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TRINITY INDUSTRIES

TRINITY INDUSTRIES. Trinity Industries, headquartered in Dallas, is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of heavy metal products with manufacturing and fabrication operations in six business segments, including railcars, marine products, construction products, containers, metal components, and leasing. In 1993 the company operated sixty-three production facilities in seventeen states. The company, first known as Trinity Steel, was founded by C. J. Bender in Dallas in 1933. W. Ray Wallace, an engineering graduate of Louisiana Tech, worked for Dallas's Austin Bridge Company in 1944 before joining the company in 1946 as its seventeenth employee. At the time Trinity Steel manufactured butane tanks in a Dallas County mule barn. In 1958 Trinity Steel merged with Dallas Tank Company, which was also founded in 1933, and Ray Wallace became the new firm's president and first chief executive officer. At the time Trinity had revenues reaching $2.5 million and employed 200 workers. While some employees of the firm in other states eventually unionized, Texas workers never formed a union. For a time the company profited by producing larger tanks that enabled it to enter the petroleum business and do steel fabrication for refineries. In addition, to free up capital, it established an investment company to buy trucks and lease them back to the firm. Nonetheless, by 1957 Trinity faced competition and declines in the petroleum industry. Dallas Tank, Trinity Steel, and Bender-Wallace Development Company merged in 1958 to form Trinity Industries, Incorporated, and went public.

In 1970 Trinity diversified with the acquisition of 153 acres of land adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airportqv and in 1971 established its first real estate subsidiary. Acquisition of Mosher Steel in 1973, after initially contracting work out to them, enhanced the company's structural business. Among projects completed by the firm's structural division were the Texas Stadium, New York's World Trade Center, the Balboa Bridge in Panama, the Pennzoil Building, and two buildings in Moscow. By the 1980s two subsidiaries, Gamble's Incorporated of Alabama and Mosher Steel of Texas, manufactured structural products including materials for drilling platforms, highway bridge components, commercial-high-rise buildings, and other girders and beams. The firm's marine subsidiary, Equitable Shipyards, produced LASH or Lighter Aboard Ship barges, riverboats for use by Hilton Hotelsqv, and other craft for industrial uses. Hackney, Incorporated, its metal components subsidiary, produced materials for piping systems. Trinity produced completed railcars, including tank cars, hoppers, and gondolas to transport chemicals, coal, and other substances, at locations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Longview, Texas, and held two railcar leasing subsidiaries. The company also produced containers for fertilizer, liquified petroleum gas, and nuclear fuel and waste. In 1981 the company acquired a metal fabrication firm at Channelview, Texas, and Babcock and Wilcox plants in Elkhart, Indiana, and Koppel, Pennsylvania, and in 1983 it acquired Halter Marine. In the 1990s expansion continued with the acquisition of the Transit Mix Concrete and Materials Company of Beaumont, Texas, Beiard Industries, Syro Steel, and Stearns of Fort Worth, Texas, a major producer of airport equipment. By 1993 revenues exceeded $1.5 billion, and the firm employed 13,000 people.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Who's Who in America, 1978–79.

Diana J. Kleiner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "TRINITY INDUSTRIES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dkt02), accessed September 17, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.