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Memphis Wire & Iron Works Inc is first listed in the Memphis City Directory in 1892.  The telephone number was “207”.  It appeared in earlier years as “Memphis Wire Works”.


The company’s main product in the late 1800’s was wire screens at large Memphis food warehouses.  The screens served dual purposes:  ventilation and security.


Later the company ads display more activity for ornamental wire fencing, desk and floor railings, gates for street cars, security window guards and other decorative wire items including hand woven wire stands for potted plants.


Owners listed since 1892 are:  C J Scherer, W A Haglin and A R Haglin (brother).


MWI was located in downtown Memphis on 2nd Street with the main office at 211 Main Street.


Hugh G. Smith purchased the company in 1947.  The “wire works” was moved to 283 East Street, just south of one of Memphis finest restaurants, “Justines”.  He designed and built a wire crimping machine and hand fed wire weaving loom.  This led to production of woven wire partitions for tool and parts storage rooms and window guards used in most factories and warehouses.  Mr. Smith also directed the company to more miscellaneous steel fabrication.  MWI was a sub vendor for the larger structural steel fabricators, Pidgeon Thomas Iron Company, Tri State Iron and Fischer Steel.


James (from Pidgeon Thomas) and wife, Weda Stafford purchased MWI from long time family friends, Mrs. Smith (and Hugh) in 1962 after Mr. Smith’s untimely passing.


The company continued to produce woven wire products, but as time passed, pursued more miscellaneous iron and structural steel as major products.  The company was moved to President’s Island in 1966.


Jim Stafford Sr.  was also president of the Memphis Ornamental Iron Association and was on the team with other local ornamental steel fabricators and suppliers that secured and developed the site of the “National Ornamental metal Museum” to its current site on the Mississippi River.


Jim Stafford Sr. continues to be active in the daily operations of MWI.  Company ownership is being transferred to son, Jim Jr., president, who started working in the shop, weaving wire, grinding and welding in the 60’s while in school.


He is a graduate of (then) Memphis State University; B.S. of Technology in College of Engineering.  He also has previous design and sales experience with ASME, API, and TEMA vessels and heat exchangers.  Jim Jr. returned to MWI in the mid 90’s in sales and estimating.


Memphis Wire & Iron Works Inc continues to supply steel products in the West Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi region, and also delivers to all parts of the United States.




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