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Company History


Nearly a century ago, CBT Company began as Cincinnati Belting founded by Albert Stagnaro in 1921. A belt maker by trade, he and his family realized a great opportunity to serve the highly industrialized Cincinnati area with primarily made to order, custom belting products to help drive customers’ production processes. Slowly as technologies changed, Cincinnati Belting began branching out and adding complementary Power Transmission products to their portfolio.

After a sales career with a manufacturer of mixing equipment, James E. Stahl Jr. recognized that the components required to build mixing machinery were also needed in virtually every other manufacturing process either as a direct component in a new machine or an indirect item needed for the maintenance, repair, and operation of production processes.  Given this possibility to serve a wide array of industrial power transmission and belting needs, James E. Stahl, Jr. purchased the small distributorship in October of 1975.   So, with just a handful of employees and a few product lines, James E. Stahl, Jr. embarked on a journey to build the business one customer and one product line at a time.

Growth accelerated rapidly in the 1980’s as the entire southwest Ohio region including the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas flourished.    CBT listened to its customers’ requests and continued to expand its base of product lines with bearings and electrical equipment as well as its physical presence in the marketplace.   In 1985, Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley appointed CBT distributor rights to Allen Bradley drives.   By 1989, Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley included industrial control products to CBT’s portfolio of products.  

1989 marked two big moves for CBT.   First, CBT outgrew its historical facility on Pete Rose Way/2nd Street and moved around the corner to the former Hudepohl keg filling and distribution facilty on West 6th Street.   After extensive renovations and modernization, CBT called this new 54,000 square foot facility home.  

Meanwhile, CBT was serving the Dayton Market with account managers and product specialists, but it became apparent that customers wanted and needed CBT to have a greater presence in the area and hence CBT opened a sales and warehousing facility on Stanley Avenue.

By the turn of the 21st century, CBT grew again as it built a brand new, state of the art 22,000 square foot sales and distribution center in Springboro, Ohio located just 13 miles south of Downtown Dayton.  During the 1990’s the entire region continued its suburban sprawl where the boundaries between Cincinnati and Dayton metro areas continued to blur.   The new facility enables CBT to address the needs of the rapidly expanding southern Dayton suburban industrial areas of Butler and Warren County, yet still maintain a close proximity to the Dayton and north Dayton I-75 corridor. 

In 2006, CBT had an opportunity to purchase a 60,000 square foot former Beer and Wine Distributor facility adjacent to the Cincinnati Headquarters.  This additional space houses CBT’s Belting Operations, provides ample storage for large inventory items, and allows for plenty of future expansion

The first decade of the 2000’s also saw CBT expand even further into the electrical and automation arena as CBT became the only Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley distributor as of January 1, 2004 as well as a member of Affiliated Distributors, a network of independent electrical distributors.   As a result, CBT added a whole host of additional electrical manufacturers to its linecard.   Not to be outdone, the mechanical and power transmission unit also added some key manufacturers including the SMC Pneumatics product line.    Asset Management products and services became yet another offshoot of CBT’s core business as the need for storeroom management, general and customized training, and repair services were required by customers.   The CBT Client Services Group was formed to address these customers’ needs.

As the second decade of the new millennium commences, CBT marked another milestone in its history of serving the Dayton and Cincinnati Markets by becoming the only Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley distributor for the entire 21 county area of southwest and west central ohio, part of southeast Indiana, and northern Kentucky.   This authorization allows CBT to now fully meet the electrical, automation, power transmission, and client service needs of its entire customer base.

Since James E. Stahl Jr’s purchase in 1975, CBT has now grown from 5 employees and just a few product lines to over 143 employees and representation of hundreds of the best known brand names of automation, electrical, mechanical power transmission, and belting products in the industry.  All CBT associates are grateful for our success and thankful of our customers’ support.  CBT reasserts its commitment to investing in the best people, technologies, and products so that we can provide a superior customer experience.   CBT welcomes suggestions and innovative ways to serve you for the next 100 years.