Progressive Bronze was founded in a basement in 1935 during the Great Depression. The firm’s original focus was making items for the funeral industry. In those days, many wakes were held in the home of the deceased, and the company made caskets and portable wooden cases containing a bronze crucifix and candlesticks. By 1936, the growing company moved out of the basement to 733 S Halsted in Chicago as it expanded its product line to include railings and components for Pullman Railroad Cars. When World War Two began, many companies had non-military metal usage severely restricted, so Progressive Bronze adapted to the times and began manufacturing submarine parts for the Navy.
As World War Two ended, these restrictions were loosened and military demand declined, so Progressive Bronze began making a variety of ecclesiastical items for the large number of churches being constructed throughout the United States. In 1960, the company was forced to relocate to its current address at 3550 N Spaulding Ave in Chicago, IL to make room for the new University of Illinois Chicago campus. In the subsequent years, Progressive Bronze has expanded its line of church metalware to cover a wide variety of bronze and brass church appointments. Many of these classic items such as candlesticks, tabernacles, crosses, holy water pots and fonts, baptismal fonts, censers and boats, and votive stands are still sold today under our Excelsis brand of church metalware (www.excelsisproducts.com).
In 2010, Progressive Bronze branched out to service non-church clients in need of refinishing, restoration, repair, polishing or fabrication of household and architectural furnishings made of brass, bronze and a variety of other metals. Whether for a church, an architect, a builder, or a DIY home restoration project, we ensure that all of Progressive Bronze’s customers benefit from our quality and attention to detail developed during our 75+ year history.