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The year was 1917. The White Sox were World Series champs, President Woodrow Wilson was in office, and a Chicago-based, family-owned business was taking its first steps to becoming the large global corporation that it is today.
Fellowes, Inc., today's leading shredder manufacturer, originally began with a chance meeting in an elevator between Harry Fellowes and Walter Nickel – two businessmen who worked in the same office building. Harry immediately learned that Nickels needed to sell his business, a start-up company that made corrugated boxes for storing bank records. Before the elevator reached the lobby, Harry purchased the business for $50, which later became known as the Bankers Box Company.
Over the next several decades, the Bankers Box brand expanded to meet the demands of different office environments, quickly becoming an entire system of records management. But as the years passed and the needs of the American business continued to change, the company changed too.
By 1990, the company had a new name, Fellowes, Inc., and a revolutionary new product – the personal shredder. Recognizing the evolution from document storage to destruction, Fellowes was the first to introduce the machine to the marketplace. Fueled by a surge in identity theft crimes, shredders quickly became common household appliances.
Today, Fellowes continues to be a family-owned business, developing innovative technologies to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. Below is a brief Q&A with the company's vice president and general manager, John Fellowes, who provides additional insight into Fellowes' most recent innovations.
Tell us about Fellowes' latest shredder innovations?
Most recently, Fellowes launched the first 100 percent Jam Proof paper shredder series, which includes three unique models for personal and small business use [PS-79Ci, SB-89Ci and SB-99Ci]. The shredders electronically measure the thickness of a paper stack and stop a jam before it occurs. The series also detects when paper has been mis-fed of fast-fed into the shredder by turbo-powering through the job or reversing the paper out for easy removal.
Can you tell us more about Fellowes' stance on shredder safety?
As a family-owned company, we continue to lead the industry in developing new safety innovations on our shredders. In addition to imposing strict safety requirements that meet the voluntary standards used by the industry, Fellowes also introduced its SafeSense technology that automatically disables the shredder when sensing hands or large pets are too close to the paper opening. We also added a patented safety lock to several shredder models for extra protection.
What's next for Fellowes?
Since the beginning, we've had a strong commitment to innovation. It's our primary goal to develop products that allow us to stay ahead of the curve and provide innovative solutions that meet the demands and challenges of an ever-changing marketplace. In the coming years, we'll continue to explore new product innovations and revolutionize the way people think about shredding.
To learn more about Fellowes' products and position in the marketplace, please click on the video located on this page.