This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing miscellaneous metal products usually termed hardware, not elsewhere classified. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing nuts and bolts are classified in SIC 3452: Bolts, Nuts, Screws, Rivets, and Washers; those manufacturing nails and spikes are classified in the major group for primary metal industries; those manufacturing cutlery are classified in SIC 3421: Cutlery; those manufacturing hand tools are classified in SIC 3423: Hand and Edge Tools, Except Machine Tools and Handsaws; and those manufacturing pole line and transmission hardware are classified in industry group SIC 3640: Electric Lighting and Wiring Equipment.
332439 (Other Metal Container Manufacturing)
332919 (Other Metal Valve and Pipe Fitting Manufacturing)
332510 (Hardware Manufacturing)
This industry manufactures a diverse range of products, including brackets, clamps, couplings, door locks, fireplace equipment, handcuffs, nut crackers, and piano hardware.
Industry leader Ingersoll-Rand Co., (2003 sales of almost $9.9 billion) bought the door hardware assets of Master Lock in 1998 from Fortune Brands Inc. of Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Ingersoll-Rand reincorporated in 2002, moving its official headquarters from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, to Bermuda, in an effort to reduce its taxes. Sandwiched between Ingersoll-Rand and third place Fortune Brands (which generated 2003 sales of over $6.2 billion) was Delphi Interior and Lighting Systems, a subsidiary of Delphi Corp. of Warren, Michigan, which posted 2003 sales of $28 billion for 2003.
In 2001, industry shipments reached $10.1 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This figure represented the first decline in shipments values since the mid-1990s. Between 1997 and 2000, the value of shipments had climbed from $10.7 billion to $11.2 billion. Employment between 1997 and 2000 declined from 75,437 to 71,107, despite increased shipments; this increase was due mainly to increased automation. Payroll costs, however, hovered around $2.3 billion during this time period.
Traditionally, production in this industry was centered in the New England area. Many small blacksmith shops produced simple but useful household items made of low grade iron and steel, known as "Yankee notions". The availability of rail and ship transport allowed for rapid distribution along the eastern seaboard and the central United States. The shift toward mass production techniques and away from a reliance on skilled craftsman, however, resulted in the migration of the industry to the Midwest. The industry tended to follow the source of cheap materials and markets, differentiating it from cutlery by its marked westward migration. The industry adapted its production methods to the use of numerical control production (NC) with great success in both productivity and precision.
Both employment and sales in the industry increased steadily throughout the 1980s, but declined substantially in accordance with the general economic downturn near the end of the decade. The industry was particularly hurt by the soft housing market, since businesses in that sector use a substantial amount of hardware. By the early 1990s, the hardware industry showed signs of recovery, and once dismal unemployment figures showed signs of improvement. The strength of the economy boosted industry performance in the late 1990s, but hardware manufacturers had begun to feel the effects of a weakening U.S. economy by the early 2000s, despite strength in the U.S. housing market. Shipments of builders' hardware, which accounted for 46 percent of total industry shipments, declined from $5 billion dollars in 2000 to $4.69 billion in 2001.
Infotrac Company Profiles. 29 January 2000. Available at http://web4.infotrac.galegroup.com .
U.S. Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries: 2000." February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/m00as-1.pdf .
—— "Value of Shipments for Product Classes: 2001 and Earlier Years." December 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/m01as-2.pdf .