Company Timeline

100 Years of Innovation

Launched in 1911 as a Pennsylvania lumber supplier, Nelson Company established Baltimore headquarters in 1918 with an idea to build wooden boxes for the tin industry. Today we're more committed than ever to continuing our legacy of quality workmanship, durable products and customer service.

1891
Associated Box opens in New Castle, Pennsylvania. It is later acquired by Nelson Company.
1911
John M. Nelson, Jr. Inc. opens as a lumber supplier in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
1916
John M. Nelson, Jr. Inc. expands with a branch office in New York City.
1916
Bethlehem Steel opens in Sparrows Point, Maryland becoming one of the largest tinplate manufacturers.
1918
The Nelson Company opens a new office at 10 E Fayette St, establishing headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. John M. Nelson, Jr., Inc. advertisement
1919
Contract is signed with Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point on October 27, 1919 to supply tinplate boxes.
1919
Our company name is changed to The Nelson Company.
1920
Production begins at Bethlehem Steel. 350 workers punched-in around the clock. With no lift trucks yet, all lumber was moved on push carts and unloaded from rail cars by hand.
1927
High-lifting fork trucks finally begin to gain momentum in materials handling following 10 years of growth.
1930
Pallet references increasing in trade publications after first being introduced in the 1920s.
1940
Nelson begins manufacturing wood and plywood wire and cable reels.
1940s
Nelson becomes Martin Company's box supplier for shipping airplane parts overseas, including the fuselage of the "Martin Bomber".
1940s
Wartime pushes 4-way pallets to become highly integrated in the U.S. military logistics strategy.
1950s
Nelson Company adds corrugated products including circles, donuts, wrappers and cartons. Slipsheets and angle board are added later.
1958
A. Pete Caltrider joins the Nelson Company.
1968
The Nelson Company becomes a subsidiary of a larger corporation when it is sold by the son of the founder, John M. Nelson III.
1970s
Nelson worked with a machine company to design and build the largest nailing machine ever built for nailing together 160" wood reels.
1970
A.P. Caltrider takes on a new leadership role and becomes President. pete caltrider
1980s
Reverse Distribution Services are introduced. Focusing on cost-per-use, our system saves customers 10%-50% by managing the return and reuse of transport packaging assets.
1981
A. Pete Caltrider pilots the buy-back of Nelson Company and later purchases full ownership with John K. Williams.
1986
Jack Williams signs on as a full-time employee with Nelson Company and later becomes CFO and Executive Vice President.
1998
David Caltrider joins full-time to expand Nelson Company throughout the east coast and later becomes CEO and President.
1999
Nelson invests in reverse distribution management software for customers. The program is later named Nelson-ART.
2003
Nelson Company selected by DuPont to receive its first Supplier Recognition Award.
2005
Best friends David Caltrider and Jack Williams purchase majority ownership of Nelson Company.
2008
A. Pete Caltrider celebrates 50 years with Nelson Company, serving as Chairman.
2011
Nelson celebrate's the 100th anniversary of Founder's Day.
2012
The Nelson Technical Center opens to design new and improve current packaging systems for enhanced sustainability.
2013
End of an era as we witness the demolition of our old plant and office at Sparrows Point.
2018
Nelson Company celebrates 100 Years in Baltimore.