Robberson Steel

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City/Town: Oklahoma City
Location Class: Industrial
Year Built:
Year Abandoned:
Status:
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler Moore

In 1909 John Bernard Klein founded the J. B. Klein Iron and Foundry Company in Oklahoma City. The company advertised foundry work of all types, including ornamental iron, brass work, wire, stairs, railings, fire escapes, and construction products. By the time Klein died in 1925, the company had begun to specialize in steel works for bridges, buildings, and roads. A significant number of Oklahoma’s early bridges were constructed by Klein’s company. After 1925 this work was continued by the firm’s general manager, Richard W. Robberson, who eventually bought the company. During World War II, J. B. Klein Iron and Foundry Company received a $1.2 million federal contract to furnish steel for the industrial buildings to be constructed at the Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company plant. In 1942 the firm’s name was changed to Robberson Steel and Bridge Company. Originally located at 1535 Northwest Fifth Street, the establishment was later moved to 1401 Northwest Third Street and eventually to 1000 1024 Northwest Second Street. The company continued to operate as a steel fabrication firm until it was dissolved on December 15, 1988, after a lengthy bankruptcy process. In 1988 Robberson Steel employed approximately one hundred fifty individuals.

Updated May 2009

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Bill Webster
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Bill Webster

The original location was 1000 1024 Northwest Second Street the establishment was later moved to 1401 Northwest Third Street. The original location 1000 1024 Northwest Second Street in now the home of Rent -It Company. The name JB Klein Iron is still visible on the West side of the building.

Jeremiah
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Jeremiah

There are many reasons that can be said for the closing of this plant but my understanding is that most of it had to do with Mr. Robberson's passing. I understand that his family was not interested in running the business and thus allowed it to be sold. It appeared to all who worked there that the subsequent buyers seemed to liquidate any assets and suck money out of the plant before claiming bankruptcy. This of course included retirement funds and other "assets". It is true, Mr. Robberson never allowed a union to take place in this plant. Those that… Read more »

Ron H
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Ron H

I worked there in the mid to late 70's and learned a lot about welding in the ornamental shop made a lot of friends plant wide there too that will last a life time!!

fran
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Man looks a pretty scary place, give me a haunted house any day.

Peter Doyle
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Peter Doyle

For what the reason was, its sad that a company with that much history is gone! W&W Steel is prime example of a good family with good values that take of their people as well as their future.

Forged Fittings
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Nice collection of pics. A good way to compile it.

SS Pipe Fitings
Guest

Notably correct perspective there.

Virginia
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Virginia

A correction and addition to the historical narrative: Jacob Bernard Klein founded the J. B. Klein Iron & Foundry Co. (his son, my late father, was named John Bernard Klein). The company did the work on most of the local buildings erected from 1910 on, and as mentioned above also designed ornamental iron work (the iron gates and sconces at what was then in 1910 Oklahoma High School, now the OCU School of Law in the 800 block of North Robinson Street in Oklahoma City, are still in place). Jacob Klein's sudden death at the age of 45 (injuries sustained… Read more »

Draftsman
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Draftsman

I had the privilege of working at Robberson Steel and Bridge Company 1983 to 1985 as a draftsman. From that experience, I chose to pursue Civil Engineering. Those were great days of hand drafting and blue print machines. While working there I drew some structural members for the Fountain Plaza building in Dallas.

Deanna
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Deanna

My Dad (Charles Teel) worked for Robberson Steel for many , many years. I have fond memories of a tiny store there at the plant where Daddy would take we kids to purchase candy/gum (juicy fruit specifically) and how we girls would be so excited if Dad accidentally ended up bringing home a “chalk stick” in his pocket. We’d write on the sidewalk with it! Thanks for the pictures . 🙂

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