Capital Industrial was originally founded as the Capital City Forging Works in 1921.
We’ve witnessed and endured through the boom and decline of the lumber industry, the Great Depression, World War II, the dramatic evolution of technology, the Great Recession and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The story begins in Minnesota in 1888
Alois Plantenberg was born in 1888 to a family of German farmers that had immigrated to Minnesota during the height of the lumber industry in the Midwest. Growing up with 5 other siblings, Alois developed a major interest in blacksmithing.
When the Minnesota lumber industry began to slow and Weyerhaeuser looked elsewhere for harvestable timber, both Plantenberg and the lumber company headed toward the Pacific Northwest.
The American Mill – Aberdeen, Washington
Plantenberg married and began his career as an apprentice blacksmith at several locations, most notably the American Mill in Aberdeen, Washington.
P.J. O’Brien’s Blacksmith Shop
The lumber industry in the Northwest slowed, and sawmills began cutting hours or closing altogether. Amidst this chaotic background, Alois found an opportunity to exercise his entrepreneurial spirit. A general long-standing blacksmith shop and farm implement store, P.J. O’Brien’s Blacksmith Shop, needed a proprietor and Alois was the man for the job.
All that needed to be done was find a new name.
From Olympia to West Olympia
Capital City Forging Works was born in what would be recognizable today as downtown Olympia. It remained at that downtown location until 1963, when companies along Capital Lake and Budd Inlet were moved by the city to make way for city development along the lake.
Capital City Forging Works was moved to a facility on Black Lake Road, making it the first business to open its doors in West Olympia.
The Modern Era
When Alois Plantenberg first turned over the open sign at Capital City Forging Works in 1921, that small forging company along the shores of Budd inlet in Olympia, Washington, he could never have imagined what would transpire.
Plantenberg always worked to provide a “one stop shop” for the hardworking professional. As he adapted with the times, and the needs of the Pacific Northwest, the company that would become well-known locally as Capital Industrial added services as they identified the needs of the community – providing expert welding, repair, and fabrication services. Later on, it would manufacture industrial equipment such as heavy-duty log loaders, cranes, and trailers. Capital Industrial has always believed in Plantenberg’s original motto: “Waste nothing, have it repaired”, which has become increasingly relevant and rare in the modern era of single use products and planned obsolescence.
With a century of operations in forging, welding, repair, and fabrication experience, a half century of work in engineering and constructing log loaders and cranes, and decades of trailer manufacturing experience, Capital Industrial has firmly established itself as a leader in the industry. Products built by Capital Industrial decades ago are still in regular use today. We have always taken pride in our ability to provide outstanding manufacturing and custom fabrication work, and to accomplish world class results with creativity, passion, and integrity.
Today, we continue to stay true to our small-town roots. We’re meeting new customers, bringing on new dealers, and developing new lines of business. We’re planning to further expand our facility and offer more employment opportunities. And as always, we will continue to provide the highest quality industrial products and services available anywhere.
People who need their jobs done right have chosen Capital Industrial for a hundred years.
Drop us a line today and find out why.
“Aberdeen Mills To Resume, Wages Cut”, Olympia Daily Recorder, 5 January 1921, XIX; 206; page 4; 1921
“Alois P. Plantenberg” obituary, The Olympian, 12 August 1974, page 6; Washington State Library. 1974
Capital City Forging. (n.d.). Retrieved June/July, 2018, from http://www.washingtonhistory.org/collections/item.aspx?irn=145175&record=1
History of Olympia, Washington. (n.d.). Retrieved June/July, 2018, from http://olympiawa.gov/community/about-olympia/history-of-olympia-washington.aspx
“John J. Garowski” obituary, The Olympian, 17 November 1993, page C2; Washington State Library. 1993
Les Schwab Building/site of P.J. O’Brien’s Blacksmith. (n.d.). Retrieved July/August, 2018, from https://olympiahistory.org/pjobrien/
Olympia Directory. The Olympian. Washington State Library. 1883-1993.
Plantenberg Family Tree. (n.d.). Retrieved June-August 2018, from https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/119426137/family
University of Washington. (n.d.). Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest. “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Placing Washington’s Forests in Historical Context”. Retrieved June/July, 2018, from http://www.washington.edu/uwired/outreach/cspn/Website/Classroom Materials/Curriculum Packets/Evergreen State/Section II.html