Bertsch: A History of Quality and Innovation

Bertsch and Company is world-renowned for innovative, heavy-duty metal rolling equipment.

Bertsch and Company enjoyed a long history of manufacturing innovative bending rolls, which Piranha is proud to continue today.

Bertsch and Company History

Bertsch, world-renowned for its innovative, heavy-duty metal rolling equipment, got its start in 1879, when brothers and business partners Charles & John Bertsch bought the Cambridge City Agriculture Machine Works in Cambridge City, IN.

The company produced small agricultural implements until the late 1880s, when it changed its product line to light-duty sheet metal fabricating tools, designed by Charles Bertsch and Herman Schelhammer. Around the same time, the company’s name changed to Bertsch and Company.

Family Run for Nearly a Century

It was also in the 1880s that John Bertsch was killed in an accident at the plant. As a result, Charles Bertsch and his sons bought John’s share of the business from his heirs. It was the last change in ownership for nearly 100 years.

The operation added a foundry around 1893 so that it could make components for the equipment it was producing. In its early years, the company mostly sold fabricating tools, including hand- and treadle-operated punches and shears.

Bertsch incorporated in 1911, raising $60,000 for expansion plans through the sale of preferred and common stock. All shares were repurchased over the next 20 years by the Bertsch family, which remained involved in the company into the 1980s.

The Trusted Brand in Bending Rolls

By the late 1910s, Charles Bertsch held 17 patents for Bertsch Company products, including hydraulic shears, improvements in bending rolls, improvements in combination machines and shearing machines and shear-feeding mechanisms.

Bertsch continued to manufacture and ship the bending rolls that would make its name in the industry. Bertsch bending rolls played an important role in the construction of both nuclear submarines and the United States’ first nuclear cruiser. Other industries to rely on Bertsch plate rollers include nuclear power and offshore oil towers.

Innovation continued to be at the forefront of Bertsch’s growth, and the company was the first bending roll manufacturer to use transistorized A.C. controls on plate bending machines.

The Bertsch family sold the company to Deem-Eubanks International in 1978, although members of the family’s fourth generation continued to work at Bertsch and Company after the sale.