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.
“My grandfather and his brothers were willing to take significant risk to build this business to what it is today.”— Bob Orscheln, CEO of Orscheln Products, LLC
We care about
Orscheln Industries is proud to announce its many local, employee powered accomplishments.
Our employees are dedicated to local and global outreach.
Whether it’s the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a United Way employee/company matched event, or an overseas Orscheln Europe Bikethon fundraiser, our employees push to help those in need.
We celebrate our veterans, our neighbors, and our loved ones.
Every Memorial Day, Orscheln Industries helps recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our veterans by supporting the raising of over 400 American flags in the community.
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.
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.”
The Dance Route
TOn one such trip, a grocery store owner in Renick, Missouri offered Bill 25 cents to bring a box of bread from Moberly on his next run. Bill made that delivery and started soliciting other hauling business along his dance route. Soon, they had so much business they had to take the benches out of the back of their truck.
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.
1938 – 1950s
Hold the Brakes
IThey were such a success, the brothers patented the design in 1939 and installed them on the family’s whole fleet of delivery trucks. In 1946, Orscheln Brake Lever Manufacturing Company (Later to become Orscheln Products) was incorporated to build the brake system for sale to others.
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.
Orbseal & Commercial Leasing
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 LLC.
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.