Minnesota Rubber began as the (Jim) Wilson Packing and Rubber
Company in 1941. Originally located in the Fawkes Building
on Hennepin Ave., its 12 employees made rubber parts for
military equipment. [Its first location was a garage.] The
company moved to the Walker Building (6516 Walker Street) in
1942, and then across the street to the Hamilton Building
(6509 Walker Street) in 1943, where it manufactured rubber
gaskets for the war effort. Wilson was known as “Grandpa”
Wilson to the kids.
On February 23, 1946 the company was purchased by George E.
Carlson and Paul Dennison and renamed the Minnesota Rubber
and Gasket Company. Dennison was elected president and
Carlson was Chairman of the Board. At the time it had nine
employees. The firm expanded to
produce parts for private manufacturers.
A new 10,000 square
foot plant was built in 1947-49 at 3601 Wooddale; other
buildings were added in 1953 (3630 Wooddale), 1959 (5810 W.
37th), and 1980 (3701 Alabama - the site of the old Lincoln
School). The company has been very innovative in making
changes to rubber products and to the way they were
manufactured, leading to the establishment of their own
Machine Design Center.
Dennison passed away on September 9, 1955, and George Carlson served as
President until 1957, when he was named Chairman of the
Board and his son, Robert W. Carlson, Sr., became president. In
June 1955, St. Louis Park resident Loren J. Sewall was
promoted from Chief Estimator to Factory Superintendent.
Sewall had been with the company since 1941.
December 1, 1957, the name of the company was changed to
Minnesota Rubber Company, reflecting the phasing out of
gasket production. That August there had been a three-week
strike of the International Association of Machinists #1037,
which affected 330 employees. The Union won a 12 cent per
In March 1958 the company came to the City Council with an urgent
need to buy property at the NE corner of 37th and Wooddale
(Collins 2nd addition, block 1). This had been the site of
the annual Fireman's Carnival, and 1962 was the last year
for that event because of the purchase. They also needed the land
rezoned from commercial to light industrial, and they
needed to vacate Yosemite adjacent to that tract. They
erected a new
building at a cost of $15,000.
The company prospered through the 1960s; in 1963 it
branched out to manufacture plastic parts, and in 1966 that
operation was moved to a new plant in Watertown, South
Dakota. Back in St. Louis Park, the plant suffered through a
strike of 300 workers that started on July 39, 1965. A
Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of Betty’s
Cafeteria was said to be attributed to the acrimonious
In 1966 the company purchased the old
Lincoln School for
$130,000, and the building was demolished shortly afterward.
In 1970 there were 500 employees.
On July 2, 1971, President Robert W. Carlson, Sr. was killed in a
plane crash, which also injured his father and his son,
Robert W. Carlson, Jr. Long-time employee Luke Sewall took
over as President until he retired in 1977. Chairman George
Carlson died in 1972. John Rentschler was named President in
1977, as Robert W. Carlson, Jr. came up the ranks and served
as CEO. The company continued to expand and to buy other
companies around the world.
In 1980 the office building at 3701 Alabama was built on the site
of the old Lincoln School. That building stands today.
In 1986 John Rentschler retired and was replaced by Jim
Lande. Lande became CEO in 1989.
Tool Products began in 1945 in the home of Al Zeiss. It
moved to Franklin and Cedar in South Minneapolis in the
early 1950s. After several expansions it moved to New Hope
in 1973. The company was purchased by Robert W. Carlson, Jr.
in 1975 and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minnesota
Rubber, with Carlson as President.
In the summer of 1985, Minnesota Rubber and Tool Products
were reorganized under one corporate identity: Quadion
Corporation. Each company retained its name but was
identified as “A Quadion Company.” The term “Quadion” is
derived from the four-lobed Quad-Ring seal. It also
represents four important attributes of the company:
“quality products, on-time delivery, superior customer
service, and cost-effective pricing.” The Tool Products
Division was sold in 1998.
A Quadion pamphlet described Minnesota Rubber as
"dedicated to the engineering, design, compounding and
manufacture of custom molded rubber components. With
expertise in horizontal and vertical injection molding, the
company has domestic manufacturing facilities in Minnesota,
Iowa, South Dakota [and] Reynosa, Mexico."
In 2004, with facilities in France and Singapore, the
company moved its headquarters to Plymouth and sold the old
plant to a developer. The Minnesota Rubber campus has been redeveloped into a residential development called
Village in the Park.
Also see Something in
This perspective is looking south on Wooddale. The
pictured buildings have been replaced by Village in the
Park. Photo courtesy Emory Anderson