Saf-T-Gard and its Voltgard division carry on the tradition that was started over 80 years ago: bringing customers the products, training and service that they need to keep employees safe in the workplace.

Saf-T-Gard got its start as the Latex Glove Company, founded in Chicago in 1936 by Leo and Lillian Rivkin. Norman, their son, was in high school at the time. The Rivkins purchased equipment from a balloon company to dip cotton gloves in latex rubber to make them waterproof. In 1939, they moved to a factory loft where they stayed until 1942, when the company was virtually destroyed by a fire, which started in a neighboring printing plant. After salvaging what little they could, Leo and Lillian reopened their business shortly thereafter.

History of SafTGard collage

Because of wartime pressures on Chicago industrial plants, Latex Glove Co. expanded selling gloves to military equipment manufacturers. In 1945, Norman Rivkin returned from military service and used his war time savings to buy a small leather palm glove factory. This meant moving the company to a much larger four-story building on the Near North Side of Chicago. The distribution business operated on the first floor, while leather palm gloves were manufactured on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Around 1956, leather glove manufacturing was discontinued and the equipment sold.
Latex Glove's distribution business expanded to utilize the entire building. After Leo Rivkin passed away in 1964, Norman Rivkin took control of all facets of the business.

The 1960s and early 1970s were a time of increased emphasis on occupational safety and health, as evidenced by the establishment of OSHA. To meet this challenge, Latex Glove began to supplement its line of hand protection with industrial safety products including protective eyewear, respirators, safety hats and caps, protective clothing and footwear, and first aid kits and supplies. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Latex Glove began to search for global suppliers who could provide better value through lower-cost products without sacrificing product quality. In 1970, Norman's son, Richard, joined the company. To provide the facility for further growth and better customer service, Latex Glove purchased a 48,000 sq. ft. building in Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb 35 miles north of downtown Chicago in 1979.

In the early 1980s, the Voltgard project was developed with the mission to develop the electrical testing and utility industry business. Saf-T-Gard’s Voltgard Test Lab currently operates the largest independent rubber insulating products test lab of its kind in the United States. In 1986, the company moved to its current location on Huehl Road in Northbrook with over 80,000 sq. ft. and plenty of room for expansion.

By 1989, the company's direction as a full-line, quality-oriented supplier of safety products was clear and, therefore, Latex Glove changed its name to Saf-T-Gard International to reflect its dedication to a complete line of safety products. In late 1994, Norman relinquished operating control to Richard, but remains as a consultant. In 1999, the tradition continued with the 4th generation when Richard's son, Loren, joined
Saf-T-Gard and is currently Vice President/ Marketing.

Today, Saf-T-Gard and its Voltgard division carry on the tradition that was started over 80 years ago: bringing customers the products, training and service that they need to keep employees safe in the workplace.  Saf-T-Gard has customers in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries around the world.  In 1999, then Secretary of Commerce William Daley visited Saf-T-Gard and presented the company with the President’s E-Award for Export Excellence. Saf-T-Gard is an active member of the National Safety Council, International Safety Equipment Association and the Safety Marketing Group. Saf-T-Gard International is proud to combine our resources with those of leading safety products manufacturers worldwide to offer unparalleled expertise in providing the safety solutions that benefit our customers.

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