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Standing the Test of Time

S.J. Smith is a third-generation, family-owned company that has been in operation since 1950. At that time, our founder, Sylvester “S.J” Smith, left his job as a welding and gas salesman for AIRCO. Together with his wife, Helen, they started selling safety and welding supplies and servicing smaller customers in the region, while AIRCO continued to sell gas.

In 1966, AIRCO sold its remaining welding supply business to Sylvester Smith, and S.J. Smith began selling supplies and providing service for accounts both large and small. In 1969, Richard Smith, Sylvester and Helen’s son, joined the company around the time Sylvester retired. After taking over the company, Richard helped S.J. Smith expand outside of Davenport and the company now includes 12 total branch locations in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. Today, 

  • Illinois – Decatur, Pekin, Quincy, Rock Falls, Streator and Urbana
  • Iowa – Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Keokuk and Muscatine
  • Missouri - Mexico
Our Family

Family Owned & Operated

Richard Smith, former CEO, welcomed his three children into the business in the 1990s and early 2000s, and now, all have leadership roles at S.J. Smith. Richelle Smith-Brecht currently serves as the President and CEO, Eric Smith is the Director of Operations, and Christopher Smith is Assistant Purchasing Manager/Expediter.

“We are dedicated to keeping our company family-owned and operated,” says Smith-Brecht. “We started off as a small welding supply company in 1950. Since that time, S.J. Smith has been focused on providing individualized service to each of our customers. We’ve never lost sight of that mission, to provide top-notch service to all our customers, large and small.”


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Liquid oxygen truck, Arsenal Island, 1970s/1980s.
A liquid oxygen truck at Arsenal Island, Rock Island, Ill., circa late 1970s/early 1980s.


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