Troy Belting & Supply once produced the leather belts that ran 19th-century factories from a central power source. They were a way to transfer power from devices such as South Troy’s Burden water wheel to the machinery that made a range of products 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 will 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 in the 1940s, and the company relocated to its current home at the corner of Route 32 and Elm Street in Maplewood in 1965 — and they 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 at Thursday’s event. “This is a milestone in the history of our company.”
Troy Industrial Solutions still installs and services 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Centralized power sources such as the Burden water wheel and steam engines that can still be seen at county fairs have been replaced by electric motors that power individual devices.
The company has added a hydraulics division that sells and services compactors, lifting devices and other machinery that depends on hydraulic force.
“Dollar for dollar, hydraulics are the best source of force,” said Dave Barcomb, Troy Industrial Solutions’ general manager, as he led media on a plant tour.
The company has changed with the times. F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Albany-based Center for Economic Growth, said customers such as General Electric Co. and semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries depend on it for support services.
But its clients also include Mohawk Paper, a customer for 146 years, Finch Pruyn, now known as Finch Paper, a 147-year customer, and both Lydall and International Paper, which have been customers from the start.
The company was planning a Thursday evening reception for its customers and employees to celebrate the anniversary and the name change. P. Thomas Carroll, executive director of Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, a nonprofit educational organization that seeks to acquaint the public with the Capital Region’s industrial past, was to deliver the keynote speech.
By Eric Anderson
Published 8:55 pm, Thursday, October 4, 2012