#34 Joshua Hendy Iron Works


Early 20th-century ironworks demonstrating the adaptability required for industrial survival

This ironworks exemplified the adaptability required for industrial survival in a dynamic technical environment. It was a major western producer of mechanical equipment used in mining (especially large hydraulic machines), ship propulsion, irrigation, power generation, optical telescope mounts, and nuclear research.

Joshua Hendy started California's first redwood lumber mill shortly after sailing around Cape Horn to San Francisco Bay in 1849. In 1856 he founded the Iron Works to supply Gold Rush miners with equipment and soon became a leader in the industry. The original works was destroyed by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. After rebuilding in Sunnyvale, the plant produced mine cars, buckets, stamp mills, ore crushers, and the hydraulic "giants" used to dig the Panama Canal. During World War I, marine steam engines were produced for cargo ships. During the Depression, it survived by producing gates and valves for major dams such as Boulder, Hoover, and Grand Coulee as well as crawler tractors and freight-car wheel pullers. In 1940 the works expanded to build defense products, including a third of all engines built in the United States for Liberty Ships.

Hendy was acquired in 1946 by Westinghouse to make equipment for electrical utilities and was soon producing steam turbines, transformers, switchgear, and motors, as well as continuing production of large hydraulic equipment.

Aerial view of the Joshua Hendy Iron Works in Sunnyvale

Comments from Visitors/Members: 2002 June update: Museum is located within the Northrop Grumman Marine Systems Plant on Hendy Ave near Fair Oaks Ave in Sunnyvale, California. The museum curator's e-mail address is: ET_Thomas@mail.northgrum.com

2000 April update: valid phone number for the Iron Man Museum is 408-735-2020.

1992 Survey by William J. Adams, Jr.: Arrangements for group tours are handled through the community relations manager at 408-735-2643 or the chair/curator of the museum at 408-735-5249. The Iron Man Museum is located on the grounds of the Westinghouse Electric's Marine Division on Hendy Avenue in Sunnyvale, Calif. The museum does not have a paid staff. Tour guides are volunteers donating their time. As a major US defense contractor, the division requests visitors to the museum follow certain procedures: no cameras and no tape recorders are allowed in plant; visitors must be US citizens older than 10 years of age; a list of visitors must be submitted to the community relations manager at least a week prior to the tour; and visitors must stay with the tour guide. Access to manufacturing areas requires conformance to other rules and are not a part of the tours.

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Landmark Location

Iron Man Museum
401 East Hendy Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Owner, if different than above

Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Northrop Grumman

Visiting Info

Regular hours and by appointment, Mondays 11:30am-12:30 pm

Plaque location, if specific

Outside entrance to office building.

Ceremony Notes

December 1978


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