Vintage “Martin” cast iron pieces while they can be found, don’t come around often. Pieces in good condition fetch a premium price. Lids have uniquely shaped handles and often sell from $25 to $50 for the lid alone.
We rate these very desirable to collectors. Due to the fact there aren’t too many that seem to surface in prime condition.
History that is available on the internet:
1905- The two brothers W.H Martin and Charles Martin founded King Stove & Range Co in Sheffield, AL. They made coal and wood heaters, cooking stoves, and ranges.
1918 – The Martins purchase a failing foundry just across the river from Sheffield, AL. They acquired this business and incorporated it as Martin Stove and Range Co, a separate business from King Stove and Range. In addition to making coal and wood stoves, they produced hollow ware, iron skillets, and clothes pressing irons known as “sad” irons.
1939 – The Martins expanded their holdings. They bid on machinery of a bankrupted manufacturing plant in Huntsville, AL. They won the bid and created their third business, Martin Stamping and Stove Co. This company started producing gas heaters.
1941-1976 – During World War II both of Martins foundries manufactured magazine heaters for the Army. The Martins Stamping facility made bomb crates and some other items. At the end of the war they returned to making gas, wood, and coal heating units. They added electrical in the 1950’s. Demand for electric heaters increased. They opened a new plant in Athens, AL in 1966. Also located in Athens, the Marin Fireplace division. This business grew thanks to the Marin Firecones (1966) and zero-clearance Fireplaces (1970) 1974 – The three Martin holdings companies merged into Martin Industries Inc.
1977-90 – Martin expands. The Sheffield Plant discontinues foundry operations and converts to stamping and fabrication. The Florence Plant was retooled into a highly automated foundry. In the late 1970’s they needed additional space and purchased a plant in Americus, GA. and started producing its Ashley heaters. They continued to expand and acquired additional business including a Canadian company.
1997-2001 The Company faced tough times. Their net losses in 1998 reach $3.5 million, jumping to $6.2 the next year. In 2000 they reported a loss of $24.6 million. This was attributed to their inability to manufacture and ship hearth products on time due to problems encountered when they put in place a new distribution system. Sales plummeted. Many cost cutting measures were implemented.
Their chances of becoming profitable again is strong. They currently compete against BBQ’s Galore, Lennox, and Weber, to name a few.
We are looking for updates and more details concerning the history of this company. If you can help please contact us.