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                          Marathon’s fledgling business a true work of heart                                                

Courtesy of Deb Lum, Editor, Scotsman Press, Syracuse, NY
Photo and Article by Connie White (Printed Sunday December 24th 2006)

The Hartman family displays a Tiffany-style wrought iron lamp direct from their forge, located in the “Gallery of Machines” on Marathon’s Front Street. Sure to be a collectible, it is number 1 in a line of 2,000 lamps designed and forged at the family owned “Firedrake Wrought Iron” plant. “This is a dream come true for me,” said Harry Hartman (second from left), who, along with his late wife Glendalee, began “Gallery of Machines” over 27 years ago. “I designed these wrought iron pieces 30 years ago, but never pursued the manufacturing of them. Now with three young sons interested in the family business, we are moving forward with this project.” Pictured with Hartman are, from left, sons Alex, Bret and Derek.

                  In upstate New York, manufacturing plants are a rare commodity and more often than not we read about them closing, not opening. But in Marathon, a new manufacturing business is doing just that. Firedrake Wrought Iron is manufacturing furniture and lighting fixtures at their forge, located on Front Street in the “Gallery of Machines” plant. The business is owned and operated by Harry Hartman and his three sons – Bret, Derek and Alex.

Hartman is a former Industrial Arts teacher who has always been fascinated with wrought iron work from the early 1900s. Over 30 years ago, he perfected the design he is now offering for sale.

“I have noticed over the years that none of the wrought iron pieces for sale match one another and it has bothered me,” he said. “All of our pieces, from the chandelier to the floor and table lamps, complement each other.”

With his sons at his side – Bret, a Binghamton University graduate with a biology major; Derek, also a Binghamton grad, with a degree in manufacturing engineering; and Alex, a Penn State manufacturing major with advanced coursework in nanotechnology – Hartman has confidence the new company will succeed. Each of his sons has grown up in the business and has had plenty of opportunities to learn at his father’s elbow.

The Firedrake Wrought Iron collection is unique. Its elegant, yet functional design is made from hot rolled steel that is heated and hand-hammered on an anvil. Powder coating gives the pieces vibrant colors and textures and protects them from the elements, making it extremely durable. Each piece carries a certificate of authenticity and is individually numbered. This not only instills historical value, but also allows the piece to be tracked for warranty purposes.

Hartman expects the items manufactured by Firedrake will be mostly marketed in the southwestern United States.



ABOVE: Jared Layton tig welds an entertainment center at FireDrake Wrought Iron in Marathon.



thrive in



Staff Reporter

Article Courtesy of The Cortland Standard printed February 22nd 2007 Cortland NY


          Over in Marathon, Harry Hartman, 66, his son, Alex, and two other employees started a new company in the same space where Harry Hartman has a successful machine repair business — Gallery of Machines — that employs 16, including his other sons Bret, 28, and Derek 26. The new business —FireDrake Wrought Iron — makes wrought iron furniture based on Hartman's designs. The employees make the furniture from start to finish, designing it in a way that mirrors traditional craftsmanship. "I'm trying to make it look liked it looked 150 years ago,” Hartman said. Hartman said expects his main clients will be people in Florida, where a lot of wrought iron decoration already exists and out West, where people appreciate handmade products. He said the Internet should help his business thrive, as it does for his machine repair business.

LEFT: This wrought Iron Bar Stool is one of the items produced at FireDrake Wrought Iron

ABOVE: Jared Layton confirms measurements on a wrought Iron entertainment stand.

RIGHT: Alex Hartman working on a milling machine.