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A 150-Year Legacy Forged Through Persistence, Innovation and Collaboration

Topics: News

Posted on April 2, 2024
3 minute read

The world would be a dustier and more dangerous place without the knowledge base, skills, experience and innovative solutions that Sly, LLC has contributed to the industry. Sly has invented, designed and fabricated air pollution control equipment and systems for dust mitigation and gaseous emissions, partnering with thousands of companies in dozens of countries across the globe.


This year marks Sly's 150th anniversary of operations. Few companies in America can claim the distinction of not simply surviving, but thriving through 150 years of history. Sly is among these rarities, with one researcher calculating that just 0.5% of all businesses reach the 100-year mark, much less an additional 50 years of continuous operations.

This milestone caps a journey that began in an era of transformative change and has continued through economic upheavals, technological advancements and an evolving manufacturing landscape.


From pragmatism to precision: Sly’s founding years

When William Wilfred Sly founded Sly in 1874, the United States emerged from the Civil War and stepped into rapid industrialization and expansion. This era, known as the Second Industrial Revolution, was markedly different from the First Industrial Revolution, which scholars say was characterized by a lack of scientific understanding.

The Second Industrial Revolution, from 1870 to 1914, was grounded in the deliberate application of scientific principles. It saw the genesis of a more profound understanding of natural processes, leading to rapid improvements in quality and efficiency and the birth of entirely new industries.

The formation of a dedicated business model

Sly’s foundation during this pivotal time placed it at the heart of industrial transformation. Initially focused on manufacturing foundry equipment, Sly’s firsthand experience with dusty environments within manufacturing facilities led to a pioneering shift towards industrial dust collection and air pollution control solutions.

In fact, in 1902, Sly was awarded the first U.S. patent for a cloth-style dust collector, marking the start of the company’s unique focus on emissions control technology. It was the first of many patents and technological innovations through the years.

Overcoming adversity

Sly's journey has not been without its share of challenges. In 1920, tragedy struck when Wilfred C. Sly and George K. Fanner were gunned down during a robbery by members of the "Mayfield Rd. Mob" in a payroll holdup. This event entered Sly into the annals of Cleveland's history.

Additionally, in 1974, the company faced a significant setback when the plant on Train Ave in Cleveland caught fire, which was attributed to a union dispute. Despite these adversities, Sly demonstrated remarkable resilience, weathering economic downturns, market fluctuations, and personal hardships, emerging stronger after each trial and maintaining its position as a leader in emissions control technology.

A beacon of innovation

Throughout its illustrious history, Sly has been at the forefront of environmental technology, pioneering cutting-edge solutions to combat emissions and improve air quality. From the early days of industrial dust collection to developing advanced containment systems, Sly has remained committed to engineering excellence and sustainability, driving positive change in industries worldwide.


Engineers at Sly have developed several industry innovations. In 1956, they introduced the Roll Clean Dynaclone, which set new standards for dust collection efficiency. And the Venturi scrubber, introduced in 1976, was a true game-changer for pollution control. This scrubber utilizes the principle of fluid dynamics to achieve high collection efficiencies for removing particulate matter and gases from industrial emissions.

Sly's pulse jet baghouse dust collectors represent the pinnacle of industrial air filtration technology. These collectors have a broad range of capabilities and excel in environments up to 500°F. Incorporating a solid-state timer allows for precise pulse cleaning, optimizing filtration efficiency while minimizing compressed air consumption. Sly adds an extra touch to the technology for easier bag changes with a “no tools required” design.

The design process for every project considers factors such as air volume, type of dust, dust loading and bulk density. At Sly, our engineering team meticulously evaluates each project, to fabricate a tailored solution that meets specifications and matches the environment where the collector will be installed for a durable, reliable solution.

A deliberate focus on relationships

What truly sets Sly apart is its technical expertise and commitment to building lasting relationships within the company and with its customers. With personalized customer service and tailored solutions to meet specific challenges, Sly has become a trusted partner for companies worldwide. This dedication to service and quality has earned Sly a reputation for reliability and excellence, with customer relationships that span decades.

At Sly, internal relationships are equally as important as relationships with customers. Many employees count their tenure in decades rather than years. There is a purposeful effort to foster camaraderie and a shared sense of purpose and support for each other. Although it is no longer a family-owned company, the atmosphere at Sly is one of family.

The company's inclusive culture, rooted in diversity and collaboration, has helped cultivate a supportive environment where innovation thrives and employees are empowered to reach their full potential.

Our message to you, our loyal customers

As we commemorate our 150th anniversary, we look forward with optimism and determination, guided by a steadfast commitment to excellence and a vision for a brighter, cleaner future. With state-of-the-art facilities and a team of passionate professionals, we are poised to continue leading the way in environmental technology for the next 150 years and beyond.

As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, we want to thank our customers, employees, and partners for their valuable contributions to our success and continued support. We recommit ourselves to shaping a safer, cleaner, more sustainable future for upcoming generations. Here’s to our next 150 years of serving our customers with environmental excellence!

Tags: News

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