Kettering-based business marks 150 years manufacturing parts that keep things moving



If you’ve ever had cheese cubes or tortillas at a party, you may have benefitted from products made by the Joyce/Dayton Corp. without knowing it.

The Kettering-based company marking 150 years in business manufactures screw jacks, actuators and lifting equipment, not necessarily items commonly seen or used by average consumers.

But the devices the business makes are often part of assembling products that are regularly used.



“Our products are used in material handling,” Joyce/Dayton President Brad Weiss said. “So, if they get packages delivered to them, things that go across assembly lines might have conveyors that have our products on them.

“We have customers that use our products for food manufacturing — for making presses, things like that,” he added.

Yet Weiss points out, “there’s nothing anybody’s going to see that’s going to make them think of us.”

Screw jacks help convert rotary into linear motion and can move or lift or lower loads while actuators receive energy and convert it into motion, according to industry definitions. Actuators are an essential component in many modern technologies and engineering fields.



Joyce touts itself as a leader in the linear motion sector. The global linear motion products market is projected to grow from $11.5 billion in 2022 to $18.1 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business.

The company that started in Franklin and has had its corporate office in Kettering since 1973 has about 170 employees and an annual revenue of about $50 million, Weiss said.

The offices at 3300 S. Dixie Drive are home to about 33 jobs, according to Weiss.

With one plant in Portland, Ind. and another near Hartford, Conn., its clientele includes more than two dozen industries ranging from communications and material handling to transportation, he said.



The Connecticut site, which operates as a subsidiary, makes the devices used for cheese cubing and tortilla production, Weiss said.

History of business

The business was founded in 1873 as the Joyce-Cridland Co. by Thomas H. Cridland, J.O. Joyce and his son, F.I. Joyce. Its small factory produced a new type of railroad jack, known as “Joyce’s Patent.”

Joyce jacks were used to lift rail cars and engines, as well as re-leveling railroad tracks, helping to transport goods across the country, according to the company.



“That’s where we lived for a very long time,” Weiss said. “And when the automobile started becoming popular, (Joyce) started making automobile maintenance tracks and lift systems.

“And that defined the company for a number of years because we were at every filling station and every car dealership for automotive service lifts,” he added.

During World War II, Joyce railroad jacks were used to clear tracks after bombings in Europe, and its airplane lift stands were used for this country’s aircraft fleet, officials said.

“And then in the late (19)50s,” Weiss said, “we got into the products we manufacture today, which we refer to as screw jacks.”

Joyce/Dayton also supported the space program by building jacks in 1965 for the Atlas rocket at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Recent acquisitions

In 2012, it acquired EDrive Actuators Inc., a Connecticut manufacturer of electric linear actuators, expanding upon the local company’s products to include industrial automation solutions.

The purchase was “pretty significant because that expanded our reach into what they call the high-tech automation market, which is high-speed, high precision actuators,” Weiss said.

Before then, Joyce specialized in “the power transmission market” with “low-speed, mechanical movement,” he said.

Two years later, Joyce/Dayton was acquired by business conglomerate Graham Holdings Co. for an undisclosed price.

The purchase “fits with our decentralized operating philosophy,” Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive officer of Graham Holdings, said then.

“We are a diverse group of businesses sharing common goals and values but each with its own identity and workplace culture, and with management responsible for its operations,” Graham added.

Since then, “they have been very faithful to that pledge,” Weiss said.

“Graham Holdings has been a very good steward of our company and did not seek to alter our business or significantly influence how we operate,” he added.

Joyce/Dayton has been “a staple in Dayton for a very long time,” Weiss said. “Our employees make us who we are and we have probably touched everybody’s lives at some point through some product that they’ve purchased or service that they’ve enjoyed.”



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