RCBI assists longtime Huntington-based manufacturer

Aug. 31, 2014

James H. Fletcher launched his company in Chicago in 1937, determined to develop mine technology for both improved productivity and increased safety. The following year the company’s first product — a rubber-tired, battery-powered tractor — debuted at a coal show in Cincinnati. At that time, roof control in coal mines wasn’t much different from what it had been decades earlier. Crews hauled, sawed and lifted massive timbers into place by hand. The advent of machines dramatically changed that.

Fletcher introduced its first rubber-tired timbering machine in the 1940s. In 1947, J.H. Fletcher moved its offices to Huntington and three years later opened its plant at 707 W. 7th Street. That same year saw the company introduce the industry’s first self-propelled roof bolter. Additional innovations followed over the years, and Fletcher’s name is now synonymous with mine safety. Even after additions were built, the 7th Street facility was no longer adequate, so in 1990 the company purchased a 10-acre site on High Street in Huntington’s Altizer neighborhood where it continues to operate today. In 2012, the proud company celebrated “75 Years of Innovation.”

Fletcher applied for and received assistance through InnovateWV. RCBI worked with the famly-owned company to produce 3D-printed scale models of its large industrial equipment for marketing efforts to diversify its customer base, saving jobs at the manufacturer’s plant.

Ingenuity, determination and hard work. Lots of hard work. These are some of the qualities that helped make J.H. Fletcher one of the best-known and respected business names in West Virginia.

And they’re the same qualities found in many of today’s new manufacturing entrepreneurs, some of whom surely will go on to be tomorrow’s legends.

For more information on J.H. Fletcher Co., call 304.525.7811 or log on at www.jhfletcher.com.