US Baird – last of the North American Slide Form Machine manufacturers – gone?

There is a rumour circulating (and at this moment, it’s only that – I haven’t been able to verify it) that US Baird, a company that’s been making metal forming machines for 150 years, has closed its doors.

If true, that would be the last North American based slide form machine manufacturer.

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9 Responses to US Baird – last of the North American Slide Form Machine manufacturers – gone?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Baird closed at the end of March 2007.

  2. Anonymous says:

    YES INDEED
    US BAIRD CLOSED ITS DOORS ONLEY TO OPEN UP IN TOMASTON CT UNDER A NEW NAME BAIRD MACHINE COMP TO BAD FOR ITS LOYAL EMPLOYEES WHO GAVE THERE ALL FOR THIS COMPANEY ONLEY TO BE LIED TO AND DECEIVED THEN LAID OFF WITH NO COMPENSATION FOR ALL THE YEARS THEY WORKED THERE
    I LONG FOR THE DAYS THAT WOODEY WAS IN CHARGE HE TREATED HIS HELP WITH RESPECT UNFORTUNATELY HIS SIBLING DID NOT TAKE AFTER HIM

  3. Anonymous says:

    What happened to US Baird? After more than a century and a half of building some of the finest metal stamping and forming equipment in the world, the family that guided Baird through those years put their destiny in the hands of others.
    The final downfall begins with the purchase of a company on the brink of financial collapse. This was a company that built CNC wire forming equipment. A type of machine not unlike those made by at least a dozen other manufacturers around the world. As the principle in this company had done such a stellar job of running his business onto the rocks of financial ruins, Baird started to rely on his advice as to how to operate their business. Sound like a good idea, no?
    With business booming with the sage advise of this “mentor”, Baird and it’s few stock holders decided to enlist the services of a “mature” gentleman that had to his credits, closing Bryant Electric and advising the Mayor of Bridgeport to have the city file for bankruptcy? This fellow happened to be a contemporary of theirs and a friend of a few. You know the old adage regarding doing business with friends and relatives? It would appear to be on the mark.
    This led to the purchase of another failing company. This was a company that did not have any defined product. They would build a device that would suit whatever need a customer might have. Not having a “product”, the only value might be in the recognition that their name might have in the industry. So the first thing Baird did was change the name. Shortly after the deal, the principle’s of this newly acquired company retired or quit. To recap, there was no product, Baird changed the name and the knowledge base of the company was allowed to walk away, so ultimately, Baird only bought office furniture.
    Next our new, (though actually quite old), visionary set about having the Baird machines built in Taiwan. Baird sent all manner of detailed drawings, bills of materials and patterns to a company in Taiwan that knew nothing of the skill and experience required to successfully build Baird equipment. This firm was paid in advance to build several machines, which were sold at cut-rate prices as they could be built so in-expensively in Asia. Low and behold, much past the scheduled completion date, one partial machine arrived at Baird that required being completely rebuilt to correct the shoddy workmanship. To pour salt in the wound, this re-work meant the machine was to be sold at a considerable loss.
    This illustrated several issues. Baird management was unwilling to acknowledge the skills and abilities their long time employees had used all the many years to make Baird the renowned name it had been for over a century and a half. In addition, Baird had learned nothing from a past experience with licensing a foreign company to build their equipment. When the agreement expired, they had all the drawings, etc. they needed to continue to build the machines. Surprise, they are still building the equipment and Baird is long gone and now there are considerable intellectual assets in the hand of a company in Taiwan that too may try to build the equipment.
    Does anyone really care? Probably not. We often read in the paper the woes of a larger company failing and rendering employees out of a job. But the little guy, (though Baird was once several hundred strong), goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, all the little guys around the country add up rather quickly.
    Beware, that “visionary” is still out there lurking for more companies to close or municipalities to put into bankruptcy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What happened to US Baird? After more than a century and a half of building some of the finest metal stamping and forming equipment in the world, the family that guided Baird through those years put their destiny in the hands of others.
    The final downfall begins with the purchase of a company on the brink of financial collapse. This was a company that built CNC wire forming equipment. A type of machine not unlike those made by at least a dozen other manufacturers around the world. As the principle in this company had done such a stellar job of running his business onto the rocks of financial ruins, Baird started to rely on his advice as to how to operate their business. Sound like a good idea, no?
    With business booming with the sage advise of this “mentor”, Baird and it’s few stock holders decided to enlist the services of a “mature” gentleman that had to his credits, closing Bryant Electric and advising the Mayor of Bridgeport to have the city file for bankruptcy? This fellow happened to be a contemporary of theirs and a friend of a few. You know the old adage regarding doing business with friends and relatives? It would appear to be on the mark.
    This led to the purchase of another failing company. This was a company that did not have any defined product. They would build a device that would suit whatever need a customer might have. Not having a “product”, the only value might be in the recognition that their name might have in the industry. So the first thing Baird did was change the name. Shortly after the deal, the principle’s of this newly acquired company retired or quit. To recap, there was no product, Baird changed the name and the knowledge base of the company was allowed to walk away, so ultimately, Baird only bought office furniture.
    Next our new, (though actually quite old), visionary set about having the Baird machines built in Taiwan. Baird sent all manner of detailed drawings, bills of materials and patterns to a company in Taiwan that knew nothing of the skill and experience required to successfully build Baird equipment. This firm was paid in advance to build several machines, which were sold at cut-rate prices as they could be built so in-expensively in Asia. Low and behold, much past the scheduled completion date, one partial machine arrived at Baird that required being completely rebuilt to correct the shoddy workmanship. To pour salt in the wound, this re-work meant the machine was to be sold at a considerable loss.
    This illustrated several issues. Baird management was unwilling to acknowledge the skills and abilities their long time employees had used all the many years to make Baird the renowned name it had been for over a century and a half. In addition, Baird had learned nothing from a past experience with licensing a foreign company to build their equipment. When the agreement expired, they had all the drawings, etc. they needed to continue to build the machines. Surprise, they are still building the equipment and Baird is long gone and now there are considerable intellectual assets in the hand of a company in Taiwan that too may try to build the equipment.
    Does anyone really care? Probably not. We often read in the paper the woes of a larger company failing and rendering employees out of a job. But the little guy, (though Baird was once several hundred strong), goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, all the little guys around the country add up rather quickly.
    Beware, that “visionary” is still out there lurking for more companies to close or municipalities to put into bankruptcy.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous,

