Frank Siviglia – The Man Behind Our Business
In 1913, an Italian immigrant named Frank Siviglia opened a blacksmith business in lower Manhattan. Siviglia’s business manufactured horse-drawn wagons and wheels. His early customers included local food peddlers and the New York City Fire Department.
He acquired a reputation for well-constructed and dependable products. In the 1920s, his focus shifted to manufacturing custom truck bodies as the automobile replaced the wagon as the preferred method of delivery transportation.
A Family Business: 1930-1949
The growing Siviglia business moved to the East side of Manhattan, catering mainly to the dairy industry. Frank Siviglia’s two sons, Nicholas and Joseph, began working for the company at the ages of 12 and 15, respectively. A family business was established that would be passed down to future generations.
During the 1940s, the business specialized in insulated truck bodies manufactured of wood framing, cork insulation, and galvanized steel. The operation grew, with a continued focus in the dairy industry.
Technology Evolution: 1950-1969
In the 1950s, the Siviglia sons introduced molded fiberglass linings. Panel trucks were lined to protect vehicle interiors from accommodating demand in the seafood industry. Truck bodies were manufactured in steel frames, aluminum outside skins with fiberglass-type insulation, and molded fiberglass inner linings. As the decade progressed, the business tripled in size.
In the 1960s, advancements in technology and materials provided the introduction of polyurethane foam insulation. Truck bodies were manufactured from steel frames, aluminum outer skins, spray-in place-polyurethane foam insulation, and molded interior fiberglass linings. The process of using polyurethane and fiberglass linings extended to panel trucks, cargo vans, and other vehicles.
Introduction of Van Shield: 1970-1989
The lining of cargo vans and similar type vehicles emerged as the primary focus of the company’s business model during the 1970s. The product was trademarked and named Van Shield®. With distribution partners established, Siviglia sold the product throughout the northeast region and other parts of the US. In addition to Van Shield®, the business manufactured hydraulic liftgates, auxiliary fuel tanks, and mass-produced dry freight truck bodies.
The delivery transportation industry changed in the 1980s as larger manufacturers replaced small companies. The larger manufacturers supplied the industry with cheap disposable truck bodies and declined reliability. Siviglia & Sons maintained their commitment to quality, continued to market their Van Shield® product, and established distribution along the Northeastern Seaboard. The business began manufacturing small insulated truck bodies for use in pickup trucks, called “Slip-in Bodies.”
Distribution Expands: 1990-2020
During the 1990s, Van Shield® continued to grow at a steady rate throughout the Northeast. Our line continued expanding with new products using the Van Shield technology, including towable trailers for food storage, delivery, and catering at remote locations.
Today, the sales of cargo vans, slip-in and small truck bodies, continue to grow under the guidance of Steve Mestousis who has over 35 years of industry experience.
Clients now include valued customers such as Edible Arrangements, Otis Spunkmeyer, Thermal King, Zanotti, Boar’s Head, Gordon Food Service, Carrier, Mercedes-Benz, Sprinter, Dodge, Nissan, GMC and the U.S. Army. To this day, the company’s commitment remains the same as it did in 1913, to manufacture durable and dependable best-of-breed products.