Jarvis was founded in 1901 by Charles L. Jarvis and was known as the Ideal Manufacturing Company. It was located on a small site close to the Connecticut River which is now included in the Hartford Civic Center area. The original products of the Ideal Manufacturing Company were nutcrackers and nutpicks.
By 1910, the company had grown sufficiently to attract his son, Marshall N. Jarvis. That same year the entire operation was placed on a barge and shipped down the Connecticut River to Portland, CT.
Three years later, to honor the work of Charles, the company was renamed The Charles L. Jarvis Company. In 1934, William F. Jarvis joined his father, Marshall, and the company moved again to an even larger facility in Middletown, CT.
In 1949, the company started a program of expansion through acquisitions. This first acquisition moved the company into the cutting tool industry by purchasing a factory producing high speed steel taps. In 1954 the company shortened its name to The Jarvis Corporation.
The 1950’s and 1960’s saw continued growth under the leadership of William. Acquisitions continued with the purchase of the Medfield Drill Company and other facilities were established in Lynn, MA and North Attleboro, MA. The marketplace’s continued demand for Jarvis’ quality and service enabled Jarvis to finance an aggressive 10-year plan that catapulted Jarvis into a major position in the cutting tool industry.
A key element of the plan was the rationalization of the various location. To accomplish this goal, the Greenwood, SC facility was built in 1965 and the Rochester, NH plant was built in 1967. The decision to build in Rochester demonstrated the Jarvis family’s attention to detail.
Jarvis had, and continues to have, a customer base around the world and across North America. Before the creation of FedEX and UPS Next Day, shipments were done through the U.S. Postal Service. In 1967, US Postal Service trucks started their daily pick-up route in Rochester and ended at Logan Airport in Boston, MA. This daily route enabled Jarvis to provide Next Day shipments to the Los Angeles market and other points across the United States.
William continued to show the entrepreneurial Jarvis spirit and started companies producing various precision products. Jarvis Supply, located in Denver, CO, is a industrial distributor. Jarvis Airfoil, located in Portland, CT was created to manufacture experimental and production jet engine blades and vanes. Jarvis Machine Tool was created in Middletown, CT to manufacture drilling and tapping machines. Finally, Jarvis Products was created to produce meat and poultry processing equipment.
Following family tradition, William welcomed his three children into the company. As the businesses grew and prospered, the family decided to streamline the business between the three children. In the 1980’s the businesses were divided between Penfield (Jarvis Machine Tool & Jarvis Products), Marshall (Jarvis Cutting Tools & Jarvis Supply) and Wal (Jarvis Airfoil).