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Maze Nails celebrates 175 years

When it comes to running a family business, the six generations of Maze descendants have had 175 years of practice. Founded in 1848 by Irish immigrant Samuel Nesbitt Maze, Maze Nails began out of a need for a better solution. “My great-great-grandfather came to America and started working as a masonry contractor,” said Roelif Loveland, President of Maze Nails. “When the Illinois and Michigan Canal opened up and gave a direct route to Chicago from Peru, he opened Maze Lumber right along the river so that he could sell Wisconsin white pine lumber to local residents.

In the late 1800’s, Maze Lumber was selling market-standard nails with their lumber. But when customers came back complaining that the nails were rusting and the cedar shingle roofs of their homes were blowing off, Samuel’s son Walter purchased a single nail machine and the yard began making their own. Instead of making them out of steel, which quickly rusted, Walter used pure zinc for the nails. The Peru area was a huge smelter of zinc at the time, so accessing the raw zinc for the nails was easy. The result was rust-proof nails that dependably kept Maze Lumber’s cedar shingles on the roofs of their customers’ homes.

It wasn’t long before the nails made at Maze Lumber became known to other local lumber yards – and they asked Maze to sell them some of their production. And so the small nail machine purchased for a part-time solution started running full-time. More machines were soon added, evolving into the largest specialty manufacturer in the country with over 2,800 different items including trim nails, collated stick nails and wire and plastic collated nails.

Maze Nails celebrates 175 years

Maze now employs over 80 people and claims the title of America’s premier specialty nail maker. “We started very small and built from there,” Roelif said. “We had just a handful of employees at the time, and made only one or two types of nails.” When you call us, you always get a live, educated salesperson. Maze Nails is known as the experts in the nail world. “We are basically the last man standing in the specialty nail business,” Roelif said. “Many other companies thought they could compete by matching the import prices, which was their downfall. You have to drive your business with the quality of your products, speedy delivery times, and with a wide variety.”

At Maze, we know our people are the key to our continued success and longevity. Our people make us the industry leader.

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