Consisting of 10 employees, The Joseph Pollak Corporation was established in 1909 by Joseph Pollak as a tool and die shop in Boston, Mass.
During World War I, Pollak made tools used in the manufacturing of Curtiss-Wright aircraft engines. The company also entered the metal stamping business by producing parts for torpedoes and 75mm gunsights. By the end of the war, Pollak’s workforce had increased to 60 and the employees’ contributions to the war effort were significant.
In 1919, Pollak’s expansion started as the company entered the automotive sector, producing stamped automotive magneto parts. Assembly work also begins for the first time in the company’s history as Pollak begins producing automotive electrical plugs and sockets.
In 1922, the company begins to manufacture replacement lamps, license plate frames, and other stamped accessories, further reiterating its expansion into the automotive industry.
When World War II started in the late 1930s, the bulk of the company’s production shifted to supporting the war effort, either on prime or subcontract work. Electro-mechanical assemblies of various types were made for the Signal Corps and Army Ordnance. Pollak also made a decision to enter the aircraft electrical field, manufacturing switches used in the Martin PBM patrol bomber, the Bell P-39 fighter, b-24 bombers, and many other planes. The company also designed the remote control ignition system for the B-36 super-bomber and produced certain stampings for the atomic bomb project.
At the end of WWII, the company shifted its focus and concentrated on automotive switches, lamps, and accessories. The outside stamping and tool work was gradually discontinued.
When the Korean War broke out in the early 1950s, Pollak was called upon yet again for a wide variety of defense products. Switches were manufactured for the F-51 fighter planes and other aircraft. Many of the company’s automotive switches were manufactured for military vehicles, and production of civilian vehicle products continued. Following its progressive tradition, the company enters the electronics field in 1952, quickly becoming the largest product line for Pollak.
Fast-forward to the mid-1980s, Stoneridge, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of electrical and electronic systems, components and modules, quickly begins to diversify its product offerings through acquisitions. And in 1988, Stoneridge acquires the Joseph Pollak Corporation.
Following Stoneridge’s more than 30 years of ownership, in April 2019, Standard Motor Products formally announced the acquisition of the Pollak business from Stoneridge. The acquisition of the Pollak business is strategic for SMP® as the company seeks to grow its business in the original equipment, original equipment service, heavy duty, and commercial vehicle markets.
Well-known for its line of engine management products including sensors, switches, and connectors, incorporating the Pollak business into SMP also allows for product expansion and adds to SMP’s existing expertise in aftermarket distribution, product management, and service.
Since acquiring the business, SMP has added multiple product lines to the Pollak brand, including a wide range of relays, coolant level sensors, and oil pressure switches. Additional products will continue to be added as the company increases its focus on the OE and aftermarket industries in the heavy truck, off-highway, RV, towing, construction, and agricultural industries.