About Us |
Welded Tubes was incorporated and opened in 1958, in Orwell, Ohio by the Lewis family of Warren, Ohio. The Ashtabula County plant had previously been owned and operated by the Brainard Steel Company (Sharon Steel), as a tube manufacturing facility. Re-opened as WTI, the management initially planned to manufacture and supply carbon steel tubing to the automotive industry. Unfortunately, due to timing issues, the U.S. economy was in the beginning of a recession that affected the auto industry adversely, forcing WTI to diversity and look to other manufacturing areas. Welded Tubes began supplying the Floor Care Industry with high quality vacuum cleaner handles and wands. Because this product needed to be of high quality for fabrication and plating purposes, this business partnership proved to be an excellent match. By 1965, vacuum wand and handles were the primary and largest market segment for the company, and stayed that way for almost 30 years.
By the mid 1990's, WTI had grown to 100+ employees with three operations: WTI, Steel Coil Processing Co., and its subsidiary, Steel Tube Fabricating Co. Steel Coil Processing formed in 1975 was used to purchase master coils from the large steel mills like USS, WCI, and ArcelorMittal, and further processed these coils into slit product to be consumed by WTI. Steel Tube Fabricating was developed to manufacture product and service the floor care manufacturers in North America including Hoover, Electrolux, Matsushita and Eureka, among others. With the influx of the offshore and Mexican product, and the movement of the OEMs to these countries, Steel Tube Fabricating lost its market base and closed in 2003. Because of a change in marketing practices of the large steel mills, and the obsolescence of a key piece of equipment, Steel Coils Processing Company closed in 2005. It became more economically feasible and less risky and costly to contract an outside slitting source than continuing with the current company structure.
Fortunately, during the early 2000's,
WTI began to diversify into other key markets, which included the Automotive, Appliance, Lighting and Truck sectors. This diversification led to outstanding growth from 2003 through today.
In 2020, Welded Tubes was purchased by Lock Joint Tube, Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana. Lock Joint Tube manufactures mechanical and structural grade steel tubing in four plants located in Indiana, Texas and Tennessee.
Overall, the company maintains a very good reputation throughout the county and Orwell community. The company routinely supports the local schools and charities through financial donations, as well as giving time and manpower when needed. The majority of the WTI workforce has local ties to the community, and either live, or have been raised in the Orwell/Ashtabula County area.