Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wendell August Forge

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wendell August Forge

Posted by Wendell August Forge on Mar 30th 2023

It’s not every day that you hear about a company thriving over a 100-year period, let alone one that doesn’t revolve around technology, mass production, or instant gratification. Since 1923, Wendell August Forge has made uniquely crafted pieces with precision and attention to detail by hand, and shows no signs of slowing or stopping.

From making elevator doors to metal crafting party gifts and Christmas ornaments, Wendell August Forge has transformed over the last 100 years. Here’s how the business has evolved since its inception, and what to expect in the near — and distant — future, including its recently launched 1923 art deco-inspired collection.

The History of Wendell August Forge

Wendell McMinn August founded Wendell August Forge in 1923. At the time, he was a coal mine owner. While building his home, he realized he couldn’t find the iron details and door latches he wanted, so he decided to engage a blacksmith in his mine to hand-forge his own. Soon after, Wendell August Forge was in business.

During the early days of the company, Wendell August Forge worked with Alcoa, a famous Pittsburgh aluminum company, to create the iron gates and elevator doors for their new research facility.

The Alcoa team was so impressed by Wendell August’s work that they asked him to create decorative trays inpsired by the design of the elevator doors. This was the first gift item produced by his namesake company, laying the foundations for what Wendell August Forge has since become. 

[Our company] was initially architectural, and because of a client asking us to transform elevator doors into trays, we became a giftware company,” shared Alex DeGroff, digital marketing representative for Wendell August Forge.

The community of Pittsburgh has made a major impact on the company, and not just because of a project during its early years. In 2010, when its flagship store and factory burned down from a fire started by a spark from an electric ventilation fan, their relationship with the Pittsburgh Penguins single-handedly saved the company.

“This was a pivotal moment in our history,” said DeGroff. “When our flagship store and factory burned down, which was considered a national landmark, it was devastating,” But because the Pittsburgh Penguins upfront a payment on a large project, they single handedly saved the company.”


How Wendell August Forge Has Adapted Over Time

For decades, Wendell August Forge has made trays and custom plates for celebrations. Around 1980, the wife of the new owner of Wendell August came up with Christmas ornaments, which are now among the company’s best selling products. Since this transition, the company has sold hundreds of thousands of ornaments.

“At the end of the day, we evolve with our customers,” said DeGroff. “We have the retail side and custom product side, which both influence each other. We look for trends that we think our clients will like, but then sometimes they tell us what they want, and both influence what we create over time.”

While the company continues to create and sell its most popular Christmas ornaments and other products, the team at Wendell August Forge feels confident in its ability to both follow trends to meet customer demand while providing artisan goods that are truly unique and offer the same high-quality craftsmanship and aesthetic beauty as the Wendell’s original creations.

“We recently started making iPhone holders and other smartphone holders during the pandemic to use during Zoom meetings that can hold your phone and still look beautiful,” shared DeGroff.

Other best-sellers include the NFL items, which the Wendell August Forge team plans to expand on in the near future.

“Part of our strategy is to expand through additional licensing opportunities,” shared Erin Lewis (Marketing Director). “We’re always thinking of what the next thing is, and in the next 100 years, we’re looking to gain more licensing opportunities outside of the scope of the NFL and into other sports.”

Celebrating 100 Years of Wendell August Forge with the 1923 Collection

In honor of Wendell August Forge and its 100 year anniversary, the company has launched its 1923 art deco-inspired entertainment collection. Each month, Wendell August Forge will introduce a limited edition piece focused on celebrating the 1923 era.

Each piece is unique in its own way - most are “from the vault” and use old shapes and dies that the company no longer uses. Additionally, each piece is limited edition and will include a signature on its back showcasing that it’s a 1/100. With this collection, Wendell August Forge hopes to commemorate their successes and share this special moment with its customers — the people who have kept the old-world metal crafting tradition alive and well.

Here’s to another 100 years of Wendell August Forge!

{ "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "BlogPosting", "mainEntityOfPage": { "@type": "WebPage", "@id": "https://www.wendellaugust.com/" }, "headline": "Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wendell August Forge", "description": "In honor of the 100-year anniversary of Wendell August Forge, we’re launching a 1923 collection with some of our favorite, limited edition pieces.", "image": "", "author": { "@type": "person", "name": "Wendell August Forge", "url": "https://www.wendellaugust.com/" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Wendell August Forge", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "" } }, "datePublished": "03-30-2023" }