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The History of Niedner

Niedner traces its origin back to 1895 when Charles Henry Niedner immigrated to North America and began manufacturing linen fire hose in Malden, Massachusetts.   In the first half of the 20th century, linen fire hose represented a significant portion of the requirements in forestry and interior fire protection.   The Malden plant was then expanded in size.

In 1912, two sons of this constructor, Charles and William, opened a small plant in Montreal where they started weaving fire hose, the same business that exists today.   Finding themselves too far from the main plant located in Malden, they thought of establishing themselves in Sherbrooke.   However, Arthur Vincent, a customs officer, convinces them to come to Coaticook, which turned out to be a wonderful outcome for the region.

In 1913, the Niedner business temporarily operates in a building next to the cement bridge on Saint-Paul Street.   In the fall of 1914, due to the large demand for the product, the manufacturer moved into the recently constructed building on Cutting Street.   In 1942, William Niedner purchased his brother’s shares and became its sole owner.

In 1953 Wajax Limited purchased Niedner.   In the early 1970’s, it became rather evident that the product line was too limited.   As a result, substantial investments were made to develop new hose technologies, and therefore allow Niedner to take on a larger market share of the fire hose industry.   The fire hose operations of American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. were acquired and a facility was added in York, Pennsylvania.

Renovations and additions were made in several stages to the Cutting Street building before finally retiring in 1992, a year where Niedner invested 3,3 M$ to renovate the new center on Merrill Street where all of the manufacturing was eventually consolidated in 1993.

This state of the art facility consists of in excess of 70,000 square feet and is exclusively devoted to the research, development and manufacturing of rigid and lay flat liquid distribution hoses, destined for both Canadian and export production.

In December 1995, a newly formed company called the Wildfire Group purchased the Fire Control Division of Wajax Limited.   A few years later in February 2000, a Canadian division of Tyco (Ansul Canada) purchased the Wildfire Group.   And then finally in October 2009, the company passes through the hands of a Quebec interest at the cost of 13, 4 M$. The new owner is Sanexen Environmental Services out of Varennes, Quebec.   They are a subsidiary of the Montreal company Logistec, registered at the Toronto stock market.

Thanks to a constant evolution, Niedner continues to offer a wide range of distinctive woven-jacketed hose products while offering employment to the region throughout the decades.   Today, 150 people work in this Coaticook plant.   Among others, these products include both, rubber-lined and lightweight polyurethane lined versions of fire hose.   In fact Niedner pioneered the fire hose industry revolution in North America in the late 70’s and early 80’s by developing lighter-weight and more compact hose products for firefighting.   These products continue to be made today and have become the industry standard to which all light weight hoses are compared.   In addition to municipal firefighting, Niedner also leads the way in producing other hose products for forestry firefighting, for industrial applications, for snow making, for water main rehabilitation, to name just a few…

Features such as reduced friction loss, lighter-weight materials, reduced storage space, flexibility at extremely low temperatures and an increased strength-to-weight ratios, continue to permit Niedner to be a major provider to the firefighting, industrial, and specialty hose markets.

The investment commitment of Sanexen Environmental Services should ensure the continued growth of diverse and innovative technologies therefore providing the necessary foundation to growing market share and to remaining the industry leader.   An ongoing commitment to the development of new products and manufacturing methods guarantees Niedner will be recognized for years to come as a world class leader in the hose manufacturing industry.