Ferno history

Circleville, 1956


The name Ferno-Washington comes from combining two companies: Ferno Manufacturing and the Washington Mortuary Supply Company. The Washington Mortuary Supply Company was started in 1924 by William E. Klever in Washington Court House, Ohio. Bill Klever and Dick Ferneau worked together, building up the business, until Bill's death in 1947. Dick stayed on with the company, designing products, purchasing materials and running the plant until 21 June 1955. In July 1955, Dick started his own company, naming it Ferno. He rented a building in Staunton, Ohio, seven miles from Washington Court House, and hired personnel experienced in pattern making and the machining of engineering components. Ferno Manufacturing was up and running.



Memorial Day, 1957


Burt Weil made a fundamental contribution to Ferno Manufacturing by designing and making a one-man mortuary cot. This was a big hit, causing Ferno Manufacturing to seek new and larger operating facilities. The plant was moved to Circleville, Ohio, in April 1956. At that time, Burt Weil introduced Dick Ferneau to Elroy Bourgraf. Young Bourgraf, recently released from military service and with a college degree, had a good business head and some experience in the US mortuary equipment market. At their first meeting, Dick Ferneau and Elroy Bourgraf agreed that they made a good team and that Ferno Manufacturing had a promising future. That same year, Elroy Bourgraf became a full partner. In June 1957, the two of them purchased a building and moved production to Greenfield, Ohio. The business grew rapidly, outselling its competitors: Boomgardner Manufacturing Company of Cleveland and Washington Mortuary Supply Company, owned by Mrs Klever. In 1961, Mrs Klever decided to sell Washington Mortuary Supply Company to Dick Ferneau and Elroy Bourgraf.



Greenfield, 1957 - 1971


Washington Mortuary had been in business since 1924, so it was decided to combine their names to create Ferno-Washington, Inc. In 1972, Elroy found an excellent location with ample room to expand. So the Clinton County Air Force Base in Wilmington, Ohio, became the home of Ferno-Washington, Inc. and its 180 employees. Always looking for other markets to invest in, Ferno-Washington purchased the Health Care Division of Market Forge in 1983. The Ferno Forge division was established in Boston, Massachusetts, while the Ferno Ille division was located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. After adding 6,500 square metres to the Williamsport facility, the Ferno Forge division was moved there in 1985. In 1987, a three-phase plan was implemented to expand the Wilmington facility. Phase One was to enlarge the shipping area, while Phase Two was to connect the existing three buildings under one roof.





Phase Three was to move Ille from Williamsport to Wilmington and to sell Ferno Forge to Castle. Subsequently, it was decided to build a three-story administrative complex. In 1988, the Ille division was made at home in its new surroundings. The vacated offices became the spacious new homes for support groups, such as engineering and R&D. Temperature-controlled environments were also built to house Ferno-Washington's sophisticated computer systems.

Over the years, Ferno-Washington, Inc. has built and retained its reputation for excellent quality and commitment in the design and manufacture of its vast product range.




Ferno-Washington, Inc. Today...

Since 1955 Ferno-Washington has dedicated commitment and attention to our products, to our customers and to the involvement of our employees. These are the foundations underpinning the high quality and professionalism for which Ferno-Washington is rightly famous.
Professionalism is the cornerstone of our work, guaranteeing maximum effort throughout the organisation so that the best results are achieved, whatever the commitment.
Ferno-Washington will continue to offer and deliver reliable products on a timely basis, representing the fruit of our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
Our company is based on the quality of our employees, people motivated by the recognition of their professionalism, whose teamwork and spirit represent the underlying strength of Ferno-Washington, Inc. Our organisation extends throughout the entire United States and abroad, but our commitment is the same in every location: professionalism and credibility.

Ferno International is the division dedicated to our international markets.
Our success lies in the decision to supply products suitable for the international market, responding to the specific needs of each country or region, without limiting our offer solely to those products ready and available in the United States.
Ferno International currently distributes in more than 70 countries. The distributors in France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom are wholly-owned branches of Ferno-Washington.
Production and distribution principally focuses on emergency and rescue equipment. Thanks to the quality of our products, the professionalism of our customer service, the efforts of our special R&D department and the capillary flow of information throughout our outstanding distribution network, Ferno-Washington is now a world leader in the production of rescue equipment.