In 1981 Frances Darby, the founder of Paragon Industries, Inc., approached John Hohenshelt, Sr, who was vice-president of manufacturing at Tonka Toys. “John, I’ve decided to sell you my company,” she said. They laughed together, but a year later he did, indeed, buy the assets of the company and form a new organization under the Paragon name.
Today, Paragon Industries, L.P. is one of the largest electric kiln manufacturers in the world. The Paragon factory has grown from a garage workshop to 72,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity in Mesquite, Texas, just outside Dallas.
Paragon kilns can be found in dusty garage workshops, basements, hobby centers, and studios the world over.
Paragon kilns have developed a loyal following. One kiln owner wrote, "Please keep building the best kilns in the world." 30-year-old Paragon kilns that were given to grandchildren are still firing, and we regularly hear from people requesting a manual for kilns made during the 1980's.
Since John Hohenshelt, Sr., bought the company, the world has gone through momentous changes. In the coming years, who knows what the future of our industry will bring? We hope you join us in exploring that future together.
1st photo: The Paragon factory in Mesquite, Texas.
2nd photo: John Hohenshelt, Sr, at the time that he bought Paragon in 1982.
3rd photo: Building kilns on the assembly line.
4th photo: Making QuikFire 6 kilns.