Gunite Corp, founded in August 1854, is preparing to celebrate 150 years of continuous operation in Rockford IL.
In the early years, Gunite, known then as D Forbes and Son, cast products ranging from stoves to branding irons and wagon axles. In the mid-1800s, it perfected a new high-test iron and began to cast cannon barrels. They called this iron Gunite.
From 1854 through 1864, the foundry was called Eagle Foundry, changing its name to Forest City Foundry in 1864. In 1868, it changed its name to Forbes Malleable Iron Works. In 1873 the family dropped their name from the company and called it Rockford Malleable Iron Works until, in 1928, the name again changed to Rockford Northwestern Malleable Corp. In 1932, the name was changed to Gunite Foundries Corp. In 1960, the name changed to Gunite Division, Kelsey-Hayes Co, and in 1987 the name changed to Gunite Corp.
The Forbes family owned and operated Gunite as a closely held corporation until 1960, when the company was purchased by the Kelsey-Hayes Corp. In 1973, Kelsey-Hayes merged with Fruehauf Corp's Pro-Par division. In 1987, Gunite was acquired by Lovejoy Partners, which purchased other truck component manufacturers to form Truck Components Inc.
After a brief period between 1994 and 1995, when TCI was purchased by Castle Harlan Partners II, Gunite and its sister companies were acquired by Johnstown America Inc. In June 1999, Thomas Begel, chairman of Johnstown, and management personnel purchased and privatized the TCI companies, forming Transportation Technologies Industries Inc.