|The Ferno-Washington Manufacturing Company came to Greenfield in 1957. They quickly became a major employer in the community until they relocated at the abandoned Clinton County Air Force Base in 1972. Because of their close proximity to Greenfield, they remain an important factor in the area's economy. The following historical information was copied from the company's website. Click HERE to visit their site. It contains a great deal of interesting information about their products and business.|
The name Ferno-Washington comes from combining two companies Ferno Manufacturing and the Washington Mortuary Supply Company. The Washington Mortuary Supply Company was started in 1924 by William E. Klever in Washington Court House, Ohio. Bill Klever and Dick Ferneau worked together building up the business until Bill's death in 1947. Dick stayed on with the company designing products, purchasing materials and running the plant until June 21, 1955.
In July of 1955, Dick started his own company, naming it Ferno. He rented a building in Staunton, Ohio, seven miles from Washington Court House, Ohio, hired a right-hand man capable of making patterns and doing any type of machining, and bought some used equipment. Ferno Manufacturing was up and running.
A man named Burt Weil came to Ferno Manufacturing with an idea for a "one-man" mortuary cot. The "one-man" cot was a big hit, which in turn caused Ferno Manufacturing to seek larger operating space. In April, 1956, the plant was moved to Circleville, Ohio. Mr. Weil then introduced Dick Ferneau to El Bourgraf. Young Bourgraf, recently released from service and with a college degree, had a good business head and some experience in the funeral home market. At their first meeting, Dick and El agreed that they made a good team and that Ferno Manufacturing had a promising future. El became a full partner.
In June, 1957, they purchased a building and moved the business to Greenfield, Ohio. The business grew rapidly, outselling their competitors Bomgardner Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio and Washington Mortuary Supply Company. After several buy-out attempts, Mrs. Klever finally sold Washington Mortuary Supply Company to Dick and El in 1961. Washington Mortuary had been in business since 1924, so it was decided to combine their names to create Ferno-Washington, Inc.
In 1972, El found an excellent location with ample room to expand if needed. The Clinton County Air Force Base in Wilmington, Ohio became the home of Ferno-Washington, Inc. and its 180 employees.
Looking for other markets to invest in, Ferno-Washington purchased the Health Care Division of Market Forge in 1983. One division, Ferno Forge, was located in Boston, Massachusetts; Ferno Ille division was located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. After adding 70,000 square feet on the Williamsport facility, the Ferno Forge division was moved from Boston to Williamsport in 1985..
In 1987, a three-phase plan was implemented to expand the Wilmington facility. Phase One was to enlarge the shipping area. Phase Two was to connect the existing three buildings under one large roof. Phase Three was to move Ille from Williamsport to Wilmington and to sell Ferno Forge division to Castle.
Being crowded in the office areas, it was decided to erect a 3-story administrative complex. In 1988, the Ille division was made at home in its new surroundings. In the spring of 1989, the administration offices came to life. Old vacated offices became the spacious new homes for support groups such as engineering and research and development. Temperature-controlled environments were built to satisfy the requirements of sophisticated state-of-the-art computer systems.
While expanding domestically, Ferno-Washington was also looking at the global market. Today, our distribution channel includes exclusive and non-exclusive distributors and partially owned subsidiaries. These consist of a wholly-owned subsidiary in England and minority ownership of our distributing companies in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan. A sales manager/resident in Germany, serves the pre-hospital and therapy markets in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the former Eastern-Bloc countries, and a sales manager/resident in the Pacific Basin covers areas between Australia and Japan.
Ferno-Washington, Inc. has changed in many ways over the past years. But, there is one quality that has not changed...the loyalty, dedication and enthusiasm of Ferno-Washington employees.