Submitted by Richard K. Fleischer
Van Huffel Tube Co. – est. 1910 –
Was originally located in Mishawaka, Indiana. Isadore Van Huffel was the president of the company. Company moved to Warren in 1924, occupying the old King Furniture buildings on Niles Rd. for two years carrying on extensive experimentation on improving the company’s rolling process. The plant began production in 1926 and had 6 employees. The plant produced lock-joint tubing and various parts for the auto industry. Van Huffel then designed machinery to make bedstead tubing and butted tubing.
Business increased and more floor space was needed so Van Huffel re-located the business in 1928 to the former Sterling-Knight auto assembly plant building on Dietz Rd. Sterling-Knight had produced it’s last automobile at the plant in 1925. By 1937 the plant employed 220 workers. (Tribune 4/3/1937). This became Van Huffel Tube Co. Plant #1 Previous to the Sterling-Knight automobile company the Superior Automobile Company produced automobile engines for a car company in Cleveland.
Van Huffel Tube, now located in the Golden Triangle, expanded. By 1961 Van Huffel became the largest producer of rolled, die formed tubing sections, but still produced lock joint and butted tubing of various shapes. In May of 1962, the largest annealing furnace in the U.S. designed for a specific type of work was placed into service at Van Huffel Tube Co. Another major expansion was undertaken in 1963 with the construction of a “looping tower” to store coiled steel, a new tube welder, and a new draw bench.
Van Huffel Tube was sold to Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. in 1968 with Harold Van Huffel getting a seat on the YS&T Board of Directors and being named as YS&T Vice President. (Tribune 1967, 1/1/68) The plant went into bankruptcy in 1985,was sold to AARQUE Management Co. ((probably a hedge fund), and closed in 1987.
In it’s day, the Van Huffel Tube Company was considered to be the finest tube mill in the world.