Florissant Iron Works was founded in the historic downtown business district of Old Town Florissant, a northern suburb community just north of St. Louis, Missouri. The business has always been family owned and operated and located on the city’s main street known as rue St. Francois. In the old town area, half the streets still bear the French term rue; City Hall is also on Rue St. Francois, for example. Our company’s office building has been traced back by local historians as the oldest commercial building in Florissant. In the early day blacksmiths made horse shoes and other utilitarian items used in the settlement. Ornamental ironwork or artist blacksmithing was already prominent in Europe by the 14th Century. In the New World, harsh conditions delayed the practice of blacksmithing, for artistic means though some areas, like the city of Charleston, SC, founded under a grant from King Charles II in 1670 or Savannah, GA, founded by General Oglethorpe in 1733, have fine examples of the early craft of American artist blacksmiths. Despite the move towards mechanization during the Industrial Revolution, rapid economic expansion in the 19th century assured that there was much work for the traditional smith. But with each passing decade, the role of the traditional utilitarian blacksmith was becoming less central.
Waves of subdivisions were built around Florissant’s historic core in the post-World War II development rush. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, who profiled the city in 1994, found that 125 structures have been designated Florissant landmarks, 90 of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In French, Florissant means flourishing. An earlier spelling – Fleurissant – means flowering. During this time, modern metal working processes and techniques were making the production of ornamental iron work more affordable than the otherwise labor intensive methods of the blacksmith. Florissant Iron Works was originally founded to take advantage of the new production methods and to satisfy the growing demand for ornamental iron used in construction during the post war boom.
We are proud of our historical roots and the heritage over many decades of combining old world methods with new world technologies. Since 1951, we have completed thousands of projects all over St. Louis, throughout the Midwest, and as far away as the Carolinas and California.