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History

Our history begins in 1887 when we invented and began producing custom canvas products. From one decade to the next, the Sprung family name has become synonymous with “innovative enclosures” and has emerged as the world class leader of tensioned fabric membrane technologies and solutions.

We Pioneered a Fabric Structure Like No Other

  • It all started in the late 19th century, when our ancestors began experimenting with techniques and materials to create a uniquely tough canvas for wall tents, chuck wagon covers, mattresses, etc.
  • They refined the process so that the fabric could stand up to the rigors of the new world.
  • Applications for the fabric membrane technology began to expand, as did demand outside of the North American west where Sprung was founded.
  • This proud family tradition—and our commitment to technology, innovation and R&D—has been passed down from one generation to another.

Nobody Knows Fabric Structures Like Sprung

  • Today, Sprung is best known for delivering faster and better building solutions through its patented, tensioned membrane structures.
  • Sprung structures are engineered to adapt to almost any climate, design requirement and budget.
  • Currently, Sprung structures are used in hundreds of different applications, in over 100 countries, for some of the world’s leading organizations.
  • We have manufacturing and distribution centers in North America and the Middle East, and offices around the world—regional, face-to-face solutions that online distributors cannot offer.
  • With well over 12,000 structures in use, we remain dedicated to following through with innovative building solutions that consistently deliver the Sprung Advantage: rapid construction capabilities, total design flexibility, exceptional durability and performance, and lower overall costs.

Celebrating 130 Years

This year the Sprung Group of Companies is celebrating 130 years of innovation and customer service. We’ve come a long way but we continue to hold the values from our humble beginnings; hard work, innovation lead to unsurpassed quality and customer satisfaction. We take pride in our history, and we’re pride in everything we do today.

In 1887, Philip Dorland Sprung, originally from Belleville, Ontario, came to Alberta with a wave of new settlers. Shortly after his arrival, he partnered with W.A. Deny to build a business which catered to the expanding needs of the booming city. Western Tent & Mattress Co., established in 1887, pioneered the beginning of the Sprung family’s entrepreneurialism in Calgary.

Selling to a wide territory, from Western Saskatchewan to Eastern British Columbia, Western tent & Mattress Co. grew quickly. They manufactured tents, teepees, awnings, wagon covers, flags, tarpaulins, camp beds, furniture and blankets in the canvas department while the bedding department sold iron and brass beds, springs, cots, iron couches, pillows and mattresses. Such an extensive product line required vast amounts of floor space, roughly 27,000 square feet, between 3 factories and warehouses. Western Tent & Mattress Co. was regarded as one of the most progressive and reliable business firms in Calgary.

Philip Dorland Sprung
Philip Dorland Sprung

On January 9, 1926, Philip Dorland Sprung, his partner, John Clindinin and Sprung’s son, Donald Allen, founded the garment manufacturing company, Sprung-Clindinin. The original product line started with sport & work wear and eventually included western & winter wear. Each garment was designed and produced in Calgary but the distribution areas included the whole of Western Canada, Alaska and the North Western United States.

During the early 1950’s Philip Davis Sprung, son of Donald Allen Sprung, left law school to help with the family firm. For the next 25 years, Philip Davis spent much of his time driving around the country building up the business.

Though Sprung-Clindinin sold many products over the years, none were so popular as their down jackets. Considered to be a staple in chilly environments, the sales of these coats caused Sprung-Clindinin to be one of the largest purchasers of down in North America. By the mid 1970’s, innovations had been made in winter synthetics allowing garments to become more technological. These advances were coupled with an increased demand by consumers for high fashion sportswear. As a result, Sprung Ski Wear was created to fill the niche.

Though Philip Dorland passed away in 1958 and Donald Allen in 1981, Sprung Ski Wear continued well into its 65th year under Philip Davis and his daughter Kerri Lynn Sprung, before finally closing its doors in 1991. The cost of manufacturing garments locally was no longer viable in a market place dependent on low-cost overseas labor.

Donald Allen Sprung
Donald Allen Sprung

In the late 1960’s, Royal American Shows approached Philip Davis Sprung in hopes of convincing him to design a tent that wouldn’t blow down in the wind. Having been in the tent business his whole life, Phil easily saw the value in the proposition. For the next few years, he, along with Harry Lane, employed a wide variety of ideas and materials to eventually come up with the first working prototype of the Sprung Instant Structure, which was erected over Harry’s swimming pool. The framework was composed of glued, laminated timber arches, with exterior aluminum channels attached to the beams. Once erected the whole skeleton was then covered with a custom built and often colorful vinyl membrane.

July 26, 1971, Philip Davis applied for his first patents for this invention. The Stressed Membrane Structure.

By 1973, the “GluLam” beams were replaced by solid aluminum beams that were considerably lighter and easier to handle. The beams had channels running down their lateral edges, allowing each section of fabric to be pulled into place and tensioned. One skilled technician could oversee a small crew of inexperienced laborers and still manage to erect the structure in mere days.

Philip Davis Sprung
Philip Davis Sprung

Before long, Sprung Instant Structures operated internationally. As the technology progressed the building garnered a reputation that redefined the ‘tent’ concept. They were utilized for numerous applications such as mining and construction shelters, military storage facilities, sports arena covers, exposition centers and widely in the natural resource sector.

A lot has changed since the late ’60s’. The modern Sprung Structure is adaptable to any industry and can be engineered to withstand wind and snow loads and competes with any conventional building. There are a variety of features available including everything from energy savings daylight panels, insulation packages and a multitude of available colors to gigantic cargo doors, glazing walls and bold graphics packages.

Philip Donald Sprung
Philip Donald Sprung

The allure of the Sprung Structure wasn’t only due to its design, but to its availability. Most structures were shipped from inventory within a week of placing the order. In order to maintain their position as an industry leader, SIS followed a customer-driven business model which resulted in many design innovations. To date, the structures have continued to successfully adapt to a more diverse and demanding global marketplace.

In 2001, Philip Donald Sprung succeeded his father as President of the company. His younger brother, Timothy Earnest Sprung, be came Vice President and Head of International Sales.

In 2016 another generation joined the company as Philip Donald Sprung’s daughter Shelbi Sprung and Kerri Lynn Sprung’s son Davis Donald Avery started to working for Sprung.

Timithy Ernest Sprung
Timothy Earnest Sprung

 

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