Since 1929, Union Connector has been manufacturing electrical products for the entertainment industry. The company was started by William J. “Bill” Wolpert, an IATSE Local 1 stagehand, built into a modern manufacturing company by his sons Dick and Alan and is still owned by his descendants. It is currently operated by a third generation of Wolperts, Bill’s grandsons Ray and Rich.
Manufacturing the “stage pin” connector was the mainstay of the company for almost forty years. In that time, Union Connector became the primary manufacturer of this standard theatrical wiring device. Union was responsible for the introduction of the grounding version of the stage pin device, and the first to mold the connector out of thermo-set plastic. It is safe to stay that almost every theater from Broadway to Hollywood has used pin connectors made by Union Connector.
Expansion of the company began in the 70’s as Union moved to a larger facility, and began building power distribution equipment for the theatrical lighting industry. As that industry grew and expanded into architectural, touring and event lighting, Union Connector expanded its product line as well. Outlet boxes, connector strips, patch panels, portable distro and custom distribution equipment were developed to meet the needs of the burgeoning industry.
In the 80’s and 90’s Union Connector continued to expand its product line and moved to an even larger manufacturing center. Considerable resources were dedicated to research and development of new products, some of which became the modern standards for power distribution in entertainment lighting. Several patents were awarded, including the polybox® power distribution box. That led to the development of the first UL Listed Company Switch. This Union Connector product is now one of the standard types of company switches specified for theaters, convention centers and studios nationwide. Another product developed in the 90’s was the UC700 Emergency Transfer System. It is the first branch circuit transfer system designed specifically for use with dimming systems.
The millennium found Union Connector continuing to evolve into a modern manufacturing company. Major investments have been made in CNC fabrication machinery, computerized warehouse facilities, powder coating equipment and engineering facilities.
Power distribution equipment for entertainment lighting is still the bulk of our product line – much of it custom designed and built for specific projects. But Union Connector now has the ability to fabricate specialty equipment for a variety of other industries as well. This includes custom metalworking, welding and machining.
In keeping with it’s tradition of developing practical, safe and economical products, Union Connector recently patented the SafeCam® connector system. This system provides the user with a standard cam outlet panel that cannot be energized unless all the outlets contain males plugged into them. Exposed cams will never be “hot”, The cams are now safe. Another innovative product developed by Union Connector.
A Midwest Sales and Marketing office responsible for consultant and professional communication was established in 2007 and it is fully integrated into the company servers and information technology. In 2011, Union Connector moved it’s headquarters, engineering and assembly operations to Jacksonville, Fl. At the same time, a metal fabrication and finishing plant was opened in Pawcatuck, CT to provide enclosures and sheet metal components for the Florida assembly operation.
This company, started by a couple of stagehands to build simple two-pin connectors now has locations in three states and builds a range of products from simple three-pin connectors to sophisticated room-sized power distribution equipment. And it’s still all in the family!