An American Success Story
Pennsylvania native Joseph Ward founded Ward Manufacturing, L.L.C. in Blossburg, PA in 1924. Initially the company produced a small line of cast iron steam and drainage fittings, along with plugs and bushings. Within four years Ward’s reputation for quality was established, and demand skyrocketed. In 1928 the company’s manufacturing facilities doubled in size, and it introduced a new product line: Class 150 malleable iron fittings. Ward continued to grow, adding a facility to produce malleable iron pipe unions in 1938.
An early adopter of automation, Ward opened a highly automated foundry in 1955 to keep up with demand for competitively priced Ward products. While it has been transformed over the decades through continued improvement and reinvestment, this facility continues to produce fittings, using the fastest, most current automated molding equipment.
The spring of 1980 was a time of milestones for Ward, as it introduced a series of new products 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.
It was also in 1990 that Ward introduced a revolutionary new product: WARDFLEX. The flexible corrugated stainless steel tubing first came to the U.S. in 1986 under the name of SOFLEX. At the time Hitachi Metals America was working with the American Gas Association (AGA) and Gas Research Institute to develop SOFLEX product standards. While the technology had been used in Japan for years, it was virtually unknown in the U.S.
Ward Manufacturing became part of the Hitachi family in 1990, and took the lead in promoting SOFLEX technology under the name WARDFLEX. Soon after, the AGA certified WARDFLEX for use throughout the U.S. Since that time, WARDFLEX has gained recognition in the four major model codes in the U.S. and now has code recognition in all 50 states.
In 2006, Ward Manufacturing acquired Wisconsin Nipple and Fitting Corporation, now known as Ward Nipples, adding a full range of welded, seamless and stainless steel pipe nipples to its product line. Ward has continued to add new products, always with the same high quality standards, introducing a line of steel couplings in 2009.