusion market with the expansion of the Newnan plant to
accommodate the addition of a dedicated 3,600-ton aluminum extrusion
line. Notwithstanding that the initial plan was deemed extremely aggressive, the new
facility began operation exactly one year after the project was approved: a
true testament to the dedication demonstrated by employees directly involved with
Today - Through the leadership of its current president,
Brook Hamilton, and the support of Tredegar Corporation, Bonnell
Aluminum continues to grow its business strategically in the same innovative
spirit upon which William Bonnell founded the Company some 60 years ago.