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Spectrum Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Spectrum Industries, a premier furniture manufacturer headquartered in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 29, 2018.

David Hancock and Bill Duren, both of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, were lifelong friends and dreamed of one day starting a business together. Eager, the two men went to work and founded Applied Research and Development Corporation (ARDCO) in 1960. ARDCO developed products such as disposable plates and plastic containers from plastic and foam materials. Eventually, ARDCO was sold and in 1968, Duren and Hancock created Cygnet Films. The film company produced sales promotion and training films for educational purposes. The lifelong friends ran Cygnet Films together for eight months before the unfortunate death of Duren at 36 years of age.  

After Duren’s death, Hancock ran Cygnet Films and in 1969, Cygnet Films changed its name to Spectrum Industries Inc. making David Hancock CEO. One year later Spectrum purchased Fischer Motion Picture Laboratories and began film processing. Spectrum produced film for the education market, setting the stage for what their future would be. With the purchase of Hubbard Scientific in 1975, a manufacturer of educational products, and one of Spectrum’s biggest clients, it doubled Spectrum’s size.

The 1980’s and 1990’s were Spectrum’s years of advancement. In 1982 Spectrum acquired Jewel Metal Works, which wasn’t only a great purchase for Spectrum, but also introduced metal fabrication that would later influence the Manufacturing Division to be created. Spectrum began to manufacture office furniture, custom store fixtures and other products such as furniture for waiting rooms. In addition to Jewel Metal Works, Spectrum purchased Stanwood Corporation and Hallie Wood products. The purchase of Stanwood Corporation developed Spectrum’s line of wood products which included chairs, stools, tables and much more.

The years 1990 and 1991 are significant years in Spectrum’s history. Within these two years, Spectrum sold Hubbard Scientific to American Educational Products and launched a new line of products and business model that would change the company forever. The new business model included manufacturing and creating high quality furniture to connect people with technology. With the implementation of the new business model sales went up and the amount of Spectrum employees increased. Spectrum was able to consolidate and move from three different locations to one, its headquarters in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

The years following brought Spectrum great success. In 1995 Spectrum introduced its mobile laptop cart and 10 years later expanded its Chippewa Falls facility. In 2007, Spectrum’s medical division was launched.

With the development of technology, Spectrum was able to create, design and manufacture products that were needed for technology. Products were designed from the feedback provided by teachers, schools and information technology (IT) departments. As the world of technology grew, so did Spectrum. Communication, development and teamwork are contributors to Spectrum’s success and growth.  

Before Spectrum grew into the big company it is today with over 4,300 products manufactured, it started very small. Hundreds of employees at Spectrum over the years have helped the company get to where it is at today. Spectrum continues to manufacture and create high quality, durable products for the education, corporate, government and healthcare settings. Innovative products such as its storage and charging carts and AV ready lecterns, continue to connect people with technology.

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