Paulin - 100 Years of Business and Community

9/21/2020 12:34 PM

As a young salesman in early 20th Century Downtown Toronto, Harry Paulin found himself working in a hardware store. This London, England native recognized the difficulty in locating fasteners for his customers. In addition, the automobile industry was developing, creating a growing demand for automotive Fasteners.

Harry and his young wife, Anna Paulin, founded H. Paulin & Co. and opened up shop at 1147 Dundas St. West with the purpose of bringing "new and not readily available" fasteners to the community. At the time, the Steel Company of Canada told Harry he was selling too many washers; they didn’t like that he was disrupting the market, so they stopped selling to him. Harry went to Eastern Avenue and found an old punch press, some steel offcuts and found a person to help him to start stamping washers.

In 1923, Harry Paulin took white powder soap used for cleaning greasy hands and added a “mysterious” substance to turn the soap ‘pink’ in colour. PAPCO chemical cleansers were soon born and crushed the market.

 By 1925, he published the first comprehensive fastener catalogue with automotive fasteners in Canada. The catalogue included automotive wedge clamps, rim bolts and nuts, battery parts, wing nuts, flat and lockwashers, hex head cap screws and hex nuts.

The Paulin Auto Parts Co. was born to market its PAPCO brand. Today PAPCO fasteners and automotive hardware dominate the Canadian Automotive Aftermarket.

Prior to World War II, Paulin represented Essex Brass out of Indiana, in Canada. Paulin held a consignment stock and received a commission. After WWII, the US market was booming, and Essex Brass didn’t want to sell in Canada. Harry bought the inventory, found their own sources and started to expand the fitting business. Equipment called Davenports were purchased in the 1960s and installed at 67 Butterworth (most recently the print shop at 55 Milne Avenue).

Harry Paulin's two sons, Arthur and Stanley, entered the business full-time around then, and they expanded both the manufacturing and distribution. During the 1950’s through the 1970’s the company added cold heading, screw machine, nut forming and chemical adhesive processing to the original stamping operations.

Meanwhile, in 1969, Paulin negotiated a licensing agreement with Long Lok of Cincinnati. The deal was that after 10 years, Long Lok Canada would be ours. 

In the 1970’s Pre-applied Anerobic Chemical Locking was the newest technology; Paulin took full advantage and decided that it had to expand its product offering: 
    - In 1973 Long Lok became a licensee for 3M
    - In 1978 Long Lok became a licensee for Loctitie
    - In 1984, Long Lok bought Dynalok of Windsor

As the Locking Fastener Business was sealing Paulin's reputation in the industry, the Fittings Business was expanding; the Davenports were moved to the rear of Capital Metal, and Butterworth became the home of Long Lok. Since it was difficult to measure the profitability of the Davenports while inside of CMi the factory was moved to another building in Scarborough.

Long Lok later moved from Butterworth to Birchmount, to Howden and to eventually settle at Crockford Blvd.

In 1983, the company bought Jeyco Screw Machine Products and moved all of its equipment to Jeyco.
The Fitting business continue to grow inside of Paulin, selling to industrial, automotive and retail customers. In 1990, a competitor of ours was available for sale and we purchased Dominion Fittings. The fitting businesses were merged.

As manufacturing grew, H. Paulin added packaging and merchandising for its three key markets: automotive aftermarket, industrial distributors and retail hardware.

Under different brand names like Worksavers, Pic-a Pac, Pro-tip, Dominion and others, Paulin and its five divisions expanded across Canada. Distribution centers were opened in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal (then Laval in 2004) and Moncton. In the U.S., H. Paulin opened distribution centers in Cleveland and Flint, Michigan.

Soon the distribution segment was stocking more than 75,000 standardand custom fasteners, fittings and hard-to-find components. Things were looking good.

Although one can be president of the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) only once, the President of the AIA in 1963 resigned for health reasons, leaving Arthur Paulin, at the time Vice-President, to fill in his duties. The following year in 1964, Arthur was sworn in officially as President. Then, in 1965, the following president was transferred to Europe; as a trusted and experienced past president, Arthur Paulin became President of the AIA for a record 3 years in a row!

Arthur and Stan continued to nurture the business, helping it adapt to and lead in the ever evolving industry. But they also knew that their growing business was part of something larger: Harry Paulin had lovingly instilled in his sons respect for their country and for their community. 

Keeping an air of camaraderie and family within H. Paulin & Co., staff got together and formed a winning Baseball team, snatching the SKF Bearing Baseball Championship in 1962.

In October 1972, Scarborough was part of an Ontario program to open “instant contemporary art exhibits”. 500 were opened the same day in Ontario and 12 were opened in Scarborough - all in public high schools as well as at H. Paulin.

The heart of every member of H. Paulin & Co's staff must have swelled in pride on Opening Day for the Exhibition Centre Stadium in 1977: Every seat in the stadium was supplied with custom designed stainless-steel bolts and nylon insert nuts by Paulin; every bolt was manufactured at CMI and adhesive coated at Long Lok!

In 1978, Paulin contributed to the strength and integrity of their beloved Canada: NASA’s Space Shuttle program, in cooperation with Spar Aerospace, the Canadian aerospace agency, produced the Canadarm, the remote manipulator system for which our very own Long Lok manufactured special locking fasteners.

By 2011, Paulin was led by Harry Paulin’s grandson, Richard Paulin. Richard’s son, David Paulin, joined the company that year and thus became the fourth generation in the business.

In 2013, Richard's difficult but ultimately joyful decision bore fruit: The Hillman Group acquired H. Paulin & Co.; a beautiful new chapter was underway, clearing the path for a full 100 years and beyond of customer-first operation, innovation and community.

Here's to another 100 years!.

Source: Richard Paulin and