#THROWBACKTHURSDAY – Ringball Corporation

Take a look at our #ThrowBackThursday this week!!

BearingNet member since 2000, Ringball Corporation, have sent us these lovely pictures of their offices. Look how much they’ve changed!!

Ringball with dates

The story of Ringball Corporation

In 1951 Swiss entrepreneur  F.J.Vondruska journeyed to Canada to leave an over crowded post-war Europe. With a strong background in the bearing industry Vondruska quickly realised the potential of opening a nation-wide distribution company in Canada.

Today Vondruska’s dreams have become a reality – Ringball Corporation is a leading distributor of all types of ball & roller bearings, power transmission products and other related products. Its sister company, Vanguard Steel Ltd, shares the same premises but markets speciality steel products.

Long before his goal was achieved, Vondruska began work in a modest four-storey building with a harbour front location, which later became his first distribution outlet in Canada. He returned to Europe to establish contacts with leading manufacturers and became their exclusive Canadian distributor.

Steyr Bearing in Austria, GMN in Germany and RIV in Italy were his principle suppliers. Vondruska hired experienced workers in Europe and helped them emigrate to Canada. Veteran of Steyr Bearings, Walter Kranzl became the first General Manager of Vondruska’s new enterprise, named Industrial Appliance Company.

In 1953 Vondruska applied for federal registration for his company which was unsuccessful (too many Industrial Appliance Companies already existed!) and resulted in a name change to Ringball Limited, which was successfully registered.

Things were going well and Vanguard’s enterprise was expanding. By 1960 an agreement had been signed with Bohler Steel, Austria, which led to the formation of Vanguard Steel Ltd. There was also another name change – Ringball Bearings Ltd, this was changed to emphasise the significance of bearings.

The Bohler agreement helped Vanguard to expanded quickly due to the many European born tool and die makers that were now based in Canada and were already familiar with the European Bohler products.

Ringball and Vanguard continued to expand during the 60’s. By the 70’s they were carrying a broad range of product lines and dealing with companies in Europe, Asia, US and Canada. By the 80’s, Ringball’s product line extended to more than bearings, which led to a third name change – Ringball Corporation.

By the 90’s the two companies employed 150 people and had a national total of 200,000 square feet of warehouse and office space across Canada.

Continuing with the same method of growth capacity Ringball Corporation and Vanguard Steel Ltd are very well positioned to meet future demands of the Canadian industry with their wide range of products.

Bill Strathearn said “I joined Ringball in 1978 as an Inside Sales representative, then I moved to Outside Sales, then Divisional Manager then Vice President & General Manager. I know that this might sound strange coming from someone that has spent 36 years with the same company but I did have other jobs, some that lasted 3 months others that lasted 3-1/2 years but I can definitely tell you that this is the best company that I have ever worked for!”

Ringball brands

Ringball Corporation featured brands