Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Torrington Casting in Sepia

This is Alan's family business. he's the 3rd generation ( along with his cousin) to run the company. A few weeks ago I went down to take photos for one of their customers ( Kohler) & while I was there just took these. I think they lend themselves to sepia because it is definitely a throw back to another era! It is a brass foundry--they make mostly plumbing parts for toilets & urinals and sinks. Many companies have gone to using plastic, so they're aren't too many foundries left in the US.

Alan & Chip will be the last generation --we have no kids & Chip's don't want anything to do with it---they are hoping to keep it viable til they reach retiremant age, but it's not looking good. It's a shame that small businesses like this ( any business for that matter) are dropping like flies. Alan wasn't even supposed to be working there--he graduated from college with a degree in English --his next older brother Steve was working in the shop --he was killed on his motorcycle in his early 30's ( not his fault) & Alan ended up there!

Many companies also buy from overseas, but Kohler wants their products to have made in USA parts--Alan even ships parts to Mexico & other places Kohler has plants!


Vee said...

Great post, Ann. Such a shame to see the end of an era.

Life's a Beach! said...

Sephia works beautifully with those shots! I'll have to look inside my Kohler toilet! : ) I hope the business makes it until Alan retires.

Jamqueen said...

Thanks to you both!
Depending on what age he wants to retire at, he has at least 4 years til SS kicks in ( at 62). Don't think it will last that long, but if they can hold on.....Otherwise he says he's going to get his real estate license!

Jane said...

Interesting. Some castings are beautiful enough to be displayed as wall art (heavy). My husband owned a pattern-making business, and his patterns (from which foundry molds are made) were shipped to foundries across the U.S. and to other countries, including Mexico. Ten years ago, in rural Yucatan, I noticed some large, somewhat decorative casted parts on clearly antique machines, that were still turning henequen leaves into rope fiber, which a nervous mule was waiting to cart away. Will plastic outwear casted parts? I doubt it. But they are currently cheaper to make.

Jamqueen said...

Jane--Thanks for takng the time to post a comment on my blog. I appreciate it!

Doug (aka Doogan) said...

Interesting post.
This is the industry I grew up in(Crane Brass Foundry)and managed. Kohler was a competitor.
Foundries are falling faster than a speeding bullet. Its an environment thing. Crane had plants all across Canada, they are all gone. They buy valves from China, Taiwan, etc. change an identification tag and say manufactured in Canada. (Value added, allows them to do that.)
Sorry about Alan being turfed out into the mainstream. It isn't easy to start over.