The History of Speakman Company
Speakman Company was founded in 1869 by Allen Speakman and his brother Joseph. The business began as a small plumbing and steam fitting shop. In the 1870’s, Allen Speakman, then head of the company, found it a constant inconvenience to be unable to get the necessary plumbing supplies locally. He solved the problem by entering the wholesale plumbing supply business. In 1889, the Speakman Supply and Pipe Company officially incorporated and streamlined its name by shortening it to its present form, Speakman Company.
Between the two great wars, growth continued. In the years following the war the successful operation and expansion of the Company continued. Speakman’s entry into the safety equipment field was made with the production of our emergency shower for industrial plants. In 1968, Willard A. Speakman III became the company’s fourth President.
In 2001, the company launched the formation of three Speakman Autonomous Business Units for Plumbing Solutions, Safety Equipment and Shower Products. The Plumbing Solutions Business Unit supplies specified faucets (i.e. drinking faucet, metering faucet) and showers primarily to the commercial market. The Safety Equipment Business Unit supplies emergency eyewashes and showers and combination faucet eyewash products. The Shower Products Business Unit offers a wide range of showerheads, hand held showers and accessories for residential, hotel and commercial markets.
In 2002, Rodman Ward, a fifth generation family member, joined Speakman as its fifth President while Willard A. Speakman remained active as Chairman of the Board.
After 96 years at its primary location on 30th street in the City of Wilmington, Delaware, Speakman moved its’ operation to Twin Spans Business Park in New Castle, Delaware in 2003. The acknowledged leader in specification quality plumbing fittings and electronic faucets, Speakman pioneered water bearing safety equipment more than 50 years ago, and led the market transformation into modern-day showering over 75 years ago. Today, the Speakman faucets line is renowned for its quality, innovation and durability.
In 2010, Speakman Company appointed Rob Cook as its sixth president and first non-family member to lead the company in its 141 year history. Cook will direct the ongoing growth initiatives in Speakman’s heritage business in commercial plumbing and residential shower and bath. Rodman Ward III, who will continue as Speakman Company’s chairman.