McIlvain: A Lumber Supplier with Old-Growth Strength

Picking lumber

Picking lumber

The J. Gibson McIlvain lumber company lives up to its industry-wide reputation still today but owes its current status to its pre-Revolutionary-war roots. Beginning over two centuries ago, the McIlvain family has owned and operated one of America’s premier lumber suppliers since before its states were all settled, never mind united.

Just like plantation-grown wood often falls short of the stronger old-growth wood, a time-tested, family-owned enterprise like ours offers rare value for consumers. When Hugh McIlvain established a home-grown business on the outskirts of Philadelphia, he took a risk. That risk would form the seedling of what would become a strong and mighty business that would end up supporting his progeny, even 7 generations later.

Just think of it: For over 100 years of this company’s history, no motor vehicles were available to transport logs or sawn wood products to customers or job sites. Word-of-mouth referrals and face-to-face interactions were key to orders and customer relations, while horse-drawn carriages and, later, steam-powered trains provided transportation for deliveries. Historic American buildings like the White House and Smithsonian were built with McIlvain lumber, as were many bridges that helped people move West. The same qualities that made the company successful when those buildings were erected are still what gives the company continued success today: Premium wood products and attentive quality control and individualized customer service.

Premium Wood Products

The wood products carried by J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber were originally limited to domestic hardwoods and softwoods. Our warehouse near Baltimore in White Marsh, Maryland, became our headquarters, while another warehouse was built in Danielson, Connecticut, as our needs to store inventory grew. Later, the company added an extensive selection of pre-made millwork and imported exotic woods, prompting international partnerships with saw mills across the globe, from Africa to Europe and South America.

Dried lumber grading

Dried lumber grading

Attentive Quality Control

From in-person visits and long-time relationships with saw mills across the country and the world to our standard three inspections before shipping, we’re second-to-none in quality control. We ensure that our sources are legal and environmentally responsible as well as dedicated to producing high-quality wood. We fully review the harvesting and drying processes used and hire independent third-party inspectors to provide a detailed review of every shipment before it’s sent to us. We inspect the shipment, once again, when it reaches Maryland, and then after it has been sawn and stacked, but before we ship it out to customers.

Individualized Customer Service

While technology has expanded our customer base considerably, we’re still dedicated to the same old-fashioned values on which our company—and country—were first built. We provide open communication and detailed information to our customers, along with easy tracking of orders. Whether you visit us in person or contact us over the phone, we can assure you that we’ll do our very best to understand your project needs and deliver the wood products you order, meeting your custom specifications to a “T.”

Having weathered many changes in our world and in our nation, J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber is still standing strong, offering timeless quality and old-fashioned customer service.

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