The company history is a tribute to the hard work and determination of its founder Robert Thornton Sr. He began his career in this business in the early 1940’s as a welder at the Todd Bath Iron Shipbuilding Corp. near his hometown of Portland, Maine. Enlisting right after Pearl Harbor, the Navy assigned him to Underwater Welding and Cutting School because of his welding experience. He went on to serve in Australia and the Philippines repairing submarines during WWII, where he achieved the rank of Chief Metalsmith.
Following the war, he accepted a sales job with Metal & Thermit Corporation selling welding electrodes. (Metal & Thermit became Murex, and eventually part of Lincoln Electric) In 1953 he began working for one of his customers, Jersey Welding Supply in Plainfield, NJ. He became their sales manager and a minority owner in Charter Welding Supply in New Brunswick, NJ. In 1962, he followed his dream of owning his own business, and purchased Pennsylvania Welding Supply. His hard work and determination, along with numerous acquisitions, made the companies prominent in the Philadelphia and South Jersey markets. He was also joined by his sons, Bob Jr. in 1970, and Dave in 1974. In 1975 he began the following series of acquisitions in the area to form what is today, South Jersey Welding Supply and Pennsylvania Welding Supply.
1975 – Acquired Vineland Welding & Equipment in Vineland, NJ
1978 – Acquired R & M Welding Supply in Philadelphia, PA
1983 – Acquired South Jersey Welding Supply with locations in Vineland, NJ and Pleasantville, NJ
1983 – Acquired E.R. Joseph Location in Pleasantville, NJ
1986 – Acquired Harris Welding & Equipment Co. in Maple Shade, NJ
2011 – Acquired Superior Welding Supply in Pennsauken, NJ
South Jersey Welding Supply currently has 3 locations to serve our customers in Vineland, Pleasantville, and Maple Shade. Pennsylvania Welding Supply operates out of our location in Philadelphia, PA. Our success is the result of the dedication and the outstanding customer service provided by our employees, that was passed down by our founder, Robert Thornton Sr., and continues today. The company has moved into its third generation with the additions of Matt Thornton and Dave Thornton Jr. in the late 90's.
our 2003 company profile from the magazine: “Welding and Gases Today”
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Revitalization in the Gases and Welding Industry