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 Business > Manufacturing

2319 23rd Avenue | Rockford, IL 61125 | www.carlsoncapitol.net

The metal self-balancing support, recognized as the most dependable closure of its kind in the world, was invented in the 1960s for stereo turntables, around the same time Carlson Capitol’s owner, Roger Kjellstrom, graduated from college and began working full-time at his father’s shop, Capitol Tool & Die Works. Kjellstrom knew from a young age he would one day join his dad’s business, founded in 1945. His new degree in marketing and sales told him that the family’s future success would hinge on finding a product line to market. The answer arrived in 1981 with the purchase of W.G. Carlson & Sons, sole manufacturer of the lid support. The firms merged and all operations moved to W.G. Carlson’s plant on 23rd Avenue.

Three years later, the bottom dropped out of the stereo market with the arrival of eight-tracks and cassettes. Fortunately, this is when the US Consumer Products Safety Commission entered the picture. “They got a hold of us and wanted to test our product because they were having some real issues with toy boxes slamming shut,” explains Kjellstrom. “Everything passed and from the ’80s to today they recommend our product.”

What makes Carlson Capitol’s lid support uniquely strong is its use of eight different spring tensions, ranging from 20-inch to 140-inch pounds. “It counter balances the lid with a regular hinge so wherever you release the lid it stays; it will not drop, even over time,” says Kjellstrom. Industry uses include furniture such as blanket and cedar chests, ottomans and school desks. With 16 million sold, Carlson Capitol prides itself on staying true to its roots. Both the foreman and office secretary have been with the company since the early days and every effort is made to use local vendors.