    You said on Feb. 12, 2008:

    “This led to the purchase of another failing company. This was a company that did not have any defined product. They would build a device that would suit whatever need a customer might have. Not having a “product”, the only value might be in the recognition that their name might have in the industry. So the first thing Baird did was change the name. Shortly after the deal, the principle’s of this newly acquired company retired or quit. To recap, there was no product, Baird changed the name and the knowledge base of the company was allowed to walk away, so ultimately, Baird only bought office furniture.”

    That company wouldn’t happen to be Globe Tapping Machine Company, would it?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Those who make comments concerning the reasons for the downfall of Baird should do so only after they know the true reasons for the failure. In truth, the employees had more of a hand in the demise than we care to admit. When it takes more time to construst the same machine each time it is built, the inevitable higher prices of these same machines is the true reason that Baird was destined to fail. When the pricing of a piece of capital equipment exceeds the ability of the buyer to justify it’s purchase, then the tone is set. When middle management dropped the ball, and elected not to take any serious actions to drive the costs down, likely due to the fact that those in control were so near retirement, the final nail was driven in the casket.
    So, a decision is made as a last effort in an attempt to manufacture the machines in Taiwan. A decision that many north American manufacturers have made with very successful results. But, due to the obvious lack of support by Bairds own technical staff, the Taiwanese organization is sent patterns and drawings to build a complex machine with little or no support. They are then criticized when the machine arrives in less than perfect condition, and is most critisized by those who could and should have had a hand in insuring that the builders had the assistance needed.

    So put the blame where it belongs, not completely on the hands of the family members and stockholders, but also on the shoulders of the emoyees that did not support the decisions made by the directors in an attempt to save
    It.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The US Baird Corp is no more. The building has been sold.

    http://www5.cbia.com/smallbusiness/article/small-business-briefs/

  8. Carl Lindgren says:

    To “Anonymous” who complained that Baird bought “a company that did not have any defined product.” and “the knowledge base of the company was allowed to walk away”: you are obviously referring to Baird’s purchase of The Globe Tapping Machine Company.

    I am the son of the President of Globe, Norman Lindgren. My father sold the company to Baird on the assurance that Baird would modernize production and expand distribution of the machines. Nothing of the sort happened.

    Baird fired Globe’s Manufacturer Reps and turned the job over to their own Rep companies, who were totally clueless about the machines’ capabilities, how they worked or how to sell them.

    Globe’s machines were all based on three standardized units, which were then customized for the type of parts they were to produce. The basic machine(s) were always the same but the tooling (drills, taps, facing tools, countersinks, etc.) and parts feed and ejection were different, depending on the part specifics.

    Baird also forced a number of Globe’s key experienced employees out, saying their own could handle the job – they couldn’t. When he sold Globe to Baird, my father agreed to stay on for at least a year to smooth the transition but Baird management ignored his advice, thinking they knew the business better than him. In the end, he gave up in disgust.

  9. Pete Childers says:

    Actually the company everyone refers to was Specialized Automation Services. This company was purchased by US Baird and Bodine. Due to the incompetence of Deborah Blaisdell (Woodys daughter) both of the principals left the company and took their knowledge with them. In the end it was Deborah’s lack of caring for the employees’s and her lack of business sense that killed the company. The Taiwan project was headed by a manager that was from another unsuccessful company Baird purchased and while he certainly tried, his lack of knowledge of the product line doomed it to failure. Deborah s selfishness was apparent when she only gave the remaining 10 employees 2 weeks severance pay and actually tried to no give them that. She also refused to offer them the option to purchase health insurance by lying and saying the company had closed. Unfortunately, being one of the last employees involved in the closing before Baird was given the the new Baird I saw this unfortunate situation first hand. In the end it was not the employees that doomed the company, it was only Deborah’s incompetence that was responsible for its demise.

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