The Year It Began
Originally from Tipton, Missouri, Ed and William (Bill) Orscheln moved to Sturgeon, Missouri to start their own farm in 1917.
A few years of bad weather and poor cattle prices soon sent the brothers scrambling for new sources of income.
Inspired by the portable dance floor the two had hauled around in their teenage years, Ed and Bill opened a dance hall near Sturgeon. They called it "Orscheln Heights."
1925 - 1930s
The next year, Ed and Bill bought a second truck, hired another driver (brother Al) and a bookkeeper (sister Jo). Ed managed the farm. Bill managed the hauling. Three or four nights a week, they had dances at Orscheln Heights. Their dance hall became a regular stop on the Chicago-St. Louis-Kansas City entertainment circuit, and big bands like Benny Goodman’s played the pavilion at the Heights.
The invention of the jukebox in the mid-1930s was the death knell for live entertainment dance halls. In 1936, Orscheln Heights was closed down.
However, Ed and Bill had established their trucking business, "Orscheln Brothers Truck Line." They continued to make deliveries across Missouri.
Bill's son, Don Orscheln, joined the family business in 1949, "missionarying" for the sale of their new brake system. Through his efforts, the Orscheln brake lever became optional equipment for several major manufacturers in the 1950s. International Harvester added Orscheln to its catalog, and later General Motors Trucks did the same.
In the early 1960s, the five Orscheln brothers divided up the family businesses. The largest portion was the truck line. It was given to brothers Ed, Ted, Al, and Louie.
Bill took over the remaining businesses; Orscheln Brake Lever Manufacturing, an equipment dealership, a real estate venture, and a few farm stores.
Bill's son, Jerry, took over the farm supply business in the mid 1960s, creating an enterprise that has grown to more than 180 stores today.
The first big order of Bill and Don's brake levers came in the late 1960s, when American Motors added the Orscheln brake lever as standard equipment on the Dodge truck.
1990s - 2000s
Back To Their Roots
Barry became president of Orscheln Industries in 1990 and today oversees Orscheln’s widely diversified enterprises.
In 2004, Bob's company, Orbseal, was sold to German conglomerate Henkel International. Bob later took over the helm as president of Orscheln Products L.L.C.
Celebrating 100 years!
One hundred years later, and still family operated! Both grandsons of William (Bill) Orscheln, Barry and Bob, remain hard at work today.
We are the
Orscheln has always been a family affair.
What started with two brothers has thrived to today's third and fourth generation descendants.
We focus on education.
Orscheln Industries wants the focus to be on the future. We sponsor many scholarships, encourage employee participation in local schools, and reach out to colleges and vocational-technical schools to help students learn their true potential for greatness in today's workplace.
Orscheln Industries is proud to announce its many local, employee powered accomplishments.
We care about