Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Cenco Instruments Corp. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Cenco Instruments Corp.

List of Deals

Cenco Incorporated was founded in September 1948 to acquire the entire stock of Central Scientific Company, which was founded in 1888 as the Central School Supply House. In February 1951 Cenco bought Refinery Supply Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the company name was changed to Cenco Instruments Corporation in November 1957. The name Cenco Incorporated was adopted years later, in 1972.

Cenco manufactured and distributed a wide variety of technologically oriented products and services, such as materials-testing equipment, mobile testing laboratories, laboratory and precision glassware, custom springs, geophysical instruments, and high-vacuum components. In the 1960s Cenco acquired a large number of companies that expanded its technological product base and brought it into the healthcare, pollution abatement, and educational equipment industries.

In 1963 Cenco acquired Clinton-Misco Corporation, Phoenix Precision Instrument Company, and the Virtis Company. It added Vacuum Research Corporation in 1964 and bought five companies in 1965: Lab Holding Company, Doerr Glass Company, Lab Glass Company of Tennessee, Standard X-Ray Company of Chicago, and Chemsol, Incorporated.

In 1966 Cenco expanded beyond technology to acquire Collegiate Cap & Gown Company. It bought Eye Gate House of Jamaica, New York, a producer of audio-visual equipment, in 1967. Later that year, it expanded into the healthcare industry by purchasing four companies: Hospital Engineering Company, Inter-Mountain Hospital Planning & Engineering Company, El Tredora Incorporated, and America Western. In October 1967 it added Jackes-Evans Manufacturing Company to its holdings.

During the remainder of the decade, Cenco continued to develop as a conglomerate. In 1968 alone, it added Wilmad Glass Company of Buena, New Jersey, Caribbean Medical Supply of Miami, Florida, General Hospital of Lakewood Corporation, Bellwood General Hospital, Bellflower Holdings Corporation, Hospital Equipment Corporation, and Lakewood Buildings Corporation. It repeated this aggressive buying in 1969 by adding Florida Manor, a nursing home in Orlando, Florida, Calumet Coach Company of Chicago, Superior Sleeprite Corporation, the Pavillion, a fifteen-story hospital and apartment facility in Houston, Broward Convalescent Home Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Maple Manor and Pine Manor, nursing homes located in Wisconsin and Michigan, Industrial Wastes Incorporated and Limco, Incorporated of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Fifth Avenue General Hospital of Huntsville, Alabama, Women's Hospital of Las Vegas, and lastly, S-P Drug Company of Brooklyn, New York, a distributor of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Cenco went on a buying spree in 1979, adding J. Lewis Small Company of Elwood, Indiana, a maker of class rings and jewelry, as well as Liberty-Tomlen Associates, Tomlen Manufacturing Corporation, Bradford Mills, Incorporated, and Royalty Manufacturing Company.

In November 1971 it bought Medical Enterprises Diversified, John B. Daniel Incorporated, N.H. Management Corporation, Levine Company, Almo Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Corporation, Todd Equipment Leasing, Beaver Furniture Company, and Dickson Company.

Cenco added twelve businesses to its holdings in 1972: Americana Nursing Centers, Health Foods Incorporated, Seelect Dietary Products, Marco Systems, MATS Companies, Imperial Camera Corporation, Waste Industries, Medical Industries group of Philip Morris, Unigage Instruments Corporation, Life Laboratories, Sona Food Products, and Arex Incorporated.

In 1972 the company changed its name from Cenco Instruments to Cenco Incorporated to better represent its broad-based holdings. Sales for Cenco had reached $239.8 million with net income of $12.3 million by 1972, and the company employed 8,327.

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