Charter Steel is a member of Charter Manufacturing, a privately owned family of companies that has adhered to a simple, successful formula for three generations: "Do something different and do it right to achieve the highest quality product."
This "Charter Philosophy" began in the early 1900s with Alfred Mellowes, who designed the revolutionary iceless refrigerator later to be known as Frigidaire. Alfred sold the concept to William Durant, the father of General Motors, and then entered the lock washer business by founding the Milwaukee Lock Washer Company. Five years later he sold the business only to start another new business, Charter Wire, in 1936 to supply the Milwaukee Lock Washer Company with steel wire. Alfred's son, Charles N. Mellowes, was named to lead Charter Wire.
The second current member of the Charter Manufacturing Family – Charter Automotive – was established in 1948 as Milwaukee Wire Products. It soon became the nation's largest manufacturer of fluid-level indicators and a major supplier of intravenous bottle holders, auto trunk latches and other metal components. The rapid growth of both Charter Wire and Milwaukee Wire required a reliable supply of steel. John Mellowes, Alfred's grandson, decided to integrate vertically.
In 1978, John Mellowes formed Charter Rolling, which specialized in servicing the cold-heading and cold-forming markets. It became the first mill in the world to produce 4 millimeter wire rod. The establishment of Charter Electrical Melting in 1981 completed the vertical integration initiative. In 1985, Charter Steel opened a state-of-the-art processing plant for cleaning, coating, annealing and wire drawing.
In 1991, Charter Steel built a melt shop in Saukville, creating a completely integrated mini mill at one site. Throughout the 1990s, Charter continued its expansion into high-quality and niche markets and continuously expanded its melt shop, rolling mill and processing facilities.
Charter Steel continually looks for new ways to better serve existing and potential customers. In November 2000, it opened a full-service processing and distribution facility near Toledo, Ohio, to better serve its customers.
In 2002, Charter Steel purchased the American Steel and Wire division of Birmingham Steel to significantly increase its coil-making capacity and provide customers with a wide range of products. Providing customers with the exact steel they want, exactly when and exactly where they want it.
In 2006, Charter Steel started up a brand new melt shop in Cleveland, Ohio to complement the rolling mill by supplying high quality billets produced by modern equipment and processes to support our customers' most demanding applications.
Today, with a strong history of continuous improvement and investment, Charter Steel remains committed to growth and finding new ways to bring value and service to our customers.