In 1952, the “Acme Pak” Company was formed to fill a need to package precision instruments. After World War II, it was determined that over 40 percent of war materials shipped overseas were damaged or rendered useless due to improper packaging.
Originally formed as a division of Acme Pak, the first Anvil cases were designed for traveling musicians who, in the mid 1950′s, turned to electric instruments and sound systems, which were far more prone to damage in transit than their acoustic predecessors.
Anvil quickly became, and still is today, the number one name in protection for musicians on the go.
Founded by the Vallas Family, Anvil quickly became synonymous with traveling musicians due to its proximity to the Los Angeles area and its timing with the birth of Rock & Roll. Having experienced tremendous growth, the Vallasses decided the timing was right to sell the company and venture into new areas for themselves. In 1976 Wayne Thompson, a CPA, whose background provided him with the knowledge to continue to grow the company, purchased Anvil. Expanding into markets such as video, aerospace, film, military and commercial applications. Thompson solidly positioned Anvil as the industry leader. In 1988 Anvil was sold to ZERO Corporation, a public company specializing in packaging of all types for the electronics industry. At first an ideal fit, Anvil became less than a true fit in the mid 90′s when the business began to involve much more custom manufacturing and fewer standard cases. In May 1996, The Calzone Case Company purchased Anvil Cases. Led by founder and president Joe Calzone, the Anvil Case Division began its resurgence as the acknowledged world leader. Combined with the three Calzone manufacturing facilities throughout the USA, the Calzone/Anvil team represents the largest fabricated case manufacturer in the world.
Anvil products are sold throughout the Country and around the World. Our design and sales staff is the largest and most experienced in the industry. Anvil’s dedication to Customer Service and Satisfaction and its nationwide network of Sales Representatives allow Anvil to custom design cases to meet virtually any requirement or deadline.
From heavy-duty transit to lightweight carrying cases, Anvil manufactures a comprehensive line of cases to meet the demands of the many markets it serves.
Evolution of the Transportable Container
For over 50 years, Anvil Cases has enjoyed strong brand recognition and leadership by manufacturing the finest hard-shell cases in the world. In fact, Anvil Cases have become the standard by which all other cases are measured. The now revered Anvil name was conceived for its strength and resilience. Where did the company gain such valuable industry knowledge? Believe it of not, Anvil Cases had its origin in the birth of the humble box that has evolved throughout time info the sophisticated shipping containers of today.
Long before the invention of the wheel or fire, our cave-dwelling ancestors of the Cro-Magnon era stored and preserved their food (the first precious cargo of man) in small portable stone chests known as “abazars,” Prior to the abazar, food was kept and carried in sheepskin pouches wrapped in fresh vegetation. Abazars, however, preserved food more effectively, these primitive boxes allowed food to be kept fresh for longer periods of time. Carved out of stone with a primitive lid, abazars had no handles and were transported from one cave to another by two females from the same family tribe.
In Biblical times the box played a vital role in transporting and protecting the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments across the desert. Without realizing it, Moses and the Israelites created the first transportable padded box. It was known as “The Box of God” that later became what we know as a Tabernacle.
Remember the story of the Trojan Horse? Thirty two hundred years ago, the Greeks, under the cover of night, transported a wooden horse packed in seven mammoth crates to the gates of Troy. Once they uncrated the pieces and assembled the horse, they fled. The duped citizens of Troy mistook the giant wooden horse as a gift and promptly hauled it within their impenetrable city walls. That night, the Greeks, hiding inside the horse, rose from its belly and sacked the city that had taken them in.
Boxes also played a vital role in early Egypt. Egyptian traders stored and transported precious oils in small wooden handcrafted boxes inlaid with gold and precious gems created by sarcophagus builder Nebukate Sirrus. These oils that were transported up and down the Nile later became the core foundation for the first cosmetics known to man.
The mighty Roman Empire under the dynasty of Augustus Caesar used similar boxes to carry spices and tons of treasure back from conquered territories and countries on their never ending quest for world domination.
The first real lightweight boxes were construded out of bamboo. Developed by the Chinese in 427 BC, these boxes were very tough and, when insulated, became weather resistant. Like the Romans and the Egyptians, the Chinese also used their bamboo boxes to store everything from valuable spices and silks to precious gemstones and family ancestors.
The Christians, after the death of Christ, constructed a small wooden box to protect the Holy Grail, the Chalice from which Christ drank. The dawn of the Middle Ages saw the pillaging of the Crusades and thousands of plundered artifacts that needed to be hauled back to the Holy Roman Empire. King Charlemagne developed makeshift boxes on carts pulled by donkeys and on the backs of slaves captured in Byzantium. Proving once again, necessity becomes the mother of all invention.
It was really after the devastating Black Plague had run its course that shipping containers really took a giant step toward moving into the spotlight of mainstream industry and commerce. Masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Vinci’s great works of art from the Italian Renaissance were painstakingly packed in straw that was then wrapped in layers of fabric, sealed in wooden crates and shipped from one museum and benefactor to another, A tradition that is used to this day.
