The Beginnings | Leatherneck

The Beginnings

Jack Seidler started Leatherneck Hardware in 1977 in a hole-in-the-wall garage near Danville Illinois. When his employer, long-time aircraft hardware manufacturer Allith-Prouty, closed their doors, he and a friend decided to open their own shop. They didn’t have much money and since the bank wouldn’t lend them any, they started with five employees building basic sliding hardware using old machines. From the beginning, their commitment was to build quality parts that would last.

In 1983 when Jack’s business partner retired, his new son-in-law Dale Carlton, joined the business. Dale was no stranger to the hands-on work required. When he wasn’t helping with his own family’s farm, Dale had worked in his Dad’s business doing steel fabrication and erection. He remembers starting work in the fab shop at about 9 years old, learning to weld, use a cutting torch and fabricate metal. It would be the beginning of his lifelong love of fabricating and eventually specialty hardware.

Dale took over the business in 1990 when Jack retired. With his steady guidance and vision for the future, the company grew from the original five employees in 1,000 sq. feet to a second location in 1985 of 5000 sq. feet, and after a few short years, the office space more than doubled to accommodate new growth. In the fall of 2006, the company’s rapid growth led to its biggest move yet -- to the existing facility, housing the office, manufacturing shop and warehouse space all under one roof. Since then, Leatherneck has continued to grow and expand their capabilities, investing in state-of-the-art equipment and technology, filling up their 57,000 sq. foot building, which seemed impossible to do when they first moved in.

In 2013, Dale’s son (and Jack’s grandson) Jordan Carlton officially joined the company as the CNC Department Manager. Like his Dad and Granddad, he has been helping in the family business for as long as he can remember. He would spend Saturdays with his Dad in the shop, doing plenty of whatever needed done – cutting material, grinding frames and machining basic parts. With an ongoing interest in technology and a degree in Entrepreneurship/Industrial Technology, the addition of Jordan to the Leatherneck team has brought process and product improvements, and our most innovative designs and finishes yet.