AHA!

Flexlume didn’t start with a sign. We started with an idea.

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The story of Flexlume is written in the signs of America.

The mesmerizing theater marquee, the stalwart and trusted bank, the refinement of the shoe store,  and the glee of that special trip to the candy shop. Flexlume’s history has spanned so many changes through cultural shifts, two world wars, and technological breakthroughs, which continue at breakneck speed.  And yet the fundamentals endure - craftsmanship, quality, functionality, and service. These are the very foundation of Flexlume, an innovator and American icon maker that guides, persists, and outlasts.

OUR HISTORY

In 1904, Roy R. Wiley along with his brother, Wallace, and W.S. Hough joined forces to produce white opal glass molded letters to push through a sign face and illuminate from the rear. This was a process that would create flexible-illumination. The name Flexlume was born. Roy Wiley built the business on the model of quality and craftsmanship. Wiley fought against the policies of his competition which he referred to as “business at any price.” His values of quality and craftsmanship first are still deeply held at Flexlume.

In 1911, after years of experimenting and perfecting their craft, the company moved to Buffalo, New York from Canada. Flexlume constructed and moved into a 125,000 square foot plant in 1924. At the time, this was the world’s largest plant dedicated solely to the manufacturing of electric signs.

With a solid customer base of financial institutions, automotive dealers, and movie theaters the company grew to as many as 500 employees, even through the depression. Many of Western New York’s classic marquees were built by Flexlume and can still be seen in use today. During World War II, all available steel resources were diverted to the war effort and Flexlume was forced to briefly close its doors. It was at this time that F.A. (Al) Rowell purchased the company. In 1946 the company moved to its current location, 1464 Main Street, where Flexlume has been producing the world's greatest signs since.

When you want the best suit of clothes, salvation from sickness or a fine residence, you go to a tailor, a physician or an architect. These professional people know the traditions, the materials, the technique - every element and resource of their professions, and they are, therefore in position to give you the very best individual service.

Our salesmen should be in the same position. They are in personal touch with the needs of the customer, they should know the possibilities and limitations of electrical advertising from every angle. No one should be in better position to specify details of the right kind of an electric sign than they. If our salesman will only go at the game from this angle they will see how quickly the annoyances of cost, cheap competition and other bugbears will disappear.
— Roy R. Wiley 1924

 

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