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In 1954, John Maltese--a member of a well-known area iron-working family--started his own steel fabrication business. In less than three years he found it necessary to move from the original plant site in New Brunswick to the current location where a 5,000 square-foot steel framed structure (pictured above) housed the firm’s operations. In 1960 John Maltese incorporated the business to increase the company’s exposure to public-funded projects.

The first expansion of the Maltese plant came in 1962 when the purchase of a 35-ton power shear made it necessary to build a 2,800 square-foot addition to house the new equipment.  To handle heavy structural steel, two craneways were built.  One, adjacent to the original building, had a five-ton overhead crane to handle work in process.  This was enclosed in 1963 to handle ever-increasing workload, including fabrication of steel for two outdoor-indoor movie theaters.

As the 1960s progressed, truss and plate girder fabrication became a specialty of JMIW allowing the company to compete successfully for large school projects including gymnasiums, theaters, and cafeteria structures. John Maltese Iron Works’ portfolio of successfully completed projects grew at that time to included steelwork for Douglas College dormitories, and Dining Hall, several buildings around the Rutgers campus, and a number of schools throughout New Jersey.  A noteworthy project from this period was the Somerset County Vocational School (pictured below) which featured the largest weathering steel trusses constructed in New Jersey.