We’ve come a long way from horseshoe nails.
In 1881, Englishman George J. Capewell founded the Capewell Horse Nail Company in Hartford Connecticut. His patented automated machines made Capewell the only company in the world that could mass produce horseshoe nails in an era when horses powered transportation worldwide. For decades, the company grew and prospered based on this single high-demand product that no one else could match.
As time marched on and the automobile replaced horse drawn vehicles, Capewell looked for new opportunities, and in 1939 began a collaboration with the US government to develop specialized hardware for military paratroopers. We are proud to say that Capewell hardware has been standard equipment on US military parachutes ever since the first Army Airborne parachute units were trained at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1942.
The US Army adopted the Capewell Parachute Release which—for the first time—allowed jumpers to quickly release their chutes once on the ground to prevent being dragged by the wind. Nearly six decades later, “Capewells” are still indispensable safety equipment for military and sport parachutists worldwide.
For its first 100 years, Capewell thrived on two basic but essential products: the horseshoe nail and the parachute release. Remarkably, both products are still in production today.
A new era for Capewell
In the 1980’s Capewell embarked on an effort to grow and diversify by acquiring top companies with expertise in related industries—and by focusing on the ability to engineer products rapidly in response to the needs of the military. A list of the companies we have acquired is shown below. These companies have not only expanded our capabilities, but have helped us add to a growing list of products that are recognized as the standard for military and commercial use.
Capewell Company Acquisitions
1987- Wasley Products
1990- Ripley Company
1993- Cable Assembly Line of Five Star Co
1994- Frost Engineering
1995- Southtek International
2000- MH Rhodes
2002- Assets of Seko South Helicopter Slings
2005- Cramer Company
2014- Aerial Machine and Tool Corp
2020- Rhine Air, Inc