Lensing Company History

Rooted in family and long-standing relationships.

Lensing Building Specialties’ long-storied history dates back to the birth of a plaster supply business in 1873. Lensing Brothers opened for business in the late 19th century, which would eventually lead to the birth of a second business 75 years later, Lensing Building Specialties. We’re a family-owned operation focused on building long-standing relationships with our vendors and customers. What began as a small business selling plaster supplies in Evansville evolved into a robust building materials distribution company serving customers in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.

| 1873

B. Lensing Company Starts

Bernard Lensing starts a plaster supply business, B. Lensing Company, three years after immigrating from Germany to Evansville, Ind. Pictured is the original building (at the time of the photo, the business name was H.A. Lensing Company).

| 1915

William B. Lensing Changes Company Name

After stepping into a company ownership role, William B. Lensing, Bernard’s son, changes the name to Lensing Brothers. Pictured above is William B. Lensing (right) with his brother, Vincent (left).

| 1946

Joe Theby II Joins Lensing Brothers

Joe Theby II, son-in-law to William B. Lensing, joins the business. He is tasked with selling materials to lumber and supply dealers in the rural markets outside of Evansville. In the picture above, Joe is in the front row on the far right.

| 1948

Lensing Wholesale Opens for Business

As the sales to lumber and supply dealers in and outside of Evansville grew, Lensing Wholesale is formed as a separate business to sell specialty building materials. Joe Theby II is named the general manager of the new business, and the operations moved to a new 10,000-square-foot warehouse at 600 N. Sixth Avenue, which was located on part of the F.J. Reitz Sawmill property. Joe Theby II would eventually assume ownership of the company after the passing of William B. Lensing.

| 1962

Lensing Wholesale Introduces Architectural Sales

Lensing Wholesale acquires Somers Engineering Sales for its expertise in commercial doors, frames and hardware. This division is renamed Architectural Sales.

| 1980

Joe Theby II Transitions Leadership to Second Generation

Preparing for retirement, Joe Theby II transitions the leadership of the company to his sons, Bill Theby and Joe Theby III, and son-in-law, Mike O’Donohue. Pictured above from left to right: Joe Theby III, Bill Theby, Joe Theby II and Mike O’Donohue.

| 1980s & 1990s

Our Physical Operations Grow

During the 1980s, Lensing Wholesale adds additional office, warehouse and shop areas to our Sixth Avenue location and opens a showroom on Lincoln Avenue. In the 1990s, Lensing Wholesale opens its Franklin Street office after purchasing the building from the Double Cola Company.

| 2006

Company Name Changes to Lensing Building Specialties

After an acquaintance of Joe Theby III mistook Lensing Wholesale for a beer distributor, the company changes its name to Lensing Building Specialties. With the new name change came a new logo.

| 2010

Two Generations Lead The Company

After the youngest member of third-generation leadership joins the business, 2010 marks the first full year of two generations working together. In the front row from left to right are Bill Theby, Joe Theby III and Mike O’Donohue. In the back row from left to right are Matt Theby, Joe Theby IV and Kevin O’Donohue.

| 2018

two documents sitting on top of desk

Company Leadership Transitions To Third Generation

Preparing for their retirements, Joe III, Bill and Mike transition company leadership to their sons, Joe IV, Matt and Kevin, respectively.

| 2020

crawford door and dock logo

Lensing Building Specialties Acquires Crawford Door and Dock

Lensing Building Specialties and Architectural Sales doubles the size of its overhead door business by acquiring Crawford Door and Dock. This strengthens the company’s ability to supply, install and service overhead doors for residential, commercial and industrial customers.

| 2023

Lensing Building Specialties Celebrates 75 Years

Lensing Building Specialties celebrates 75 years in business. Coincidentally, 2023 marks 150 years since Lensing Brothers was first started by Bernard Lensing.

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