George Frederick Shepherd (b. Dec. 13. 1886 d. June 20, 1971) was an engineer and patented inventor who worked in the oil industry in Australia for many, many years. He enjoyed playing cards and his bridge playing pleasure was diminished by the poor quality of the tables available at the time and prompted him to build a sturdier version during the 30's that included casters on the chairs to improve mobility. He realized the commercial possibilities for his invention after his wife broke her leg and his experimental casters enabled her to move easily over various irregular flooring surfaces in their home. He required years to develop the superior caster he envisioned and in 1946 he licensed his invention to be mass-produced in Australia.
A patent was issued for the soon to be famous 2-1/2? (6.4 cm) metal ball caster with inclined, domed wheel. The bearing was lubricated with a self contained oil trap and the working parts were protected from dust by the fitted domed cover. Production began in the UK in 1950 and in the US in 1956 and eventually the caster was produced in six additional countries.
Throughout his life he continued to improve the original design and incorporate different features and options to create a family of Shepherd casters that were used in hotels, offices, hospitals, factories and homes worldwide.
George Shepherd died in 1971 and is remembered as a businessman, inventor and generous philanthropist.
Shepherd Hardware Products in Three Oaks Michigan became part of the Colson Associates Inc of Chicago, USA in 2002. Today the product range continues to grow, and includes a full line of domestic and industrial casters, replacement wheels, glides, bumpers and felt floor and surface protection sold to retail, wholesale and OEM markets worldwide.
Shepherd's global presence has also grown with it's headquarters located in Three Oaks and manufacturing and distribution facilities in USA, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia, and China. The core values present when the company began over fifty years ago are now engrained into the Shepherd culture. An integral part of the day to day operations for the 150 plus staff members and cumulative 350,000 sq. ft of facility across the globe supporting the premier retailers and manufacturers with quality innovative products and outstanding customer service that continues to lead the industry.
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