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.
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.