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About Us

Clark & Osborne was founded in Indiana in 1940. Merrill Clark, a salesman of abrasive grinding wheels, and Gilbert Osborne, an independent manufacturers' representative, teamed up in 1944 and later added a third partner, Lyle Hyland who was a salesman of industrial supplies.

In the early days, Clark & Osborne specialized in the sale of die supplies, screw-machine tooling, grinding wheels, gages, air tools, and cutting tools. Some of the products sold back then were Abrasive diamond dressers, Everede boring bars, and Superior die sets. The three partners worked out of a spare bedroom in Gil Osborne's home with Frances Osborne, Gil’s wife, answering the phones, picking up the mail and keeping the books.

In the late 1940s, C&O moved to a two-room office in the Indianapolis suburb of Broad Ripple and hired a full-time office manager. The original three partners remained strictly manufacturers representatives, avoiding products that required them to become distributors.

During the 1950s the three original partners retired one-by-one and their places were taken by two sons and a son-in-law; Bob Clark, Dick Osborne and Joe Vanderfleet. It was under the second generation of partners that C&O teamed up with Dayton Progress. After a year or so with Dayton, C&O realized that they had been propelled "big time" into the die supply business by the strong and ever-increasing Dayton sales. It was clear to the C&O team that Dayton, under the dynamic leadership of Bob Gargrave and others, was going to be the leader in punches and dies. C&O concentrated heavily on Dayton, Superior, and other tool & die related lines and soon became among the nations top tool & die distributors.

Clark & Osborne went through many growing pains with non-standardized components, the reluctance of old-time tool makers to use "store-bought" die supplies, and constant competition but C&O eventually prevailed. As Dayton, Superior, and the other suppliers grew, so did C&0 by adding more people, inventory, and a location in Louisville called Clark & Osborne-Kentucky.

Over the years, C&O refocused on products for tool & die making, mold making, special machine building, jigs & fixtures, and EDM by teaming up with top suppliers like Belmont Equipment, Forward Industries, IEM, Kaller, Lamina, Oberg Carbide, Ready Technology, Unittool, and Wolverine.

In the 1970s to 1980s, the second generation of partners retired one-by-one and history repeated itself when, for a second time, two sons and a son-in-law took their places; Jack Clark, Gary Osborne and Dennis Paternoster. Since then, C&O has continued to prosper by increasing sales regularly, adding more office and warehouse space, adding more employees and new customers, increasing inventories, and adding new and more comprehensive product lines.

At present C&O is now transitioning into its forth generation of family ownership and has trained salespeople who travel to assist customers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. Skilled employees operate customer service, warehousing, accounting, management information systems, and personnel.