FJW Industries


Employees at FJW Industries in Huntington work on periscopes for Army tanks.
Standing at right is general manager B.T. Cheuvront.


HUNTINGTON — During World War II, Huntington’s Polan Industries was a busy place,
producing gunsights, periscopes and other optical devices for the nation’s military.
 After the war, the company struggled and changed hands a couple of times.
When its latest parent firm went bankrupt, 200
Huntington workers were left jobless.

But some of the workers refused to give up, banding together to
 salvage what they could from the wreckage of the company.

B.T. Cheuvront, who had been chief engineer at Polan Industries,
and Larry Kress, who had been his assistant, worked hard to
 get the business started again, tracking down machinery
and bidding on contracts. When contracts began to
 trickle in, the new company was able to hire back
 some of the former Polan employees.

In 1976, the new company was the low bidder on a $1 million contract
to build infrared periscopes that would enable tank crews to see
in the dark, but it couldn’t secure the financing necessary to
do the job. So the contract went to FJW Industries of
Mount Prospect, Illinois, named for its president
 and part-owner, Frank J. Warzak.

“Warzak called me on the phone and asked me if I’d like to throw
 in with them,” Cheuvront told The Herald-Dispatch. He and
the Huntington firm’s other stockholders agreed to do
 so, selling to the Illinois company. Doing so enabled
the Huntington firm to expand its workforce and
move from their cramped quarters at 121 3rd
Ave. to a larger building at 611 7th Ave.

Not long after that, when members of Local 260 of
the Glass Bottle Blowers Association struck the
Huntington plant, FJW Industries closed it.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Dec. 15, 2020.


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