FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
AHRENS, George W.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
AHRENS, GEORGE W. AHRENS and Son, sheet metal works, is one of the most substantial industrial
plants of West Palm Beach. It deserves classification as a manufacturing plant, since its
equipment and facilities and personnel are arranged for the manufacture of standard and custom
designed products of practically every type made from sheet metal.
GEORGE W. AHERNS, head of the business, was born at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1854. Both his
father and grandfather were tinsmiths and workers in iron and sheet metal. This is one of
the unusual examples found in American families of an occupation descending from father to
son. GEORGE W. AHERNS grew up in the atmosphere of the business, and has had practically a
lifelong experience therein. He served his apprenticeship in the shop that was established
by his father at St. Louis in 1844.
On leaving St. Louis in 1875 Mr. AHERNS removed to Philadelphia, and his home was in that
city for about thirty-five years. Throughout this time he was connected with the work of
his trade, and for about sixteen years before coming to Florida he was a superintendent in
the works of the Robert Scott Engineering Construction Company, one of the large industrial
concerns of Philadelphia.
Soon after coming to West Palm Beach in 1910 Mr. AHERNS established a modest shop for sheet
metal working. He is the type of business man satisfied to build up a business gradually
and on the merits and efficiency of his service and production. It has increased from year
to year in gratifying prosperity. A culminating point was reached in the spring of 1922,
when to take care of the increasing trade a new and enlarged plant was erected on the side
of the old industry on Banyan Street. This building is two stories high with basement,
having a frontage of fifty feet on Banyan Street and running back 150 feet. It is a thoroughly
modern industrial establishment, equipped with all the machinery required in such a plant,
and arranged for the highest efficiency of operation. The ventilating arrangement has been
highly commended as making it an unusually comfortable place for the working forces.
The regular output comprises roofing and all kinds of sheet metal products made from galvanized
steel, black iron and copper, also various articles for interior home decoration, many of
them made up in hammered copper and brass, including lamps, vases and grilled work. In this
department much of the work is handled from special designs and in many cases reproduces
ancient patterns submitted by patrons of exclusive tastes. In addition to the sheet metal
roofing manufactured, Mr. AHERNS is sales representative for many of the standard grades of
roofing material, specializing in tile and terra cotta. His active business associate and
partner is his son, F. F. AHERNS.
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