by Josh Schroeder
Certified Six Sigma Black Belt
What’s in a name? I’m always fascinated how a company, a team or a band gets their name. Sometimes it’s as simple as the last name of the founder or the initials of two partners but often there is a story behind what’s in a name.
The Company 3M got its start in 1902 as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company making sand paper. Later as they continued to grow they shortened the name to 3M and introduced other products like Scotch tape and the famous Post-It notes.
Apple Computers was born out of inspiration while Steve Jobs worked on an Oregon apple farm in 1976. He was also a Beatles fan and admired their record label Apple Records. Later the “computers” portion of their name was dropped as they successfully ventured into the world of consumer electronics.
In baseball the Dodger were originally called the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers in reference to 19th century Brooklyn where the streets were filled with trolleys and the pedestrians scurried out of their way. It was later shortened to just the Brooklyn Dodgers.
When the Cincinnati Reds were formed in 1869, they were the Red Stockings, later shortened to the Reds until the early 50’s when McCarthyism was rampant and no one wanted to be called a “Red”. They made another official name change to the Redlegs and when the patriotic panic died down they quietly switched back to being the Reds.
The New York Yankees were originally called the Highlanders and the Hill-Toppers (because their park was located at the highest point in the city). Sportswriters complained about the difficulty of squeezing the long team name into headlines. In 1909, a newsman arbitrarily called them Yankees, patriotic slang for “Americans” around World War I and the name stuck ever since.
Here at Beckwood there is also a story about how we got our name. Most people understand that the “Beck” is short for “Becker”, after our late founder Charlie Becker. But many are puzzled by the “wood” part of our name when our primary customers are in the metal forming business.
In 1976 Beckwood was formed as a fireplace insert and door manufacturer. The “wood” portion of the name was in reference to the “wood” burning fireplaces.
One part of the manufacturing process required the use of hydraulic presses. Charlie, being the entrepreneur and frugal minded business man that he was decided to build his own presses for internal use. This would prove to be a wise decision because in 1996, the opportunity to sell hydraulic presses commercially presented itself. Then as the fireplace business dwindled due to low cost offshore mass production, those lines were phased out and full attention was paid to hydraulic press manufacturing in 2001.
The Beckwood name while known to the wood burning fireplace industry as a strong, quality driven manufacturer has become just as prevalent in the hydraulic press industry today. What’s in a name? Well for Beckwood, while the name and logo maybe a little strange in the metals industry, the name pays homage to our beginnings and our founder whom without, we would not exist.