A Manufacturing Tradition

In 1881, the Agricultural Implement Manufacturing Company moved their operations from the corner of East Washington & Locust Streets to Akron, Ohio. The partners of Garver, Foltz, & Company traveled to Akron, Ohio, and made a deal to purchase the vacated property in Hagerstown. About two months after the deal closed, Cyrus Garver died, leaving Henry Foltz and Daniel Garver as the two remaining partners in the firm. The name of the company was changed to the Hagerstown Iron Works in 1884, and Henry Foltz engaged in the active management of the partnership. In 1888, Daniel Garver passed away, and Henry Foltz continued the operation of the business under the name of the H.C. Foltz Company. In 1890, Mr. Foltz bought out the Hagerstown Steam Engine & Machine Company. H.C. Foltz Company obtained all of the patterns and equipment and now could manufacture and repair parts for all of the machinery that had been produced. With the addition of steam replacement parts, the company became more than just a repair shop and, from that point on, the company began to expand.

In addition to the growing stock of supplies, the H.C. Foltz Companybegan to manufacture several products that were designed and patented by Henry Foltz. One of the first products to be patented was a hog scalder. Another patent was awarded on an improved IXL malleable lifting jack, which was used extensively by the railroad industry. Throughout the 1890s, Mr. Foltz was awarded patents on various other inventions, including a patent on his most famous and successful invention, a rounded steel stock trough. The success of the trough came mainly from its design. The advantage to this design was that where square troughs allowed expansive ice to break the item apart, and the rounded trough forced the ice upward and it ceased to cause damage.

By the early 1900s, the H.C. Foltz Company had grown too big for the existing building. In 1914, the old stone building and most of the machine shop were torn down. On the corner, a new three-story brick office building was erected. The new office building was connected to the machine shop that was located directly to the rear of the original stone building.

In about 1916, Henry C. Foltz retired from active management of the company and passed the organization over to his son, Robert G. Foltz Sr., and his daughter, Emma (Foltz) Benner. It was at this time that the name of the company was changed to the Foltz Manufacturing & Supply Company. Throughout the 1920s, the company continued to grow under the new management. Emma and Robert kept their father’s vision alive by adding more product lines to meet the ever-changing needs of the local industries.

By the late 1940s, the demand for the Foltz Company‘s supply business had grown very large and more space was needed to stock the different products. So, in 1947, a modern warehouse was constructed at 50 McComas Street in the north end of Hagerstown. The new warehouse was built to accommodate the majority of the steel products stocked by the Foltz Company. Since large quantities of steel were commonly transported by railway during this time period, the location was chosen because the property bordered railroad tracks and by installing a ramp next to the tracks, steel could be transferred to and from railroad cars.

In 1951, Robert Foltz Sr. passed away, leaving Emma Benner in complete control of the business. In 1952, the Foltz Company became incorporated. The decision to incorporate had been in the planning stages since 1950, when Robert Foltz Sr. became very ill. All of Robert Foltz Sr.’s children, Henry C. Foltz II, Robert Foltz Jr., and Daniel and Rebecca Foltz became active in the company. In 1961, Emma Benner passed away. The current management has changed somewhat due to the deaths of Daniel Foltz in 1976, Robert G. Foltz Jr. in 1988, Henry C. Foltz II in 1990, and Rebecca Foltz in 1994. Currently managing the company are Henry C. Foltz III, President, and Robert E. Miller, Vice-President.

There are many reasons why the Foltz Manufacturing & Supply Company is a successful small business. The company was founded by a true entrepreneur—Henry C. Foltz. He identified a need for services and products and established a successful enterprise where he marketed these services and products. Over the years, the Foltz Company has proudly carried that reputation and has continually expanded to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers. The Foltz Manufacturing & Supply Company is truly a small business with a successful past and a promising future.