We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last ninety-one years.
The founder of our company, George H. Bullard, was born in Worcester and attended Worcester, Massachusetts high schools. He held positions with the Norton Company and Bay State Abrasive Products until 1927 when he incorporated the Geo. H. Bullard Company in Framingham, Massachusetts. Mr. Bullard made his own ovens and presses, and somehow supervised the sales, production and management departments. At this time, only four names appeared on the payroll. The company moved to Westborough, Massachusetts in 1929, taking up rented quarters in part of a building which had originally served as a meat packing plant. Then in 1940, Bullard settled in its own location and could boast of ten employees. George H. Bullard demonstrated industriousness throughout his life. For example, when the company first began, he would solicit orders, return to the plant and aid his assistants including his son Don in the manufacturing process, then personally deliver the product. During the depression years, Bullard, like most companies struggled to survive. In 1961 George Bullard was given recognition by the Grinding Wheel Institute and by the Abrasive and Grain Association for devoting 40 years of enthusiastic service to the industry. George Bullard loved the sea and especially favored salt water fishing off of Cape Cod. In 1955 he moved to Daytona Beach, Florida. Mr. Bullard passed away in 1962.
Mr. Bullard's innovative designs made historic contributions to the abrasive industry. Designs such as the squared-nutted hub for grinding wheels, introduced the revolutionary concept of attaching a dedicated mounting device to the grinding wheel. That invention is known today as the mounted hub or “hubbed” wheel. He created the industry’s first system of color coding wheel labels based on their application, making product selection easier for the consumer. He invented the Type 29 shaped Blend-N-Flexible wheel that increased the contact area of the grinding surface on the work piece, and the incredible Sand-Away product that cuts, grinds and sands almost any material and can be used on several different tool types.
The late eighties saw the reins of ownership pass to Gifford Foley – a Vietnam veteran, decorated Green Beret, entrepreneur, and generally a James Bond sort of character. Foley served as the vice-president of marketing for Gibson guitars before joining the grinding wheel industry. We certainly enjoyed the Gibson connection as several of Bullard’s current management members are avid guitarists in addition to their passion for our products. There’s actually a beautiful parallel to be drawn between the sweet sound of a Gibson guitar and the “heavy metal” roar of a grinding wheel. In July of 1989, Foley met his untimely passing while performing a challenging acrobatic maneuver in his biplane over the Niagara Falls gorge. Heroes have a certain and indistinguishable swagger – that was Gifford Foley.
In December 1990 Richard Whyte, the CEO during Foley’s ownership, acquired Bullard Abrasives and under his stewardship began the process of building a state-of-the-art manufacturing business. Manufacturing and service to our country is deeply rooted in Whyte’s military background and executive positions with major manufacturing companies across the globe. Whyte believed that only first class quality would win the commitment of customers and that there would be no celebration or sustainability for second place.
In 2001, after enjoying a decade of growth, Bullard’s future was entrusted to Richard’s son Richard G. Whyte and close friend and industry veteran Craig Pickell. The key management team of Rick, Craig, and Executive Vice President of Manufacturing, Hector Rodriguez provides the leadership that drives the company today. Aware of the company’s heritage and deeply committed to the founding philosophy of George Bullard, the management team carries forward the commitment to innovation, quality, and product and service excellence so firmly established over ninety-one years ago.
In 2006 the company moved to its present Lincoln, Rhode Island location adding additional fully automated manufacturing presses and state-of-the-art mixing and molding rooms, as well as upgrades to existing computerized ovens. As 2008 was in full swing, Bullard's commitment to continuous improvements resulted in ISO 2008: 9001 Certification. With 2012 came a 24,000 square foot addition to the existing manufacturing and warehouse facility and the acquisition of Marvel Abrasive Products, LLC of Chicago, a leading manufacturer of resin fibre discs and surface conditioning products.
In the beginning of 2016, preparation began for the new ISO 2015 upgraded certification and at the close of 2017, the Bullard team of dedicated employees worked tirelessly on the transition of relocating Marvel Abrasives to our current facility to better serve our customers. As we move through 2018, we intend to stay in the forefront by continuing to design and manufacture the best abrasive wheel possible. As for Mr. Whyte, he's enjoying his retirement racing a seven-liter hydroplane in the vintage race boat series and spending quality time with his wife of sixty years.