Graybar Commemorates Company Milestones

140 years since founding, 80 years of employee ownership

ST. LOUIS, November 5, 2009 – This year marks two significant milestones in the history of Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services. First, Graybar celebrates the 140th anniversary of the company's original founding as Gray & Barton in 1869 by inventor Elisha Gray and entrepreneur Enos Barton. Also, this year is the 80th anniversary of the date when Graybar's employees purchased their company in 1929 from Western Electric, Graybar's parent company at that time.

"Everything Graybar stands for as a company – our integrity, customer focus, employee ownership and long-term view – is rooted in our company's history and serves as the foundation of our business today," said Robert A. Reynolds, Jr., Graybar's chairman, president and CEO.

Founded in 1869, Gray & Barton was the predecessor of Western Electric. In 1925, Western Electric spun-off its supply department and renamed it Graybar in honor of the company's founders. In 1929, Graybar's employees made headlines across the country as they purchased their company from Western Electric for $3 million in cash and $6 million of Graybar preferred stock. Today, Graybar is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America.

To commemorate the company's 140th anniversary and 80 years of employee ownership, Graybar recently published a company history book for employees and retirees. The book was produced by Greenwich Publishing Group, a leading publisher of corporate history books, and written by author Richard Blodgett. You can read the book and learn more about Graybar's history online by visiting

"We are incredibly proud of our rich history as well as our long tradition of employee ownership," Reynolds adds. "We look forward to writing the next chapter in our company's history as we continue to work to the advantage of our suppliers and customers."