Oldest Commercial Heat Treater in North America

November 20th 2018 we speculated on this page that Bennett Heat Treat headquartered in NJ, USA and founded in 1923 might be the oldest commercial heat treater in North America at 95 years. A few readers chimed in suggesting Robert Wooler Company which was also founded in 1923 and Metlab which was founded in 1928. However to date the oldest that we have run across is Commercial Steel Treating Company in Michigan started in 1916 by Anthony and Ralph Hoensheid. Scott Hoensheid sent us this timeline.

  • Hoensheid Steel Treating formed in 1916 by Anthony and Ralph Hoensheid (Father and Son). Both were Metallurgists at Detroit Twist Drill as well.


  • Commercial Steel Treating Incorporated in 1927 by Ralph Hoensheid. Ralph was instrumental in the heater’s club and was the second President of MTI.


  • Ralph’s son’s Merle and Warren Hoensheid took over upon his passing in 1950.


  • Commercial Steel continued its growth through the war and Plant 2 began in 1954 in Madison Heights Michigan.


  • Curtis Processing was added in 1962 in Ecorse Michigan. Moved to Troy, Michigan in 1963. Curtis Coatings began in Sterling Heights Michigan in mid-70’s, Combined to form Curtis Metal Finishing Company in 1988 in Sterling Heights, MI


  • Merle passed away in 1990 and the business was passed to his 5 son’s (Ralph, Mark, Scott, Kurt and Craig).


  • Curtis Metal Finishing (Machesney Park, Illinois) began in 1993.


  • Ralph and Mark retired in 2002.


  • Curtis Thermal Processing began (Machesney Park, IL) began in 2008.


  • Brothers Scott, Kurt and Craig still retain major ownership and took on an Equity partner (HCI Equity) in 2015.


  • Growth in both Heating and Metal Finishing continues to be rapid and will continue!


  • Pictures: Hoensheid Steel Treating ~1917, Commercial Steel 1927, Commercial Steel Plant 1, ~1950, Commercial Plant 2 ~1988, Curtis metal Finishing (Machesney Park, IL) ~1999.