Ardelle Glaze was born in West Virginia in 1910. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, so I wondered how his name came to be one of the 42 names listed on the Charter Membership of the Waynedale Chamber of Commerce. The Waynedale Chamber of Commerce was started in the late forties and Fort Wayne Metals Company is #8 on the list with Ardelle’s signature as its proprietor.
I talked to Ardelle’s son Scott Glaze on Monday, December 20 at Fort Wayne Metals. Scott is now the CEO of the Fort Wayne based operation. He explained that during the war years, 1941-1945, there was an urgent demand for wire. His father, Ardelle was part of a team that researched ways to increase wire production. He was an engineer who worked for the Armour Research Foundation, a “think tank” supporting the war effort. While there he developed improvements to diamond dies, wire drawing techniques, and lubricants to increase production in the wire drawing industries.
After the war, but before there were tape recorders, there were wire audio recorders. In 1946 Ardelle started a company on McArthur Drive in Waynedale to fill a need for that type of recording wire. As recording wire was replaced by magnetic tape the focus of Fort Wayne Metals changed to other wire products. The company was acquired by Wilbur B. Driver Corporation and employed about 80 people by the mid 1960s. In 1968 the Fort Wayne facility was closed and its equipment was moved to a Pennsylvania plant.
In 1971 Ardelle was 61 years old and saw a need in the medical industry for special alloy wire. At an age when most people are contemplating retirement Ardelle Glaze formed a new Fort Wayne Metals. He started his new business in a part of the old building on McArthur Drive, next to the old Mason rail spur.
Scott Glaze has worked for Fort Wayne Metals since its new beginning in 1971. After his father Ardelle passed away in 1985, he took over as CEO. Scott, along with 30 employees, grew the fledgling Waynedale business into facilities totaling 250,000 square feet and employing 285 workers in 4 Fort Wayne plants. In 2002 the company also opened a production facility in Ireland to help to service the European markets.
Fort Wayne Metals Research Products, now located at 9609 Indianapolis Road, is expanding to add another 100 jobs to its workforce. The company’s expanded product line now includes wire for the manufacture of catheters, guide wires, pacing and ICD leads, orthopedic devices, orthodontic appliances, flat wire, round wire, and drawn filled tubing utilizing Nitinol, Titanium and other special metal alloys. They are now a leader in the medical device industry.
As we walked through the plant, employees greeted Scott on a first name basis. It was obvious that even with his continued success he is still a hands-on person. He generously gives credit to the many employees that are bringing new and better products to an ever more technological society.
From humble Waynedale beginnings, Ardelle Glaze, his son Scott, and their team have provided a bright and ever growing future for Fort Wayne Metals.