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Bell-Horn History

Bell-Horn started the orthopedic industry in the United States. Today, Bell-Horn manufactures and distributes orthopedic anatomical supports, compression hosiery, foot-care products and diabetic footwear. We sell and ship both nationally and worldwide.

William H. Horn founded the company, which in its early years was known as William H. Horn and Brothers. At first, the firm made women's corsets. But the Horn Company switched to military work when the Civil War broke out in 1861. They made trusses for the army. After the Civil War ended in 1865, the Bell-Horn Co. expanded into making elastic back and knee braces and rib belts. In 1927, DuPont invented an elastic hosiery material and afterwards Bell-Horn began making some of the first compression hosiery.

In those days the Bell-Horn Factory at 451 N. 3rd St. C. in Philadelphia was a multi-story red brick plant, typical of 19th century factory buildings. The factory started out with a steam engine in the basement to run all the machinery upstairs. Later, they switched to electric power. Machines were bolted to thick oak-plank floors. There was a dumbwaiter for moving materials up and down, but no elevators.

Frank Horn, a great grandson of William H. Horn took over the company in 1930. The firm again supplied the military in World War II. On Frank Horn's office wall was a framed letter from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (supreme Allied commander in Europe) personally thanking Frank for the surgical hose the company sent him.

When Frank Horn's brother-in-law, Dick Bell, joined the firm in 1960, the name was changed to Bell-Horn. Frank retired in 1987. In 1999 the company was purchased from the Bell family and moved to Indianapolis.


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