Byrne & Schaefer Logo Byrne & Schaefer, Inc. - a premier manufacturer of industrial grade electrical components and assemblies


Manufacturing success since 1899

The Byrne & Schaefer story starts nearly 120 years ago, when Joseph Schaefer traveled back to his native Germany to retrieve a wire resistor cement formula. Today that formula remains in use, virtually unchanged. Joseph founded Schaefer Brothers in 1899, and established a rheostat manufacturing shop at 1059 West 11th Street in Chicago.

Schaefer Brothers was at the forefront of the technical revolution in the early 20th century. Their innovative rheostats powered companies such as the Blue Valley Creamery, which helped transform the dairy industry. In 1917, they built the charging panels and special rheostats for the charging stations of Commonwealth Edison’s innovative electric truck service, which remained in operation for 30 years.

Byrne & Company was founded in 1949 by John “Jack” Byrne with the goal of providing premier service to industry and transportation.  The company represented key manufacturers for clients such as U.S. Steel, LTV, and Youngstown Sheet & Tube. It also provided parts for major municipal transit systems such as Muni in San Francisco and Atlanta’s MARTA.

The two companies merged in 1985 to form Byrne & Schaefer, Inc., combining generations of expertise in electrical manufacturing and service. For over 25 years, Byrne & Schaefer has provided industry leaders with custom products and solutions of the highest quality in a fraction of the time they could be produced elsewhere. 

Today, Byrne & Schaefer, Inc. continues the tradition of unparalleled service and innovation in industrial electrical solutions. We are constantly creating new products to meet the changing needs of our clients, yet we still manufacture our 252-G foot pedal rheostats the same way we have since 1952.

Rheostat ca. 1920
A Schaefer Bros. rheostat ca. 1920

 And yes, we are still family owned by Jack’s son Tim Byrne. We are proud to be a small American company that serves the needs of clients small and large through world class engineering, unmatched speed to market, and superior customer service.