About Us

The Durham Company was founded and organized in 1959 by Roy Durham in Washington, Missouri.  Mr. Durham was a leading design engineer with Binkley Utility Division of Binkley Manufacturing Company and made significant contributions to the “plug-in” style meter socket for those types of meters being developed between 1930 and 1950.  This knowledge, along with the acquired Binkley tooling, was the nucleus of the original company.

 

Mr. Durham died in 1961 and The Durham Company was purchased by George E. Carr.  Mr. Carr continued to operate the company in Washington until early 1964, when it was moved to Lebanon, Missouri, into a new plant.  The initial products at that time were meter sockets, polyphase enclosures, test blocks, etc. for the electric utility industry.

 

Through the 1960’s, the product line was expanded to include combination socket/breaker and socket/transfer switch units for the farmstead.  Also at this time, George E. Carr designed and developed the pole top switches which were utilized primarily in rural areas.   During the 1960’s, The Durham Company made significant improvements in the basic meter socket line, and consequently had to do a plant expansion to further expand market share.

 

By the early 1970’s, The Durham Company was a significant supplier to regional investor owned utilities. During this time, The Durham Company also was a major supplier to the Midwestern rural electric cooperatives and electric municipalities.

 

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, George E. Carr led the organization through a massive transformation embracing the JIT philosophy.  He realized that in order to succeed, The Durham Company needed to “work smarter, not harder.”  Extensive training was provided for all employees in the subjects of JIT philosophy, Statistical Process Control, and other pertinent subjects.

 

Product design and development of pad mount equipment started in the 1980’s as more utilities adopted underground electric lines.  Borrowing from the years of experience in manufacturing meter sockets,engineering chose to use G90 galvanized steel instead of the conventional mild steel that all competitors at that time offered.  The G90 steel provides longevity to even the harshest environments through the “sacrificial” nature of the zinc coating over the steel.  Consequently, this product does not exhibit the rust so often seen from competitor’s units.  The “transclosure” line of Equipment Enclosures as well as sectionalizing pedestals was developed in this timeframe.  Other products developed for the underground electrical needs included Primary Metering Equipment, Fused Sectionalizing Pedestals, and Pad Mount Secondary Enclosures.

 

In the late 1980's, The Durham Company brought in consultants from the University of Missouri to expand training to include a new TEAM program in which employees were empowered to identify and solve problems.  The training included extensive cost justification methods which were ultimately used to split savings 50-50 among the company and the team that identified and solved the problem.

In 1993, an agreement was made with the City of Houston to lease/purchase a 30,000 square foot shell building in Houston, MO.  This building was finished out for manufacturing, a state of the art powder coating system was installed, and fabrication operations began in June, 1994.  After rigorous testing of the powder coating system to ANSI standards, full operations started in December, 1994.  At this time, the Pad Mount Product Line was separated from the rest of the operations in Lebanon and moved down to Houston.

 

The plant opening in Houston provided extra capacity and growing room in the Lebanon facility.  Concurrent with the move to Houston, The Durham Company President, Doug Russell made the decision to split the remaining manufacturing in Lebanon into two distinct product lines, Meter Sockets and Combination and Secondary Enclosures (CASE).  This focused factory approach was chosen to serve customers better and to streamline product flow through the factory.

 

In 1995, The Durham Company purchased the Test Switch Product Line from Superior Technology in Canton, OH.  Operations continued in Canton until 1997 when the operations were moved to a separate facility in Lebanon, MO. 

 

The most recent plant expansion was done in the Lebanon facility in 1999 whereby an additional 40,000 sq. ft. was added to accommodate the growing customer base.  Along with this expansion, an additional powder coating system was installed to augment the original powder coating system. 


In 2001, The Durham Company started the journey of becoming LEAN.  Doug Russell and G.T. Carr spearheaded the movement and jump-started the project by bringing in a seasoned consultant who implemented LEAN in his own company prior to becoming a consultant.  Subsequent to lots of classroom and hands-on training, The Durham Company’s employees achieved another monumental transformation, and the efforts continue to be ongoing.  Numerous Kaizen Events, 5S Audits, Value Stream Analysis, Visual Controls and other techniques have resulted in both tangible and intangible improvements.  In addition to reducing our throughput time to better serve customers and adapt to their last minute changes, these improvements have significantly reduced in-process inventory and increased space utilization. 

 

In 2001, the Houston operation found it necessary to expand to meet customer demand.  35,000 sq. ft. were added to accommodate both this demand as well as capitalize on some product flow improvements.

 

In May, 2002, the Test Switch Product line had realized so many improvements from their LEAN efforts, the whole operation that once required 15,000 sq. ft. was able to move into the primary facility in Lebanon and utilize only 7,000 sq. ft.  The Test Switch Product line today continues to do more with less.  In addition to manufacturing Test Switches, this product line has started assembly of Instrument Rated Meter Sockets where the Test Switch is mounted and wired into the Meter Socket for commercial metering applications.

 

The Durham Company has come a long way since its fledgling beginnings in 1959.  There are more products, more people, more equipment, and thankfully, more customers.  The electrical industry has changed, and the technology has changed, however, The Durham Company has kept up with those changes through its “Commitment to Quality and Continuous Improvement.”  George E. Carr has been mostly retired from the business for many years now; however, his vision is etched in the hearts and minds of the next generation of family members that are actively involved in the business.  We believe that it will be the level of our commitment that will write our history for the next fifty years…our commitment to our customers, our commitment to our employees, and our commitment to our communities.  We hope that you too will be committed to our efforts.