The original name of the local foundrymen’s organization was “Twin City Founders and Machinists,” according to the Minneapolis city directory of 1900. As the name indicates, this group included machine shops as well as foundries, and the foundries predominated in membership. The exact date of the organization is not known, but it was founded in the late eighteen nineties. A few years later, the group became an organization exclusively for foundries, and it became known as the Twin City Foundrymen’s Association.
The first meetings of the Twin City Foundrymen’s Association were informal gatherings to discuss mutual foundry difficulties and common labor problems. Since most shops were not unionized in 1902-1903, the organization acted as a negotiating agent for the Molder’s Union #176 and Machinist’s Union #232, signing a contract for both unions. The action caused the organization to adopt a constitution and bylaws. The Twin City Foundrymen’s Association consisted of a chairman, secretary, treasurer, and an executive committee. The executive committee was composed of an equal number of members from St. Paul and Minneapolis. Mr. E. H. Merrill, Twin City Iron Works of Minneapolis, was the first secretary, and his years of service are not known. Succeeding Mr. Merrill was Mr. C. E. Langdon, Kinnard & Sons Manufacturing and later Diamond Iron Works of Minneapolis, who served until his death in 1935.
During the early years of the association and after World War I, meetings were held at the Minneapolis Athletic Club and continued at that location for many years. After a long period of no annual dues and rising expenses, the association voted to require membership dues of $10 per year per foundry and $.60 per foundry employee. These dues remained in effect until the Depression when a majority of foundries dropped their memberships. Nine companies were credited with actively continuing their memberships through difficult years: American Hoist & Derrick Company, St. Paul Foundry Company, Union Brass & Metal Manufacturing Company, St. Paul Brass Foundry Company, Northern Malleable Iron Company, R.R. Howell Company, Minneapolis Electric Steel Castings Company, Western Alloyed Steel Castings Company, and The Crown Iron Works.
During the years 1935-1943, Mr. O.W. Potter served as the organization’s secretary and its chairman in 1940-1941. He was instrumental in organizing the members to vote on becoming a part of the nationally known American Foundrymen’s Association. Mr. C. E. Madsen of the Andersen Company in Bayport was elected the first chairman of the Twin Cities Chapter American Foundrymen’s Association. He was officially installed at a meeting at the White Pine Inn at Bayport on May 26th, 1941.
Becoming a chapter of the American Foundrymen’s Association brought major changes in the membership. Foundry equipment suppliers were permitted membership. In more recent years, casting buyers, educators, students, environmental consultants, and utility companies have become members. Each of these entities have contributed greatly to the operation and success of the chapter, as well as to the metal casting industry.
In July of 2000, the American Foundrymen’s Society became the “American Foundry Society.” It continues to exist to provide and promote knowledge and services that strengthen the metalcasting industry for the ultimate benefit of its customers and the Society. The objectives of the Twin Cities Chapter are those of the American FoundrySociety, namely,exclusively to advance through research and education the arts and sciences relating to the manufacturing and utilization of metalcastings.
Written by Patricia Ponath, TC Chapter AFS, Secretary 1987-1997