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S.J. Smith open house, crowd of people by truck bay, 1980.
S.J. Smith’s open house in 1980 at the Davenport location. Walter Payton made an appearance to sign autographs and several attended.

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 welding supplies and services to larger industrial accounts in the area.

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 has 12 branch locations in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. S.J. Smith’s locations include:

  • Corporate office in Davenport, Iowa
  • Iowa sales and service offices in Davenport, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, Keokuk and Clinton
  • Illinois sales and service offices in Rock Falls, Pekin, Streator, Champaign, Decatur and Quincy
  • Missouri sales and service office in Mexico
Our Family

Family Owned & Operated

Richard Smith’s children now all have leadership roles at S.J. Smith. Richelle Smith-Brecht is the President and CEO, Christopher Smith is the Assistant Pricing Manager/Expeditor, and also handles purchasing, and Eric Smith is the Director of Operations. The Smith siblings have been with S.J. Smith for a total of 64 years combined and are dedicated to keeping their beloved company family-owned and operated. Almost all other suppliers and service providers in the region have been sold off to larger corporations, but S.J. Smith is still run by the Smith family and is one of the most trusted and respected names in the industry.


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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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