One of the oldest, long-standing manufacturing plants in WNY is celebrating a major milestone. Buffalo Wire Works was founded in 1869, and is celebrating 150 years in the Queen City.
Buffalo Wire Works opened up shop on Clinton Street the same year the first transcontinental railroad was completed. Before the light bulb and telephone, the company started creating specialty screens.
No, not window screens.
The screens they create sort items. Many are used in quarrys to size and sift whatever the quarry is extracting. And a large amount of the screens are also sold to food manufacturers too. They’re also used to make your prescription pills, and even the roads and bridges you drive on every day.
“Your spices, your salts, your sugars, typically all need to go through a screen first to be sized, same with your pharmesetuicals,” Max Davis said, the VP of business management at Buffalo Wire Works. “The pills you’re taking usually go through a screen first to get proper chemical to compound the pill. And then your infrastructure: your roads, your bridges, new development, all that material go through a screen first.”
Buffalo Wire Works was started by Martin Scheeler, Sr. back in 1869. The business stayed in his family until the early 2000s, when Joe Abramo took over. Soon, Joe’s son-in-law, Max Davis, will take over for him.
Today, there are about 200 employees who work in two Buffalo plants, a plant in Colorado, and one in Nevada. Buffalo Wire Works has an internship program with UB, and hire a lot of their graduates.
“It’s a place that I can really flourish, and my work gets noticed here,” Jay Doshi said, a quality manager there, and UB grad.
And the company has about 70 refugees on payroll as well. Michel Mukendi was working with Doshi when News 4 visited Wednesday. Mukendi escaped violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and started at Buffalo Wire Works about two months ago.
“They’re hard workers, we really enjoy working with them (and) they’re eager to learn,” Davis said. “And at the same time, we like to coach them and help them learn their math skills and their English skills so not just here at Buffalo Wire, but when they go home, they can really establish them in their community and U.S. community.”
Davis said there are even refugees who have moved up in the company, and are now supervisors and managers.
And the Buffalo Wire Works continues to grow… and transform. They’re now creating urethane screens, and ones made of rubber. It’s a rapidly growing product for the company.
“We’re more than a wire company,” Davis said.
Whether it’s with wire or not, Davis said Buffalo Wire Works is here for the long haul. Maybe even another 150 years, in the same spot where it all began.