For over a century, the Hillyard name has been synonymous with beautiful, high quality wood gym floors. Just as important in knowing the products is knowing the history and prestige of the company behind the products. So let’s take a moment and look back at the Hillyard story – it is definitely a good one!
The Hillyard company was founded in 1907 during the Deep Economic Depression, by Newton S. Hillyard. For years, he worked by day to support his family and labored by night to invent new, innovative products to serve the maintenance industry. With the help of his family, N.S. decided to take on a new and uncharted area of maintenance – wood gym floors. N.S. was unhappy with the slippery oil dressings used on early wood floors. He felt that they were unsafe, dirty and a source of injury for the players. Thus, N.S. developed wood floor coatings that were durable, easy to maintain and offered players a sure-footed surface. In 1920, N.S. erected a new plant and office building in St. Joseph, Missouri that then housed the largest wood gymnasium floor west of the Mississippi. He used this site to perfect his new wood gym seals and finishes.
Not only was Hillyard at the forefront of developing modern floor finish, they also participated in the sport of basketball as well! With prompting from his son, N.S. organized a company basketball team, that true to Hillyard form, was the best. They became the national AAU champions for two years straight and earned Hillyard a special exhibit in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. The team itself was made up of early All-American legendary players. Basketball greats thought so highly of N.S. that sports writers had fondly nicknames him the “Mr. Big” of basketball and was continuously honored for his contributions to the sport.
Today, Hillyard continues to establish the standards of excellence for wood gym finishes and maintenance products. It’s basketball legacy has also continued with Hillyard’s support of NCAA, NAIA, NABC, the Basketball Hall of Fame and many other basketball organizations.