Century of Innovation
1893, while attending the World's Columbian Exposition, Michael
J. O’Kelly was introduced to the principle of pneumatic
tube delivery. In 1904, the Belfast Northern Ireland native
formed Kelly Cash and Package Company to service Montgomery
Ward and Sears & Roebuck Company with a pneumatic tube
delivery system custom designed to expedite internal order
delivery for their massive catalog operations.
early 1920’s, Michael J. O’Kelly’s sons,
Walter and Raymond Kelly, expanded the business by adding
notable customers such as J.C. Penny and used the account
as a springboard into other businesses and industries. Steel
mills became important users of Kelly Systems for transporting
crucial molten iron and steel samples to quality control labs
for testing. The booming railroad industry also became a prime
customer target in keeping track of its freight cars in massive
Chicago-area switching yards.
the business was incorporated as Kelly Systems, Inc. and Walter
and Raymond Kelly became co-owners with their father. In the
late 1940’s and into the 50’s, Kelly Systems became
known throughout the railroad industry as the standard for
tube delivery systems. These systems often spanned miles throughout
railroad yards. They were used to transport way bills from
the train conductor in the caboose to the administrative offices
for sorting and car-to-track instructions. Every major railroad
yard throughout the United States had a KellyTube System.
1960’s, market expansion was primarily focused on hospitals
and healthcare as well as trucking and warehouse distribution.
In 1965, M. J. O’Kelly passed away and the ownership
succeeded to Raymond and Walter Kelly.
1970’s and 80’s, Kelly marketing and selling efforts
focused on the burgeoning hospital and healthcare markets,
steel mills and large trucking and warehouse operations. Throughout
the years, as the customer base changed, due to fluctuating
market trends, Kelly designed and built custom systems to
meet the needs of specific industries. During the 1990’s,
emphasis was on sample conveying for food processors &
distributors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Other
targeted markets included the electronics industry, automobile
manufacturers and dealers, courthouses and race tracks.
Kelly entered the new century, it realized the industry demand
for a delivery system to transfer cash for security purposes.
The company focused on this need and began developing cash-secure
systems that, to this day, are integral in the Kelly product
mix. Kelly today recognizes the need to change with-the-times
and employs an active and robust new product development program
to meet changing product and market demands.
two O’Kelly grandsons, Walter M, Kelly , and Michael
J. Kelly, are third generation owners and contine to operate
the company and maintain its reputation as a worldwide leader.
continues to put new ideas to work in moving liquid and solid
materials as it has for 100 years and uses its proud heritage
as fuel for its continuing success and journey into the future.