Hutchinson Foundry, where manhole covers were cast, closed in 1972

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Hutchinson Foundry, photo courtesy of Linda Laird

The “foundry” in Hutchinson Foundry & Steel Inc., D and Washington, will be a misnomer after Oct. 1.

Blaming federal safety requirements, the firm has announced it will shut down its gray iron foundry on that date.

Ken Green, general manager, said last week that the measure is being taken because of requirements for environmental air dust handling handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Green said that the step is not being taken because of new state air quality requirements.

OSHA has not inspected the Hutchinson foundry. But Green says it would take construction of a new facility to meet the standards which are designed to prevent employees from breathing pollutants.

Hutchinson Foundry, photo courtesy of Linda Laird

Hutchinson Foundry, photo courtesy of Linda Laird

As for the state regulations, Green remains confident that the foundry could meet those regulations. In fact, the state had given preliminary approval for the preliminary design of a scrubber.

The company, which will get a new name, will continue manufacturing structural steel, fabrication and building specialties.

Closing the foundry will mean the loss of 13 employees. But Green expects some of this loss—all of it in the long run—will be offset by the manufacture of a small hydraulic iron worker.

The iron worker was designed and engineered by Harry Oswalt, Garden City, president of the Hutchinson firm. Oswalt hand-built the prototype model which is now in operation at the plant.

Manufacture of the iron worker is expected to begin within six months.

Hutchinson Foundry, photo courtesy of Linda Laird

Hutchinson Foundry, photo courtesy of Linda Laird

The foundry has been working on an arrangement with Wyatt Manufacturing Co., Inc., Salina, whereby the firms patterns and customers will be transferred to Wyatt’s foundry operation.

Hutchinson (Kan.) News, August 13, 1972 

In Hutchinson, foundries create cast of thousands of manhole covers

Castings Plants Held Not Needed

Hutchinson’s industrial development is apparently not wanting in respect to foundries and the manufacture of metal castings.

Interviews with managers of two local firms bear this out. Frank Hulet of M.W. Hartmann Manufacturing Co., 120 North Adams, and Joe O’Sullivan, Sr., of Hutchinson Foundry and Steel Co., Washington and D, both report the Hutchinson market does not near utilize their capacities for production.

“We have more capacity available than is being utilized by local firms,” said Hulet. His company produces gray iron, alloy iron, brass, bronze and aluminum castings. In 1957 they produced 600 tons of gray iron and alloy castings. They did business in Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Missouri.

Hulet pointed out that at the present time they are capable of producing over twice that amount. The company has a second plant at 400 West 2nd in Hutchinson.

M.W. Hartmann Manufacturing Co. makes castings for such industries as hydraulic, agricultural, farm equipment, oil field and municipal. “We furnish our own castings, too,” Hulet said.

O’Sullivan said the work of the Hutchinson Foundry and Steel Co. deals principally with municipal and farm implement castings. They also make iron water well screen.

“The local demand is not over 20 per cent of our production for this area,” said O’Sullivan. He felt that production in their field was more than adequate for Hutchinson needs.

Hutchinson Foundry and Steel Co. is equipped for the heavier type casting work. They meet municipal, highway and agricultural needs and do more outlying area business than local business.

Hutchinson has three main foundry firms, the third being Kraus, Inc., 305 South Monroe.

Hulet summed up the job Hutchinson foundries are doing in meeting local needs when he said, “In comparing Hutchinson’s three foundries with other larger cities having less, I feel there is no need for industrial development here along these lines.”

Hutchinson News, January 22, 1958

Note: Manhole covers used in elevators built by Mayer-Osborn Company and J.H. Tillotson, Contractor were made by Hutchinson Foundry. In 2011, a new foundry was announced as a complement to Hutchinson’s growing wind energy industry.