Our Tradition of Excellence
Began Over 125 Years Ago
In 1886, the forerunner of Tension Envelope opened in Kansas City, Missouri, as Berkowitz & Company. Named after its founder, William Berkowitz, the Company specialized in popular advertising novelties and business stationery. In 1894, the Company put into operation the first envelope machine west of the Mississippi River.
By 1901, the Company began to fully concentrate on envelopes, which were in great demand by turn-of-the-century businesses and organizations. The Company expanded facilities several times in the next few years to accommodate sales growth. William Berkowitz's two sons joined the firm in 1907, and the Company's first envelope patent was issued in 1909. Sons Walter and E.B. Berkowitz assumed management of the Company as the 1920's approached.
In the early 1920's, Walter Berkowitz discovered new high-speed envelope folding machinery that had been developed in Germany. The machines were adjustable to produce a variety of sizes and styles of envelopes on the same equipment, something that could not be done before. The Company purchased North American distribution rights and brought the equipment into the United States, revolutionizing the American envelope industry.
After expanding operations throughout the Midwest, the Company created the first in-house, full-time art department in the envelope industry – established in 1932 to create custom-tailored envelope designs for customers.
In 1937, the Company acquired another pioneer in the U.S. envelope industry, the Tension Envelope Company of Brooklyn, New York. In 1944, all of the Berkowitz Envelope manufacturing and sales operations were consolidated under the widely recognized name of Tension Envelope Corporation. For more of the story, visit How Tension Got Its Name.
In 1962, Bert Berkley, grandson of the Company's founder, became President and CEO of Tension. In 1988, Bill Berkley, great grandson of the founder, became President and CEO. Bert Berkley continued as Chairman of the Board.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Tension Envelope expanded into the international marketplace with affiliated manufacturing facilities and fully-owned plants in the Pacific Rim.
Third and fourth generation descendants
of the Company founder. Left to right:
Bill Berkley, President & CEO
Bert Berkley, Chairman of the Board
Dick Berkley, Secretary & Treasurer
Our manufacturing plant in Temecula, CA
with sales/service offices in Southern
and Northern California.