About McDonald Products
McDonald Products was also founded in Buffalo, NY, in 1930, by metalworker Edward McDonald, upon his purchase of the Serv-A-Light Co., a developer of smoker stands with attached battery-operated cigar lighters. With his background in metalworking, he led the company in their development of a wide variety of ornamental smoking stands, pipe racks, ashtrays, floor stands, and a silent butler, which they marketed and sold primarily to gift shops.
In 1934, Mr. McDonald put a small duck finger lever on top of his scissor-action ashtray, thus giving birth to what became one of the company’s most well-known products, the Duk-It ashtray.In fact, the Duck icon, which originated from that specific group of products, eventually became the symbol for McDonald Products, and remains an integral part of our logo to this day. Despite the success and enduring popularity of the Duk-It ashtray however, honors for arguably the most well-known product that McDonald Products has ever offered fall to the Bean Bag Ashtray, which at one time, was sold at the rate of over one million units per year. Upon the sale of the company in 1961 to Adrian Bennett, the company shifted its focus from gift shops – which tended to be somewhat seasonal – to a more office-oriented product line. This shift in focus led to McDonald Products developing their own assortment of Metal and Plastic desk accessory lines; in fact, Smith Metal Arts and McDonald Products were fierce competitors for many years. Over the next several years, ownership of McDonald Products changed hands several times, including a short stint as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Insilco Corporation, a Fortune 500 firm then headquartered in Meriden, CT. In 1982, a group of McDonald Products executives acquired the company back from Insilco in a leveraged buyout, and finally in 1986, controlling interest was acquired by Smith Metal Arts, eventually leading to the formation of Smith McDonald Corporation.