Heintz Corporation recordsCreation: 1921-1990
The Heintz Manufacturing Company was originally organized by Leo Heintz in Philadelphia in 1921. The firm initially manufactured all-steel pre-assembled truck bodies but later expanded to produce a wide range of pressed sheet-metal products. The records primarily focus on the company’s contractual obligations with the US Navy during World War II; employee retirement and pension plans; descriptions of various welding processes and tools, and material related to the licensing of cold welding under the trademark, "Koldweld."
- Creation: 1921-1990
- Heintz Corporation (Organization)
2 Linear Feet
The Heintz Manufacturing Company was organized by Leo Heintz in Philadelphia in 1921. Originally, the firm manufactured all-steel pre-assembled truck bodies but later expanded to produce a wide range of pressed sheet-metal products under its "Steelprest" label, including metal furniture, appliance cabinets, caskets, vending machines, beer barrels and juice cans. During World War II, it produced bomb casings, grenades, torpedoes, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns and first began the manufacture of airplane parts.
Heintz died in 1943, and his estate sold the business to Eugene G. Grace of Bethlehem Steel, who gave it to his two sons to operate. In 1957, they sold it to the Kelsey-Hayes Company, a manufacturer of auto wheel rims, becoming the Heintz Division. The Heintz plant gradually concentrated on the aerospace market, becoming a leading maker of precision sheet metal weldments for turbine engines. The original automotive lines were concentrated at other Kelsey-Hayes facilities. However, Kelsey-Hayes dismantled Heintz's R&D capacity, and the plant lost much of its flexibility and innovative ability. Kelsey-Hayes became overextended in the recession of the early 1970s and became a subsidiary of the Fruehauf Corporation in 1973.
Fruehauf became the target of a hostile takeover in 1986. To avoid the takeover, it was purchased by a group of its own executives in a leveraged buyout, and to finance the buyout, all of the aerospace subsidiaries, including Heintz, were sold in 1987. At this time the Heintz property was incorporated as the Heintz Corporation. The purchaser was a 31-year-old real estate entrepreneur from Chicago named William J. Stoecker. In 1989, Stoecker was forced into bankruptcy for non-payment of bank loans. Heintz was sold to RDK Capital, a Cleveland investment partnership, in 1990, but because of the demoralization of the previous four years, the company ceased operations early in 1994.
Arranged alphabetically by document type or subject.
Scope and Content
The Heintz Corporation records primarily focus on the company’s contractual obligations with the US Navy during the 1940s; employee retirement and pension plans; descriptions of various welding processes and tools; and correspondence relating to the invention and licensing of the Koldweld process by the General Electric Company, Ltd., a British welding equipment manufacturer. There is also some material on the various mergers and corporate buyouts that effected the Heintz Corporation in the mid-to-late 1980s, but no information on the company’s eventual dissolution in 1994.
Documents related to the Heintz Corporation’s contracts with the US Navy consist of correspondence detailing the company’s attempts at renegotiating its original contracts to increase its profit margin on armament produced for the Navy during World War II. Also included are proceedings brought against the Army Board of Contract Appeals regarding the lack of royalties received by Heintz in regard to a patent for rocket launchers made by cold extrusion methods.
Of particular note is correspondence on the development and marketing of cold pressure welding by the General Electric Company, Ltd. Moreover, the correspondence covers the attempts at licensing the Koldweld process by the Koldweld Corporation, a New York company organized for the sole propose of granting licenses under Koldweld patents and applications. The principle correspondents are Koldweld Corp. president William Dubilier, and its executive vice president, August C. Esenwein. Also included are photonegative copies of patents related to various cold welding methods, and inquiries made to advertisers for the purpose of promoting the Koldweld process in trade literature and magazines.
Other items of note include two work order estimate books, which track the specific items the company manufactured, as well as the client for which they were produced; Koldweld’s address book for potential clients; and Heintz Corp.’s retirement and profit-sharing plan for employees from the late 1940s.
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Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Heintz Corporation records
- Clayton J. Ruminski
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