You’ve heard of G.O. Carlson Boulevard and seen the G.O. Carlson Inc. office complex and historic home on Marshallton-Thorndale Road, but you may not be familiar with the story of this local company, which began over 80 years ago. In 1936, an engineer - Gunard O. Carlson, purchased the “Mineral Springs Farm” in Thorndale at a sheriff sale for $7,400 and, along with his family, took up residence there. Gunard (with the help of his wife, Margaret) soon kicked off a successful stainless steel business which provided custom stainless products for the chemical industry. Business started booming and G.O. Carlson expanded to a new building on the farm which included a machine shop, small office and three room apartment. By 1939, G.O. Carlson had 25 employees. The company was a pioneer in developing new methods for forming, cutting, and processing stainless steel plates. Their primary customers during this time, were the Du Pont Company and later the U.S. Government. After the war, G.O. Carlson products were used to build many of the modern industries that power the world economy today. In 1946, G.O. Carlson, Inc. expanded to the Lukens plant in Coatesville where they operated until that too grew too small. Today, G.O. Carlson Inc. has facilities throughout Pennsylvania and has diversified to include production of other metal alloys. The company is still run by Gunard and Margaret’s descendants.
G.O. Carlson steel plates have been used in:
The first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus
The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Enterprise
The first nuclear power plant built by Westinghouse at Shippingport, PA
Bobsled runners for the U.S. Olympic team
Telescopes built in the desert of Saudi Arabia
The space shuttle program, a fusion reactor, the B-1 bomber, and the Fast Flux Test Facility.
In addition to their many business and scientific achievements, the Carlson family was very philanthropic and involved in the community, serving on multiple Boards of Trustees and making many contributions to local charities.
G.O. Carlson was a major supporter of the Caln Township Centennial Celebration in 1968, and is a presenting sponsor of our 150th Anniversary activities.