McK began as General Products Company, founded in November, 1945 by H. Smith McKann. We started its operation in a small rented cinderblock building in Fredericksburg, Virginia with the manufacturing of electric water heaters and bottled gas tanks.
The Company was very successful in its first year and expanded into larger quarters. Over the next several years, General Products began manufacturing a number of different items including liquid oxygen handling equipment, water heaters for submarines, boilers for Coast Guard vessels, buoys for use on the inland waterways, and experimental aerial mine cases for naval ordinance. America’s first successful satellite, “Vanguard”, was launched with the aid of General Products’ liquid oxygen tanks.
In 1952, General Products began manufacturing factory built chimneys and simulated brick roof housings for venting wood, coal, or oil burning appliances. In 1954, the plant was again expanded and in 1955, production began on gas venting systems which are used with gas furnaces and water heaters. Both of these products are listed by Underwriter’s Laboratory and were sold throughout the United States under the name “Air-Jet”. The Air-Jet Division operated warehouses in Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Denver.
In 1967, General Products built a new 100,000 square foot plant on the outskirts of Fredericksburg at Hamilton’s Crossing and moved it headquarters to that location. The Company began manufacturing steel bifold closet doors under the name Benchmark. The doors were originally sold only in Virginia and Metropolitan Washington, D.C. but were eventually successfully marketed throughout the United States, and the Caribbean.
Steel insulated entry doors were added to the Benchmark line in 1969. This totally engineered entry door concept provided vastly improved insulating value over the standard wood door-storm door combination. General Products pioneered the “embossed panel” system for deep sculpturing steel to produce patterns closely resembling traditional wood door panels.
Fire destroyed a large part of the manufacturing facilities inventories in 1971. The Company immediately began a complete thorough rebuilding program during which time the facilities expanded by 70,000 square feet. The rapid increase in business on existing products during the 1970’s and the addition of steel frames and sidelights for the entrance door system created the need for two new buildings totaling 115,000 square feet. These were completed in 1980. One housed Research and Development Operations; and the other the Air-Jet manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping.
In 1990, General Products entered the commercial door and frame arena as an adjunct to its residential sales efforts and brought on several patented products to fill the needs of the marketplace.
In April, 2000, we sold our door business to Therma -Tru Corporation. Therma-Tru subsequently sold the door business to Tru-Tech Corporation in 2009 which continues to occupy some 100,000 square feet.
Since 2000 we have concentrated on commercial and industrial property management and development, and in 2008 we added our financial services subsidiary UnitZXchange, utilizing the unique skills of our family members.