Our Story

Wenger History

When Harry Wenger was music director in the Owatonna, Minnesota, schools in the 1940s, he saw a need for improved equipment for music education. Early inventions included a more durable conductor’s baton, snare drum practice pad and a chair to help young sousaphone players hold their instrument. After founding Wenger Corporation in 1946, Harry’s spirit of innovation and commitment to quality has continued to guide the company’s growth.

Harry Wenger

His deep understanding of music education, honed through leading local school programs to national acclaim, enabled him to develop inventive products and solutions for the practical needs of music educators, students and performers.

“A chance to make music should be available to anyone who has the desire.“

– Harry Wenger

From the humble origins of Harry’s basement, Wenger Corporation expanded into various locations around Owatonna before establishing its current headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

The company’s product line has continued expanding, and now numbers more than 600. Today, Wenger Corporation can outfit school music rehearsal and performance areas, professional performing arts facilities, and athletic facilities with a range of unique solutions, including custom options. Whether in new construction or renovation projects, Wenger personnel often work as members of the planning team, together with end users, owners, contractors, architects, acousticians and other consultants.

Wenger Corporation includes three product brands: Wenger, J.R. Clancy and GearBoss. These products and solutions can be found across North America and worldwide. Now in its third generation of family ownership, Wenger Corporation continues enriching lives by enabling and inspiring great performances.

Harry Wenger

J.R. Clancy History

John Clancy was a young stagehand in Syracuse, New York, in the 1880s, when he recognized that standard theatre rigging equipment could not handle the complex and heavy scenery required for new, larger productions.

Harry Wenger

His creative spirit led him to his workshop, where he engineered heavy-duty pulleys, sheaves and other groundbreaking inventions. This equipment helped stagehands handle unwieldy and complex scene changes easily and safely, transforming the theatre rigging field. Soon theaters across the country were seeking John’s specialized rigging equipment and expertise. He founded J.R. Clancy, Inc., in 1885, in Syracuse, where it has operated for over 135 years.

“In the matter of workmanship, we must largely leave our goods to speak for themselves, as anything we might say would not, in our opinion, do the subject justice. An inspection of them will show the critic that everything is of the highest order, and that the utmost attention has been paid to the perfecting of every little detail.”

– John R. Clancy (1892)

Driven by its commitment to innovation, quality and safety, the company expanded rapidly. When customer needs grew more demanding and imaginative, J.R. Clancy introduced additional technological breakthroughs like fire safety systems, motorized rigging and computerized control systems. Clancy engineers also designed custom rigging solutions to meet specific, challenging applications.

Today, J.R. Clancy is a brand of Wenger Corporation, and its product line builds on John’s legacy established over a century ago. J.R. Clancy provides invaluable support to performing arts venues of all sizes and types, ensuring the magic of live performances unfolds flawlessly.

John Clancy