Make Anything Out of Metal: Mass Live Feature

SPRINGFIELD — Carl Fisher Co. and the skilled metalworkers there built much of the kitchen equipment and range hoods for MGM Springfield just half a block away from the shop.


The company also built metal parts of the ventilation system of the International Space Station, orbiting today 250 miles above the earth.

“Anything that can be made out of metal, we do it,” said Eric J. Thor Sr., director of operations at the third-generation family owned company still at its original location on Wilcox Street in Springfield’s South End.

Even Thor’s business card is made of metal.

Steve Morneau, a master mechanic and machinist at Fisher who used to be an instructor at William J. Dean Tech High School in Holyoke before it closed the sheet metal program put it more colorfully.

“We can make anything but the morning dawn,” Morneau said. “And we are working on that.”

Founded in 1933, Carl Fisher Co. can weld, cut, punch , shape, roll, shear, bend and deburr all types of metal for industry and construction.

It’s tools range from a 40-kilowatt laser cutter capable of cutting three-quarter-inch steel at 80 inches a minute or a 200-ton press.

A gun lathe in the Carl Fisher Co. machine shop came from the old Springfield Armory before it closed in 1968. Dating back at least to the 1930s when the sprawling government plant began making M1 Garand Rifles, the lathe still requires workers to spray the drive belt with a dressing so it’ll stick.



“It’s pretty old-school,” general manager Jim Talbot said. “But we still use it. Not to make gun barrels, but we still use it if we are working on a part that big.”

Some of the parts Carl Fisher Co. is called on to make are tiny. Talbot held a tiny lever -shaped spring in his hand. It goes into the crash-bar style doors at Baystate Medical Center.

But the company that made the doors no longer made the springs. It would have cost Baystate more than $230 each to replace the doors. Carl Fisher Co. was able to get a machine part made that forms the spring, saving Baystate from having to replace the doors.

“They are good for the next 20 years, “Thor said. “No one else makes the part.”

Other customers include Westfield State University — Carl Fisher is modifying stainless -steel kitchen equipment — and H.P Hood when it expanded its dairy plant in Agawam.

It hosted a tour Wednesday for FORGE, a nonprofit that works as a matchmaker linking startups and innovations in Massachusetts with manufacturers who can build prototypes and then take products to market. State Rep. Orlando Ramos, D-Springfield, was there.

Adam Rodrigues, director of regional initiatives for FORGE, said the group’s matchmaking efforts have resulted in at least $11 million in orders to Western Massachusetts companies over the last five years which is part of an estimated $30 million in orders to factories across the state over the last five years.

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