History of Arrow Gear Company

In 1947, Arrow was founded by James J. Cervinka and Frank E. Pielsticker. The company began operation in a small industrial building in Worth, Illinois. After a move to Lyons, Illinois in the 1950s, the company was moved in 1961 to its current location in Downers Grove, Illinois - a western suburb of Chicago. Mr. Pielsticker passed away in 1987, and Mr. Cervinka passed away in July of 2012.

Through the years, Mr. Cervinka was directly responsible for the many innovations and new technologies introduced at Arrow Gear. Most recently, in 2010, he spearheaded the move to expand Arrow’s size capability for the manufacture of spur gears. The significant investment for this upgrade has resulted in Arrow’s ability to pursue a wider range of work – particularly in the helicopter field.


James J. Cervinka


Arrow supplies more loose gears for jet engines than any other gear company.

Early in Arrow's history, it embraced a commitment to building the company into a leading force in the gear industry. When asked about this philosophy, Mr. Cervinka explained, “In this industry, it’s simply not possible to stand still. If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind.”

Arrow’s long standing tradition of growth remains today, and has resulted in the expansion of the original Downers Grove facility seven times to accommodate new equipment and technologies for gear manufacturing and production. Today, nearly all manufacturing operations performed on Arrow's products are performed in-house.

A key distinction of Arrow Gear is the company's extensive expertise in the production of spiral bevel gears. In fact, producing spiral bevel gears – which are inherently complex to manufacture – was an original goal of the company founders. "We wanted to get paid for our brains, not for how many chips we could make." In view of this, it is interesting to note that Arrow’s advanced design and development assistance capabilities for gear tooth contact pattern are sought after by some of the world’s top producers of aerospace systems.

Arrow's ability to manufacture gearing products which are capable of meeting the most demanding customer requirements has created an extensive and diverse list of customers - supplying both aerospace and commercial applications. Mr. Cervinka credited this as a key variable in Arrow’s longevity, citing that having a broad range of customers prevents reliance on any particular industry.


Arrow's Plant in Downers Grove, Illinois

As the company grew, the production of spur and helical gearing was added, and is now a significant portion of the company's product line. In addition, the capability for producing complete gearboxes for the aerospace industry was introduced in the late 1980s as Arrow was involved in prototype work for the Joint Strike Fighter and F22 programs.

Looking forward, Arrow’s Mission Statement documents Mr. Cervinka’s vision for the company’s future. “We are dedicating all of our resources to achieving on-time delivery, unparalleled quality, and competitive pricing to ensure customer satisfaction. We are committed to a safe and financially secure work environment for all of our employees. Arrow Gear has the most modern machine tools, the best in computerized work-in-progress and business controls, and the personnel to effectively manage all these resources. We are well on our way, in the 21st century, to achieve the highest standards in the worldwide gear manufacturing community.”

Arrow Gear is also a long time member of the American Gear Manufacturers Association.