As international trade routes grew in the new world, so did piracy. To escape the clutches of these highwaymen of the seas, merchants developed larger and quicker sailing vessels to outrun these thieves. One fierce band of pirates lead by the infamous Black Beard were so successful in terrorizing the Caribbean in the later half of the 16th century that military frigates were employed to escort commercial vessels containing precious cargo. To Black Beard’s further dismay, even his bounty was not immune to mother nature. Countless times unpredictable Gulf storms sent a great percentage of his looted treasures to Davie Jones’ Locker. Counteracting this, Black Beard developed locked metal strong boxes with a foot and a half of cork affixed to their sides. This kept the box buoyant if the ship perished. To keep the cargo from drifting away, however, a length of hefty rope was tied to an iron ring attached to the lid. With the use of a few lifeboats, these treasure chests were towed to the nearest island where the gold was buried and the treasure map was born.
The Baroque Era witnessed another industry first accredited directly to the box with the creation of a mass produced wooden case. Although bulky and crude, this more refined case allowed musicians to protect and transport their musical instruments quickly and effortlessly. Thus creating the first traveling minstrel shows, roadies, groupies and road cases known to man.
It was in late 18th century Italy, that we first see the introduction of the first reinforced transportable musical instrument case with padding. Legendary Italian violinist, Niccolo Paganini, had his prized violin smashed by a jealous lover. Paganini took the violin, in pieces, back to its maker, Antonio Stradivarius, who, after repairing it, recommended to the violinist that his friends, master cabinet makers, Frederico and Sasha Anvila, build him a very special case with a lock for protecting his valuable instrument against theft.
The Anvila brothers were superb cabinetmakers renowned not only throughout the city of Cremora but across all of Italy. Through some trial and error, the brothers constructed a hard-shell reinforced wooden and padded violin case for the violinist with their personal guarantee (creating the first case warranty) that the case could withstand the rage of any jealous lover. As a consequence, the Anvila Brothers business and reputation flourished, Needless to say this started a chain of events that would have fantastic results in the centuries to come!
It was in Britain during the Victorian Era and the Industrial Revolution that true case manufacturing was concieved. With the invention of the modern camera, London case manufacturer, Isambard Johnson & Sons began production on sophistocated mahogany and brass boxes padded with rich purple velvet that became their trademark. These boxes were used to transport delicate equipment such as microscopes and cameras, once again creating the basic tools needed to start a new industry: The film industry.
Lionel Richardson specialized in making heavy-duty wooden crates in Massachusetts. In 1863, he was contracted by General Ulysses S. Grant, the head of the Union Army, to build wooden crates for food and medical supplies to be shipped to the front lines during the Civil War. The problem was that Richardson built the containers so well it took six soldiers with crowbars over thirty minutes to open the crates. Needless to say, this was a major set back and turning point for the South!
The next generation of hard-shell containers was made out of a combination of fiberglass and plastic. Thomas McIntyre, their inventor, also made them extremely weather resistant. The first pair was delivered to Robert Oppenhiemer, who oversaw the Manhattan Project, in 1945 at Los Alamos. The containers were built to house the detonators that were later flown to the Pacific and fitted to the two A-bombs, “Fat Man” and “Little Boy.”
In 1950 case production took a giant leap in technological innovation and sophistication when the first case was built to withstand sub-zero temperatures. A secret science expedition explored Antarctica that spring searching for oil under the ice surface. Most scientific equipment at that time could not withstand sub-zero temperatures, and so this special case, known only as “SC-22″ (Science Case 22) was designed and constructed to protect these instruments from these inhospitable temperatures.
It was pure innovation in 1952 that the Anvil Case Company yet again started a revolution that created an industry that changed the world. Hail, hail rock n’ roll! Without Anvil’s help, this fledgling movement would not have spread as rapidly as it did. Anvil cases allowed the transport of vital equipment and instruments to concert venues worldwide. From the early 1960s to the present, Anvil has dominated the case market by manufacturing quality hardened, flush riveted cases that have become an industry hallmark.
It was during the dawn of the 70s that Anvil created the ATA (Air Transport Association) case for the travelling musician, again reinventing an industry. While most of Anvil’s orders center on standard guitar and drum cases, the company did not hesitate to build cases for air-conditioners positioned under stages and toolboxes for the roadies who constructed the stages.
Through the years Anvil has become known worldwide as “the best protection your money can buy.” There is not a single arena of industry that Anvil does not serve. For instance, it built the first case for an orbiting satellite, and cases to house delicate medical equipment that demanded stringent, hermetically sealed weatherproofing. When the New York Yankees approached Anvil to build a safe with 60 lockable boxes that would hold the team’s valuable championship rings, Anvil delivered. Industry giants from film, corporate America and the U.S. Military have been Anvil’s loyal clients for decades.
For over half a century, Anvil has synthesized 10,000 years of knowledge into their family of cases. No matter where you go in time, the craftsmanship in every case built can be traced back to the origins of the humble Abazar. Now for a peek under the tent to the future, Anvil is at the forefront of developing new, lighter, and stronger materials for the 21st century. It is this commitment to innovation joined with Anvil’s superior products that will continue to protect life’s special moments, unforgettable events and lasting memories. It is for that reason, Anvil will continue making history… instead of becoming it.
*Any similarities to people living or dead is purely coincidental There may have been some artistic liberties taken in the telling of this epic tale.