Soaring to New Heights

The Vital Link in the Supply Chain

In 1934, the company chose to discontinue its own line of Graybar appliances
1934 Company discontinues the Graybar household appliance line and begins distributing other appliance brands such as Hotpoint and Zenith.
, but remained a distributor for other companies’ appliances. In fact, Graybar became the nation’s largest appliance and housewares wholesaler, distributing dozens of brands, but without incurring the costs of advertising and promotion.

In 1941, Graybar purchased the remaining shares of its stock from Western Electric, making the company completely owned by employees and retirees, just as it remains today.

The 1940s also marked an important shift in Graybar’s business, as it focused on supporting the war effort
1941 United States enters World War II. Graybar serves the equipment needs of defense contractors and the military for the duration of the war.
by furnishing material and equipment to the government. Sales representatives spent much of their time advising customers on ways to substitute available products for those that were scarce. Nearly 600 Graybar employees served in the armed forces during World War II, and women filled many of the jobs of men who went to war.

The conclusion of World War II signaled the beginning of a golden age for Graybar. As demand grew, the company expanded its branches while adding new suppliers, products and customers. However, in 1970, Western Electric stopped selling equipment through Graybar, ending the relationship between the two companies.

In 1968, the Carterfone decision by the Federal Communications Commission helped create new opportunities in the interconnect business, which Graybar was well positioned to capture. This set the stage for the robust growth of the company’s comm/data business.

In 1969, Graybar celebrated the 100th anniversary
1969 Graybar celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Gray & Barton.
of the founding of Gray & Barton.

Continue to the next chapter: Built to Last