Troy Belting & Supply once produced those leather belts that ran 19th century factories from a central power source. They were a way to transfer power from such devices as South Troy’ Burden water wheel to the machinery that produced everything from railway spikes to horseshoes.
The company, now celebrating its 150th year (it began life on Grand Street in Troy in 1862 as the J. Leroy Pine Co.), on Thursday said it would now be known as Troy Industrial Solutions, better reflecting what it does (solving manufacturing customers’ needs, selling them those solutions, and maintaining their equipment, from hydraulics to motors).
Its previous name change, to Troy Belting & Supply, took place 126 years ago, in 1886.
The third generation of the Smith family is now in charge — the Smiths acquired the company back in the 1940s, and relocated to its current home in Maplewood in 1965 — and would like to expand its service area to the south and to New England.
That, said Jason W. Smith, the CEO, would support more jobs — the company now employs 67 — and boost revenues, which are now at $18 million a year.
“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Smith said during Thursday’s event. “This is a milestone in the history of our company.”
Troy Industrial Solutions still installs services and belts, but these days they’re more likely to be the conveyor kind that keeps a production line moving. Centralized power sources such as the Burden water wheel and steam engines that one can still see on display at county fairs have been replaced by electric motors that power individual devices.
It also has a hydraulics division that sells and services compactors, lifting devices and other machinery that depends on hydraulic force.
Later Thursday, the company was planning a reception for its customers and employees to celebrate the anniversary and the name change. P. Thomas Carroll, executive director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, a nonprofit educational organization that seeks to acquaint people with the Capital Region’s industrial past, was to deliver the keynote speech.
A museum the Gateway operates is housed in the former Burden headquarters building. Burden, the company that owned the water wheel, was once a major customer of Troy Industrial Solutions.
By Eric Anderson
Oct. 4, 2012