HISTORY

Explore our origins, discover our experience, and let Lexco Cable’s
history help inspire your company’s future.

THE LEXCO CABLE STORY

More than 60 years ago, Lexco started as a small-scale hardware
    and bicycle shop on Chicago's west side. Now a nationwide
       industry leader, our products provide safety, security, and
         reliability in the daily lives of people around the world.

Photo Collage of Harold Karbin and Ray Karbin, Founders of Lexco Cable
THE FOUNDATIONAL YEARS

When Lexco Cable began in 1952, our two founders had a simple goal: to build a better life for themselves and their families. That same year, Harold Karbin returned from the Korean War to discover his brother, Ray, had taken Harold's hardware and automotive supplies out of storage to open a stand at Chicago's famous Maxwell Street Market. Harold joined his brother, and the two began selling hardware goods and automotive services at what was then the largest open-air market in the country.

The budding entrepreneurs found increasing success with their business, and the next year rented a storefront space inside Chicago's Lexington Theatre. The brothers hung a sign in the window reading, Karbin Hardware & Automotive, and continued serving their appreciative former Maxwell Street patrons and welcoming new customers.

In 1956, the bicycle maker, Schwinn, approached Harold and Ray with an offer to open up a franchise and sell bicycles alongside their other products. The brothers, recognizing the offer held low risk and the potential for sizable reward, accepted and promptly renamed their storefront; Karbin Hardware, Automotive, & Bicycle.

Lexcocable History Lexflex 3 1
A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE

The Karbins' new foray into bicycles could not have come at a more opportune moment. Mere months after accepting Schwinn's offer, America found itself in the sudden grips of a bicycle craze with Chicago firmly at the center. The pair decided to drop their hardware and automotive offering and focus their efforts on bicycles.

In 1962, the brothers moved from the west side of Chicago to the city's north side, setting up shop in a new location on Bryn Mawr Avenue. Eventually, the pair decided to drop their hardware and automotive offering and redouble their efforts in the booming bicycle business. Never ones to rest on their success, Harold and Ray began to tinker with new ideas for the cycling industry, including the creation of custom-made bicycles for disabled children to use inside the local area hospitals At this time Lexco was doing business as Lex Supply.

But it was the idea of using plastic coated wire rope for manufacturing bike locks that would change the course of the company. While it may seem commonplace now, the thought was nothing short of revolutionary at the time. Before coated cable locks, heavy chain links were used to secure bikes and would often cause loud, rattling noises while riding in addition to causing chipped paint, scratches, and dents. The use of coated cable was safer and helped maintain the quality and overall durability of customer bicycles. The brothers would even coat the cables in different colors to match the aesthetics of a given bike to the delight of their customers.

Photo Collage of Lexco Cable 1980s Catalog Covers Photo Collage of Lexco Cable 1980s Catalog Covers
Lexco Building
Photo Collage of Lexco Cable Resources
LEXCO CABLE, ESTABLISHED

In May of 1974, the company's continuing growth prompted the formation of K.N.M Industries, which today does business as Lexco Cable. Only a few short years later, in March of 1978, Harold's son, Neal Karbin, joined the company and convinced his father that the company's focus should be on wire rope and cable manufacturing. The Karbin's began selling cable to industries outside of the bicycle market, expanding their services to jumper cable manufacturers, retail clothing stores to secure expensive garments, and more. In 1979, Neal, looking to support a growing family, took out an advertisement for the company in the Green Book. The results from the ad were almost immediate as sales quickly began to surge, and the company started a rapid expansion to serve a growing variety of industries.

The business was moved to a new, larger facility on Belmont Avenue and renamed Lexco Cable, an homage to the company's original location inside Chicago's Lexington Theatre. The Karbin's invested in new equipment, including crimping machines and cable extruders, and began manufacturing an increasing number of wire rope products. In 2003, Lexco Cable made the final move to its current facility in the northwest Chicago village of Norridge complete with substantial square footage, additional warehousing, and updated production lines.

Today, Lexco Cable makes products for military, industrial, commercial, and mining applications, as well as use in fencing, railroads, bridges, and more. Now in its third generation of family ownership with David Karbin, Harold's grandson, Lexco Cable continues to lead the way in innovation and remains committed to creating the wire rope assemblies and cable products that enhance companies and advance industries.

LexFlex Red Wire Rope
LEXCO CABLE’S LEADERSHIP
Neal Karbin and David Karbin, Owners

NEAL KARBIN PRESIDENT

The second generation of family leaders, Neal proudly manages Lexco Cable.

DAVID KARBIN
VICE PRESIDENT

The third generation of family leadership, David skillfully manages Lexco Cable.

LexFlex Blue Wire Rope
Lex Supply (2)
Lex Logo (1)
Lexco Cable Logo Iteration 1
Lexco Cable Logo Iteration 2
Current Lexco Cable Logo
Lexco at Maxwell Street Market

MAXWELL STREET MARKET

Harold and Ray Karbin began their business in Chicago’s open-air market.

Photo of Historic Lexington Theatre in Chicago IL

LEXINGTON THEATRE

The business moved to a more permanent location in the Lexington Theatre.

Schwinn Bicycle

SCHWINN BICYCLES

The Karbin’s are approached with a fortuitous offer by bicycle maker, Schwinn.

Coated Wire Rope Bicycle Locks

BUSINESS INNOVATORS

Harold and Ray hit upon the idea of using coated wire rope for bicycle locks.

Cropped Photo of Lexco Cable Articles of Incorporation

incorporation

On May 7th, 1974, the company was renamed and incorporated as Lexco Cable.

Covers of Past Lexco Cable Catalog

EARLY EXCELLENCE

As sales surge, Lexco Cable makes its first expansion to a larger facility on Belmont Ave.

Photo of Lexco Cable's Building in Norridge IL

MODERN EXPANSION

Lexco Cable’s rapid growth necessitates a second move to its facility in Norridge, IL.

Moving Palette Via Forklift of Lexco Cable Products

INDUSTRY LEADER

Lexco Cable leads the way in providing top-quality wire rope and cable solutions.

LEXCO CABLE:
YOUR WIRE ROPE ASSEMBLY EXPERTS

For over 40 years, we have served nearly every industry with top-quality wire rope and cable solutions. Whether you've been working with wire rope for years, require a highly specialized solution, or are still searching for what you need, we can help.