What started with the manufacturing of lifting slings in Rockford, IL in 1954 has grown into one of the largest manufacturers of below-the-hook lifting devices in North America, selling beams, clamps and lifting points all over the world. Would founder Leslie M. Caldwell even recognize the company he founded 70 years ago? We're not sure. But we know he'd be pleased. 

The Caldwell Company has its roots in the fertile mind of Leslie M. Caldwell, an inventor and tinkerer. The company was incorporated in 1954 by Caldwell, who designed, fabricated, and sold special lifting slings - one of which being the patented Adjust-A-Leg® load-leveling wire rope sling.

With a used Singer 7-33 sewing machine, some MIL-spec webbing, and thread from Eastern Jobbers, Caldwell started making and selling nylon web slings in the basement of the building at 1224 4th Avenue, Rockford to a mostly local market.

Jack W. Remington purchased the company in 1962; he brought with him 25 years of design, shop, sales, and business management experience. Mr. Remington gradually expanded the product line and his staff as the company slowly grew larger. By 1971, more space was required, which precipitated moving to a new, larger facility in Rockford's Eastrock Industrial Park, where the company is presently situated.

Howard A. Will, Jr., a Yale University graduate with a major in civil engineering, a master’s in civil engineering from Stanford University, and a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois, purchased The Caldwell Company at the end of 1976. Taking advantage of his engineering background, Will shifted the emphasis of the company to fabricated metal and Below-the-Hook lifters. He built up the engineering department and started a program to upgrade production facilities. Early on, a goal was established to offer the fullest range of Below-the-Hook lifting products from one source.

The single largest expansion of the Caldwell company was with the acquisition of Creative Material Control Inc. (CMCI™) in Centralia, IL. CMCI™ manufactures a full line of vacuum and mill duty lifters. By the end of 1994, the company had, through numerous acquisitions and internal development, grown into six separate and distinct product lines.

  • Strong-Bac® - Below the Hook Crane & Hoist Attachments
  • Rig-Master® - Rigging Attachments
  • Lif-Truc™ - Forklift Truck Attachments
  • Caldwell® - Web Slings and Tie-Downs
  • UNIVAC® - Vacuum Lifters
  • CMCI™ - Mill Duty Lifters

With the separate product lines, it seemed fitting to rename the company to The Caldwell Group, Inc, done in 1994. Since 1994, The Caldwell Group has made several other acquisitions including the Posi-Turner® product line from Park Industries (Minnesota) and Woodstock Crane & Hoist Company (Illinois). These expansions have developed into two additional product lines:

  • Posi-Turner® - Load Rotation Systems
  • Krane-King® - Jib and Gantry Cranes

In more recent years, Caldwell has been proud to expand the product offering even further. In 2013, we merged with JC Renfroe, a US manufacturer of plate clamp lifting equipment, in a move that would provide us with first-hand application experience in a variety of industries. Not long after that merge, we formed our partnership with RUD, the world-renowned chain and lifting point manufacturer, to provide North American customers access to each partners' full range of products. This has allowed for a more personal and specified process for supplying this part of the world with the well-known brands.  It is our privilege to utilize our engineering knowledge and extensive experience to provide customers with the unparalleled quality and service expected of a market leader.