Established in 1920 as a unit of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co., the operation now known as Colt's Plastics produced molded plastic parts with Coltrock, its own brand name molding compound. By the mid 1930's Colt's Plastics Division focused on the needs of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries with the development of a line of "featherlite" jars used to package powders, creams, lipsticks and travel beauty kits.
In 1955, the company was sold by Colt but retained the Colt identity in its new name: Colt's Plastics Company, Inc. The new company continued to play a key role in cosmetics packaging innovation--including the first all-plastic aerosol dispenser--and unique packaging for Elizabeth Arden (which formed the basis for the Colt-ainer® line of jars) and Yardley.
Today, the company's primary focus is on the needs of the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and personal care product industries, although Colt's continues to mold pistol grips for certain special edition guns.
There are two fundamental functions to packaging: sales appeal and product protection. Colt's Plastics has in-depth capabilities to support both.
These include design, decorating, quality control and the understanding of its customers needs. Colt's has the experience and understanding of materials technology to work with its customers at a technical level to assist in their selection of the material that will protect the shelf life of the product and maintain its quality over time. At its Dayville headquarters, Colt's Plastics employs about 120 people. Its production and decorating capabilities include:
- 27 fully automatic rotary compression molded machines, with 5-10 stations per machine (molding tonnage equivalent to 200 conventional machines)
- 21 injection molding presses
- 12 silk screen machines (flat and/or roll)
- 8 hot stamp machines (flat and/or roll)
- highly automated UV -curable vacuum-metalizing system
- complete in-house mold making capabilities, including design
The unique requirements of cosmetic packaging materials technology and Colt's expertise in packaging design and its understanding of its customers needs are reflected in the range of materials with which the company works, including: urea and phenolic materials, polypropylene, polystyrene, styrene acrylonitrile, PETG and other related materials.
1920's: Colt's manufactured gun parts and a line of molded plastic articles such as buttons and buckles, valve packaging and valve discs; and Bakelite articles such as tobacco humidors, pipe racks and numerous electrical outlets and plug sets.
1930's: As an industry leader, Colt's plastics division produced and sold tube caps, jar caps, bottle caps and special packaging items; doorknobs, streetlight components, roller skate wheels and costume jewelry (Coltstones); jars used to package powders, creams, lipsticks, purse make-up kits and travel beauty kits.
1930's to mid- 1940's: The company's attention focused on supporting the war effort.
Late 1940's through late 1950's: Colt's again started designing and producing bottle caps for glass bottles; the first all-plastic aerosol dispenser; a line of Colt-ainer jars for Elizabeth Arden that eliminated the airspace common to the double-wall types of plastic containers then being used and attacked in the media as "deceptive packaging." Currently, seven sizes, ranging from 1/2 ounce to 16 ounce complement the original line of jars.
1958: Colt's was purchased by Charles W. Bentley
1960's: The company developed see-through caps, known as "Coltview" caps, used on Yardley's "Pot-o-Gloss" line of lip gloss. During this time, Colt's also built six fully automated, high-efficiency compression molding machines for IBM, each producing 100,000 plastic parts per day.
1970's: Colt's continued to expand its Colt-ainer line, including a low-profile line and slim line of jars in various sizes.
1978: Colt's moves to its current Dayville CT location.
1980's to 1990's: The company has extended its product offerings to include spatulas, compartmented jars, ColtKits®, stackables, as well as a range of various styled closures. Recent product line additions have been polypropylene jars and caps, PETG jars, the Colt-ainer III jar line, panel-sided jars and additions to its original line of jar and bottle caps.
2000 to Present: With the second and third generations of the Bentley family running the business, Colt's continues to expand its lines of stock jar packages. The new additions include the Colt-View lines of elegant pots, and an array of large diameter jars in 75mm, 83mm, 89mm, and 100mm diameters. In-house tooling manufacturing is enhanced to include injection mold components and many labor intensive molding, assembly, and machining operations have now been fully automated.