1935: The “Great Depression” had just ended, the world economy was recovering, and Dr. Harry Furlong realized that America would need steel wire products to fuel that recovery. He founded Industrial Steel Wire Company in a small office and steel wire warehouse at Wabansia and Holt (now Greenview) in Chicago.
1941-1946: During World War II, Harry opened a small machine shop on West Lake Street in Chicago. The new company produced straightened and cut wire and machine parts for submarines, among other war-time requirements. Following the war, Harry sold the machine shop, but kept the straightened and cut wire business.
1958: ISW moved to 35th Place and Albany Street in Chicago when the original warehouse was razed to make way for the soon-to-be-named Kennedy Expressway.
1965: Ralph Furlong, a chemical engineer, purchased the company from his father and moved the operation to a much needed, larger, facility on Palmer and Drake streets in Chicago. The company’s revenue was $180,000 ($1.3m by today’s dollar). Harry passed away in 1967.
1974: Further Expansion was required and the company moved into several buildings near Palmer and Springfield Streets in Chicago. In 1976 ISW opened its first satellite branch in Bristol, CT.
1986-1996: ISW went through a period of rapid expansion. Branches were opened near Los Angeles, CA and in Cleveland, OH. ISW purchased Star Steel & Wire in 1987 and merged it into its Chicago operation. Growth again forced us to upsize and Ralph Furlong purchased the 150,000 sq ft warehouse on Narragansett that is headquarters for the company today. The purchase of a west-coast division of National Standard in 1991, greatly expanded California sales and introduced slitting and strip products to the company. Our Charlotte, NC branch was opened in 1994. By the end of 1996 our sales had grown to over $50m.
2001-2003: During the recession that followed 9/11, Dr, Brian Furlong took charge of company operations as Executive Vice President. Through careful planning and restructuring, ISW not only survived the recession but was positioned to thrive during the recovery.
2006: Dr. Furlong became President and opened our Houston, TX branch in 2008.
2012: ISW purchased all the inventory assets of a major mid-west cold-heading quality wire distribution company and added Cold-Heading Wire to our growing product offerings.
For over 77 years, Industrial Steel & Wire has provided the highest level of service and quality to our clients. We started out a Carbon Steel Wire distributor but we have grown to include Stainless Steel, and Non-Ferrous Wires for sales into the Spring, Forming, and Cold-Heading industries. Our wire services include torsion-straightening and straighten cutting wires. In our California division our products also include Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and Non-Ferrous Strip products as well as Custom Slitting, Tension-Leveling, and Cut-to-Length services.