Memories of a global business still making powdered metallurgy products in our backyard

Hoeganaes Christmas Charms

Last summer I received an email from Ginny Wierski with this message:

I formerly worked at the Hoeganaes Corp. and have some pins from the company that they handed out each year to their employees. I was wondering if you would want them for your society? 

Would I??? I wrote back:

Yes, Ginny, we would like to take you up on your offer. Those items would be a great reminder of a business that was once such a big part of life here for so long. When I was teaching at Riverton School, I recall a few kids having parents who worked there.

In November I posted the above photo on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what they are.

Click on the image at left to see a 20-second animation that shows each charm along with the card that accompanied it.

Brief History of Hoeganaes

Among the items Ginny donated were this 1982 Brief History of Hoeganaes and several company newsletters from Dorothy Armstrong, a forty-year employee of the company.

Aerial View of Hoeganaes Sponge Iron Corp. 1963

The sprawling Taylors Lane plant still manufactures sponge iron powders and is listed as “Headquarters” on the corporate website.

Hoeganaes is actually now GKN Hoeganaes, part of GKN Group, which is a global engineering business with locations in over thirty countries and has more than 58,000 employees. The company was formerly known as Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds and can trace its origins back to 1759 and the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

After browsing the GKN website I have a new appreciation of the amazing applications of powdered metallurgy. GKN Hoeganaes’ customers include GM, VW, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Borg-Warner, Bosch, and many others. There is a good chance you have a smartphone, lawn mower, refrigerator, HVAC system, vehicle, electronic device, or another such consumer item that utilizes powdered metal components.

Coincidentally, GKN is in the news this week because the British registered company is fighting off a hostile takeover bid.

The Society strives to uncover such things to help connect members to their past experiences. Our memories and records of people, events, institutions, businesses, community groups, and traditions ultimately comprise our history.

Please contact us if you have a comment or something to add.  -JMc