Nixalite Celebrates 60th Anniversary

The company was founded in the1940s by Charles B. Kaufmann (a lawyer) and Fred Burnside (a mechanical engineer).

May 20, 2010

EAST MOLINE, Ill. - Nixalite is celebrating 60 years in business, and its history is filled with many twists, turns and singular events that made Nixalite a pioneer of bird control. Headquartered in the Quad Cities (Illiniois, Iowa), this 3rd generation, family-owned and operated company has grown to be a successful manufacturer and distributor of effective and humane bird and animal controls, barriers and deterrents.

In the late 1940s Charles B. Kaufmann (a lawyer) and Fred Burnside (a mechanical engineer) teamed up to find a solution to the problem of pest birds roosting and nesting on buildings and structures.
After studying pest bird habits and trying different ideas, the team devised what would become the world’s first “porcupine wire” bird barrier strip.
Designed as a physical barrier, these stainless steel needle strips keep pest birds off of surfaces by occupying the space with sharp pointed wires arrayed in carefully engineered patterns.
The prototype Nixalite machine that they designed and built was deemed an engineering marvel. It could feed, bend, cut and then securely weld 5 stainless steel wires per inch to a stainless steel base strip, accomplishing what others had said to be impossible.
The bird control strip it produced was called “Nixalite”.
After the Nixalite machine, they needed a way to secure the Nixalite strips to the installation surface. They designed and manufactured a special ‘reversely bent’ or RB Clip. This RB Clip allows for quick and easy bird strip removal and reinstallation without damaging the surface or the strip. This clip is still the standard method of fastening today.
In 1950 the team began manufacturing and selling these Nixalite strips. In 1953, Charles Kaufmann became the sole owner of Nixalite’s® 60 years of bird control history
Nixalite’s production machines are engineering marvels. They feed, bend, cut and perfectly weld 5 stainless steel wires per inch to a stainless steel base stripalite and began the patent process, on June 2nd, 1959 patent #2,888,716 was issued.
Kaufmann authored and published the first comprehensive “how-to” manual for bird control. These bird control principles are as relevant today as they were when he published them.
He also worked with the telephone yellow pages publishers to add “Bird Barriers, Repellents & Controls” to their major listings. At the time, adding headings in the Yellow pages was a very big deal. Due to Charles Kaufmann’s sudden death in 1957, his daughter Marie Kaufmann Gellerstedt assumed leadership of the company.
She had made a deathbed promise to not sell the company and she was determined to keep it. It certainly wasn’t easy. In the early years, just being a woman that owned and actually ran the business presented some problems. The business world was still gender biased, and a woman had to work twice as hard in the ‘good-old boy’ days. After 53 years of being at the helm, she remains active in the company.
In the 50’s and 60’s bird control was a new idea and people had a difficult time understanding that those “little birds” were causing structural damage, additional building maintenance, bringing parasites and birdborne diseases with them. Nixalite had to first educate the public about the hazards of pest birds and their droppings before selling them on the need for bird control. Nixalite made people aware of the benefits of bird control through well targeted and informative advertising campaigns. While it took years to accomplish, Nixalite had pioneered the path for a new industry.
Nixalite’s bird control spikes have always been the cornerstone of Nixalite’s success. These stainless steel needle strips are installed internationally, on many different objects and surfaces, to control a variety of pest birds and nuisance animals. It is a testament to Nixalite’s quality and durability that bird spike installations have been in place for more than half a century and are still providing effective and humane control.
Nixalite’s bird control strips were considered so innovative and well engineered that the Nixalite bird control designs are still displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
After having literally been raised in the Nixalite work place, Jon Gellerstedt formally joined the company in 1981 and Cory Gellerstedt in 1988 after graduating from Southern Illinois University. In 1995 they were elected co-presidents.
Nixalite has progressed from a single product firm to a company that offers dozens of bird, animal and pest control products.
In 2007, Nixalite was named the U.S. Distributor and Service Center for IGEBA foggers, sprayers and aerosol generators. Nixalite is now one of the primary sources for commercial fogging equipment.
In the mid 1990’s, Nixalite expanded into web-based information and sales with several easy to navigate and content rich web sites. Nixalite’s current website provides secure online ordering, literature and prices to anyone, anywhere in the world, 24/7.
At anyone can view, print or download free 3 part specifications, CAD drawings, PDF format product brochures, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), product labels, product prices and much more.
The qualities that distinguish Nixalite from others are often the intangibles; those hard-to define qualities that bring customers back time and time again.
Nixalite offers the services of their own modern fabrication facility and machine shop. Having this facility allows Nixalite to engineer and furnish custom made forms to help their customers with demanding projects and difficult installation surfaces.
For more information visit