Special to the Register
Gainesville Daily Register
Due to the entrepreneurial efforts of Mr. Fred Weber, which began in the late 1920’s under the name of Weber Cabinet and Furniture, Weber Aircraft arose in 1941 in response to a much needed US manufacturing effort generated by the demands of World War II. From its birth in 1941, and up until 1951, Weber Aircraft was based along with its parent company Weber Cabinet and Furniture in Los Angeles, California.
In 1951, the air-craft division of Weber Cabinet and Furniture moved to Burbank, California, and became known as Weber Aircraft Corporation. From 1951 to 1964, and from its single location in Burbank Weber Aircraft maintained a stable work force and pros-pered in its role as a supplier of aircraft interior components for both military and commercial use.
In 1965, Mr Weber sold Weber Aircraft to a New Jersey based firm by the name of Walter Kidde & Company, Inc. As a division of Kidde, Weber Aircraft continued to grow in product lines, markets, and employees. The result of this growth caused Kidde to seek an additional location for Weber Aircraft’s operations.
In October, 1967, Weber Aircraft opened a new manufacturing facility in Gainesville, Texas. According to Weber historians one of the key factors in Kidde choosing Gainesville as a location to relocate Weber Aircraft was the reputation of the local Gainesville population for having a deep rooted and very solid work ethic.
During Weber Aircraft’s 45 years of operation in both California and Texas, the company's general product line was predominately aircraft interior components to include passenger seats, crew seats, military ejection seats, (over 500 successful pilot ejections without a failure), galleys, lavatory compartments, oxygen systems, engine power packs, cargo floor systems, and aircraft air stairs.
From its opening in 1967, the Gainesville Division of Weber Aircraft manufactured seats, galleys, food service carts, ovens, and coffee makers for many different airlines-both U.S. based and foreign carriers. Weber Gainesville customers include Delta, American, United, Singapore, Korean, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, South African Airways, Ryan Air and easyJet just to name a few.
In 1987 Weber Aircraft became Weber Aircraft, Inc. after a UK based company by the name of Hanson Industries acquired Weber from Kidde, Inc. Under Hanson’s direction Weber Aircraft Inc continued to prosper with the ever expanding global airline industry.
In November of 1992 Weber Aircraft, Inc. became a subsidiary of Zodiac Aerospace; a French based company whose roots in the aerospace industry were originally developed beginning in 1896. Through Zodiac’s guidance the Gainesville division of Weber Aircraft was revised to focus on one primary airline industry product; that being commercial aircraft passenger seating.
In August, 2001, Zodiac merged the Fullerton, California division of Weber Aircraft with another Zodiac company by the name of MAG Aerospace Industries, Inc. At the same time Weber Aircraft Inc. became known as Weber Aircraft LP until 2008, at which time Zodiac changed Weber’s name to Weber Aircraft LLC.
Weber is proud of the reputation it has attained and holds with its customers who are located throughout the world. This reputation has been built by Weber and its employees’ ability to meet its customers' requirements in engineering and manufacturing concepts, performance, quality, delivery, and after sale service.
As Weber looks into the future, it sees a vast requirement for its products and ser-vices in the expanding commercial markets. As such Weber looks forward to carrying the Zodiac and Weber name forward in a way that honors the two company’s historic pasts, as well as the dedication Zodiac and Weber has always had at providing the most modern and up to date equipment possible to the commercial airline industry.