In 1924, Mr. Joseph Ward founded Ward Manufacturing, L.L.C. in Blossburg, Pennsylvania. With approximately thirty employees, the company began producing a small line of cast iron steam and drainage fittings along with cast iron plugs and bushings.
Over the next four years, the demand for Ward products increased rapidly. In 1928 the manufacturing facilities doubled in size and Class 150 malleable iron fittings were introduced. During the next decade, Ward continued to grow and added a facility to produce malleable iron pipe unions in 1938.
To stay ahead of growing customer preference for competitively priced Ward products, a highly automated foundry was erected in 1955. Through constant maintenance, continued improvement and reinvestment, this facility continues to produces fittings using the most current molding equipment available.
In May 1980, a series of new Ward products were introduced including: Class 300 brass-to-brass seated unions, beam clamps, C-clamps, Wardlox plain-end fittings, and Couplox grooved end fittings. In 1990, the Ward product line expanded again to include Teelox mechanical branch connectors, meter swivels and ferrules and connecting nuts. Also added was a revolutionary new product called WARDFLEX.
WARDFLEX Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing for piping of fuel gases was originally introduced into the U.S. in 1986 under the name of SOFLEX. At that time, Hitachi Metals America (Piping Components Division) was actively working on developing SOFLEX product standards with the American Gas Association and the Gas Research Institute.
Although used in Japan for a number of years, SOFLEX was virtually unheard of in the USA. Substantial effort was required to gain the acceptance of using flexible gas tubing versus conventional steel pipe, particularly in multi-family housing projects. Also, unlike Japan, there were numerous approval levels required in the U.S. prior to use of SOFLEX.
In 1990, Ward Manufacturing became part of the Hitachi family and was responsible for promoting the unique SOFLEX technology under a new WARDFLEX product name. Soon after, the American Gas Association certified the WARDFLEX system for use throughout the U.S. Since that time, WARDFLEX has gained recognition in the four major model codes in the U.S. and has Code recognition in all 50 states.
In 2006, Ward Manufacturing acquired Wisconsin Nipple and Fitting Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Primarily a manufacturer of carbon welded and seamless pipe nipples for the industrial pipe-valve-fittings (PVF) market, Wisconsin Nipple also manufactures stainless steel and brass nipples for the sprinkler and plumbing applications. Cutting and threading pipe and nipples since 1950, Wisconsin Nipple has earned a reputation as the nipple industry quickest shipper.
Today, Ward, WARDFLEX and Wisconsin Nipple are distributed through plumbing and heating or HVAC wholesalers. Ward has established a distributor network that maintains inventories in thousands of locations across the United States and Canada.