Page 24 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology
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Throwing a “Ringer” with

           More Than Chain and Wire Rope

                                                 by Peter Hildebrandt

         My GPS wants me to proceed straight ahead and then turn down a side street, bringing
         me back the same way I came. But out of the corner of my eye I see the sign of my
         destination. Turning off my GPS, I turn into the company’s driveway. Once a visitor
         finds St. Pierre Chain and Wire Rope, tucked neatly away
         amid the rolling terrain near Worcester, Massachusetts it
         is not long before they will discover there may be more
         to this company than meets the eye.

                ne of the firm’s owners, Richard   shop with three huge forge presses
                St.  Pierre  has  plenty to work   able to make horseshoes all of the time.
         Owith in recounting their past as   “And we  also  make  bocce  balls,”  adds
         well as what they are up to today.  St. Pierre. “Additionally we remain in-
           “At one point we even burned to the   volved in the production of tire chain.”
         ground,  back in 1988,” he explains.   This  means that we  have three  divi-
         “My two brothers and I resurrected the   sions here at St. Pierre Manufacturing,
         firm by rebuilding. We have grown the   tire chains, our rigging division and the
         business  with  the changing  needs of   horseshoe sector of our company, along
         the world around us as well. Currently   with our other recreational products.”
         one of the more interesting parts of   The original old company, St. Pierre
         our  business  –  which  is  very  unusual   Chain went  out of business  in  1965
         among rigging  shops  – is  our  recre-  upon  the  death of  its  founder,  Henry
         ational line. Our chain and wire rope   St. Pierre. The current company start-
         represent the biggest part, some 60% of   ed up a year later in 1966, under the
         operations.                        name St. Pierre Manufacturing.
           “Very few shops have such an activ-  Perhaps the pastoral nature of their
         ity as this involving recreation; we be-  current location can be traced back to   Production  Manager  George  Dudo with
                                                                               Edward and Richard St. Pierre.
         gan making the game of pitching horse-  the family’s roots. This spot was the
         shoes in the 1930s. In fact, we are the   site of the family’s farm in decades   were kids,” says St. Pierre.
         only mass manufacturer of drop forge   past. Brother Henry still lives in the   “The  town  line  goes  right  through
         pitching  horseshoes  left in  the entire   huge white farmhouse a stone’s throw   the property. Though the original plant
         United States.”                    from the two buildings of the busi-  was well within the city of Worcester,
           St.  Pierre  still  has  their  own  forge   ness. “This was our farm when we   this newer location is actually in West
                                                                               Bolyston. Our rigging shop is next door
                                                                               while the forge is on the other side of
                                                                               our main office building. The forge shop
                                                                               is where our horseshoes are made in an
                                                                               ongoing operation.”
                                                                                 “My dad came down to Fort Devin
                                                                               Massachusetts in 1918, during the
                                                                               First World War. A captain in the
                                                                               field artillery, he only had a 6th
                                                                               grade education. He was from a farm
                                                                               in Barre Vermont. But he was a con-
                                                                               summate inventor, always inventing
                                                                               things,  jotting  down  plans  on  nap-
                                                                               kins while at the dinner table. He
                                                                               had some 100 patents.
                                                                                 What truly got things  started was
                                                                               the  fact  that,  in  the  1940’s,  this  firm
                                                                               was the only one producing solid forge
                                                                               anchor  chain,  according  to  St.  Pierre.
                                                                               The company was awarded the con-
                                                                               tract and then forged 27 million pounds
                                                                               of anchor chain – some of which could
                                                                               easily have been on hand at many piv-
         It takes a team effort to build a 2½” wire rope sling. All photos courtesy of St. Pierre Manufacturing.  continued on page 26
         24     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   August 2017
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