Hartzell Hardwoods History
PRIDE IN EVERY BOARD.
Hartzell Hardwoods Has Over 140 Years Experience with Walnut Lumber and Thick Stock Oak Lumber.
The Hartzell Company was founded in 1875 when John T. Hartzell borrowed $25 from his uncle to go into the wagon business because he no longer wanted to work on the family farm. He soon set up a sawmill to supply the Oak and Ash lumber needed for his business. George W. Hartzell, his son, bought the company in 1900 and began specializing in Walnut lumber for the European market.
When a World War I embargo shut off lumber markets into Europe, Hartzell turned to production of walnut gunstocks and walnut airplane propellers for the war effort. Hartzell’s propeller manufacturing experience had a simple beginning, as the first blades were literally chopped out of glued-up walnut blocks with hatchets. During World War II, Hartzell again furnished many of the gunstocks that were used.
After World War II, Hartzell Hardwoods continued to lead the Hardwood Lumber industry in innovation and diversification.
Over the last 20 years, Hartzell Hardwoods has experienced fast and dramatic growth by doubling kiln, steambox, and predryer capacity. We have built two high-tech Lumber Grading Systems with width-sorting capabilities. In addition our marketing base has continued to expand by diversifying heavily into the export market. Today, we export our lumber throughout 40 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. We continue to diversify our market base as well as keeping the advances in technology on the front burner, as we have characterized throughout our 140-year history.
A List of “Firsts” to Harzell’s Credit
- Pioneered the steaming of Walnut to turn its white sapwood into a walnut color, a process universally adopted by the hardwood industry.
- First to develop a dual matic grade sawmill enabling two circle saws side-by-side to manufacture two boards simultaneously.
- Developed the first unitized sawmill with vertical edger.
- Developed the first small log turning arrangement that permitted logs to be turned while still dogged.
- Developed automated sawmill carriage with hydraulic setworks, a shifting knee and hydraulic tapers.