Our story starts in 1875 when Solon Totten (1847—1932) traveled to Texas on horseback from Quincy, Illinois in search of better conditions for the family blacksmith business. Upon his arrival in Sherman, Solon discovered a bustling community on the Butterfield Overland Trail, complete with multiple stage companies and freight terminals.
There in Sherman, Solon saw a need for blacksmith services and persuaded his father and family to make the move to Texas. In 1876, Solon and his brother Levi (1844—1915) opened ”Totten Bros. Blacksmith” on Cherry Street. Max and Adolph Seisfeld, L. L. Rousel, Noah Swain, and Levi and Solon Totten were the original stockholders of the company, which primarily produced wagon wheels.
After moving to North Walnut Street in 1877, the name was changed to “Washington Iron Works” (1881) and the firm finally settled at the current site on East Lamar Street in 1885. By 1893, the Totten Brothers and their father Joseph (1821—1906) retained full control, and by 1904, Joseph and Levi Totten had each sold his interest. Solon, active until 1922, and his sons Harry (1877—1964) and Jesse (1880—1946) operated the company for the next 50 years.
The foundry section, which produced cast iron products, closed in 1938, moving the emphasis toward the machine shop, which specialized in the repair and maintenance of steam engines. During World War II, the Iron Works made gun barrel molds for the Watertown Arsenal, and salvaged diesel engine parts for The United States Navy’s Bureau of Ships. The company was awarded the Army-Navy “E” Award for excellence in production of war equipment.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, Washington Iron Works turned its focus to service work related to natural gas pipelines and the petrochemical industry. Heralded as a leader in the industry today, Washington Iron Works is considered the authority throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Far East. The company has been in continuous operating for more than 140 years.
In 2023, Washington Iron Works became a multi-location organization with the addition of The Pros Company in Lubbock, Texas and Chrome Machine in Amarillo, Texas. With our combined experience we look forward to serving our customers well into the future.
At Washington Iron Works, we offer a diverse range of services including high-tech welding, head rebuild, pump repair, CNC manufacturing, compressor and engine part restoration, custom engineering, field machining, crankshaft reconditioning, non-destructive testing, and more. With quick turnaround times and a commitment to quality, trust us for all your machining and repair needs.