Lawrence Brand’s Velvet Ropes, Made in Bay Shore, Celebrate 140 Years

lawrence brand
Lawrence brand barrier ropes celebrate their 140th anniversary this year.

You see them at movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, car dealership showrooms, and more. They guide you as you stand on lines, as they’ve done for millions of others for generations.

The velvet rope  — which is often really velour, with real velvet reserved for theaters or red carpets — has become practically synonymous with waiting on line across the globe. One brand, Tensator’s Lawrence, is made right on Long Island and celebrates its 140th anniversary this year.

“This is a product that has stood the test of time through some truly historical events and for me it is an honor to be able to preserve such a piece of history,” Alan McPherson, CEO of Tensator Group, said in a statement.

Lawrence’s brand of ropes and their accompanying posts originated in a metalworking shop in Manhattan in 1881. Since then, the stylish barriers have brought elegance to otherwise drab waiting spaces. 

Bay Shore-based Tensator, which specializes in crowd control and queue management products, began working closely with the Lawrence brand more than 50 years ago and started manufacturing its ropes and stanchions in 2006. The company also makes the commonly used black retractable barriers.

Now, Lawrence ropes and posts are made to order right at Tensator’s Bay Shore facility. Ropes are cut to specific sizes requested by the customer and assembled on location. The manufacturer offers a range of different materials and colors for both the posts and ropes, offering “solutions for all applications and budgets,” according to its website.

The company’s leadership says the Lawrence brand serves customers around the world, and they are proud to carry on a tradition that has lasted from the 19th century to today.

“We are very proud to contribute meaningful chapters to the enduring Lawrence story,” Bill Vetter, senior vice president and general manager of Tensator Group, said in a statement. “We also deeply appreciate how our quality posts have been a part of not only New York’s manufacturing history but also have achieved global status through their use in countries around the world.”

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